Top tips for planning the perfect dinner party menu

Top tips for planning the perfect dinner party menu

Most of us thoroughly enjoy a good dinner party. Delicious food, good wine, great conversation – what’s not to love? But evening get-togethers can also be incredibly stressful, especially if you’re a busy professional and don’t have a lot of spare time to dedicate to preparing an elaborate meal.

Frozen food options that you should always keep in your freezer.

Frozen food options that you should always keep in your freezer.

If we were all capable supernatural beings capable of whipping up dinners in a matter of seconds, there’d be no need for freezers or frozen meals. But sadly, we’re all just ordinary individuals: we’re busy; we’re often stressed and tired; we have a million things going on; and we need pre-made dishes to fall back on when we just don’t have the time or energy to put together a meal from scratch.

Three big no-nos when it comes to frozen foods

Three big no-nos when it comes to frozen foods

Thank goodness for frozen meals! They’re a real life-saver when you just don’t have the time to cook up a feast for the family or for an upcoming dinner party. But there are also certain risks involved in freezing and thawing food, and if not done correctly, you could wind up contaminating dishes and making yourself and others very ill.

Three golden rules for meal planning.

Want to get the most out of your meal times with your family? Decrease your stress around preparing and cooking food? And save yourself time and money? Meal planning is the answer! Whether for a week or a month ahead, planning your meals will change the way you approach preparing your family’s food for the better.

Planning your meals ahead of time means you can provide yourself and your family with a balanced spread with enough variety to keep everyone happy and interested, without wasting precious time or ingredients. You can read more about the reasons why meal planning is so useful and important in our previous blog post here. Ready to start? Let us share our top three guidelines for successful meal planning.

Three golden rules for meal planning:

1. Keep it straight and simple. Plan out four or five meals for the week, leaving a night for leftovers or frozen meals or even take-out (you can serve it up to look its best). Make sure that you choose to make meals that the whole family can enjoy and that you make enough so that you can use for your leftovers night. Simple doesn’t have to be boring and, with a little creativity, you can switch up leftovers with different ingredients to make a different meal.

2. Double up, triple up. Take a favourite recipe and make more of it. Eat a portion for dinner this week and then freeze the rest for use at a later date. Meatballs, lasagne (with a few twists come serving time), and soups are good options and they’re easy to store and thaw well.

3. Be fine with being flexible. While you might have your meal plan in place, not every day is going to go as planned. You might be running late at work or have a sick child or forget to thaw a vital ingredient. Don’t panic – simply swop out your intended meal for a different one on the meal planner. Having some basic staples in stock (such as eggs or pasta sauce) can make for the perfect back up plan when things go awry on the food front.

Planning right, splitting meals and making a decision to go with frozen meals are the keys to successful meal planning. Need a frozen food option you can trust? Something that’s quick and easy but still nutritious and delicious? Your favourite catering company has the answer! If you love a Food Matters meal, you’ll be happy to hear that we’ve recently launched our very own range of frozen meals – FOMO. Simply order online and take home a range of yummy meals for your freezer or tomorrow’s supper. When you don’t feel like cooking but still want to eat well, try a FOMO meal!

Meal planning can make all the difference when it comes to serving your family well-balanced meals. Use our handy planner to help you do it right.

Three ways to include vegetarian meals in your dinner menu

Three ways to include vegetarian meals in your dinner menu

If you’re in the process of planning a dinner menu for a meal with friends and family, it’s important to remember that one of the first rules of entertaining is to make sure you’re aware of your guests’ dietary preferences and restrictions.

Serving lasagne? Get creative with these (not salad) sides.

Serving lasagne? Get creative with these (not salad) sides.

You can’t go wrong with lasagne. It’s saucy, delicious comfort food at its finest. And it’s a great frozen food option that defrosts easily, so you can store a few good portions in your freezer for those evenings when you feel like serving up hearty goodness without any of the effort.

Five tips for dealing with frozen meals

Five tips for dealing with frozen meals

For many of us, the last thing we feel like doing at the end of an exhausting day is preparing dinner. So we resort to grabbing take-out on our way home or we throw something super quick (but relatively unhealthy) into the oven. Home-cooked frozen meals, however, provide us with an option that’s both convenient and wholesome, so the whole family can eat well, while preparation time is kept to a minimum.

Know how to properly defrost frozen food? We do!

Know how to properly defrost frozen food? We do!

Whether you’re readying yourself for a busy week ahead or prepping meals in advance for a big dinner party, our ability to freeze food adds a lot of convenience to our lives. But if you’re going to, quite literally, put some meals on ice, it’s critical that you know how to defrost them properly when the time comes.

Serving take-out for supper? Take these catering tips to heart.

Serving take-out for supper? Take these catering tips to heart.

So, you’ve decided to go the somewhat easier route and serve take-out for dinner. There’s nothing wrong with that – sometimes you just have to be realistic about what you can handle given the time you have, and picking up takeaways will save you many precious hours at the end of a busy day.

Five food mistakes to avoid when catering for a wedding.

Five food mistakes to avoid when catering for a wedding.

Between securing a venue, booking a photographer and designing invitations, it can be easy to forget about the finer details involved in catering for a wedding. Managing the provisions at such a big event entails much more than just selecting starters, mains and desserts off a pre-planned menu. You have to consider budget, quantity, dietary restrictions and logistics, too.

Ditch the stress with our favourite dinner party catering hacks.

Ditch the stress with our favourite dinner party catering hacks.

Having friends or family over for a meal is so special, and so many incredible memories are made throughout the evening. Don’t let stress and poor planning affect how the evening goes, and take you away from spending time with your guests.


How to keep everyone happy when catering for a corporate event.

How to keep everyone happy when catering for a corporate event.

Have a client who wants to celebrate their company’s birthday, landing a big client or a star performer’s huge promotion with an office meal for all the employees to enjoy? That’s great but there’s only problem... Everyone eats and enjoys different things.


Easy after-ceremony snacks to serve at a wedding.

Easy after-ceremony snacks to serve at a wedding.

Are you an events planner for wedding celebrations? Then you’ll know that couples often use the time after the ceremony to take their couple and bridal party photos, meaning guests are left alone for a little while. And what better way than to keep them entertained with delicious snacks?


Three ways with the menu for an all-white themed wedding.

Three ways with the menu for an all-white themed wedding.

You’ve decided on a colour scheme for your big day, and it’s all-white. Simple, elegant and classic. But now you’re wondering what to do about the food? You don’t want it to stick out too much on a table with white crockery, cutlery and décor. Don’t stress, Food Matters has got it all under control!

Too beautiful to eat? Ideas for decorating your Winter wedding cake

Too beautiful to eat? Ideas for decorating your Winter wedding cake

Choosing a Winter wedding means choosing warm, cuddly weather and some seriously fun decor options too. Although we don't have Christmas during Winter in South Africa, there are so many amazing options if you're wanting to emphasize the Winter feeling of your big day. Your menu is obviously one of the most important elements of your day, and so is your cake. We know, because we’re experts at both!


Planning a wedding after-party? Here’s what to do about the food.

Planning a wedding after-party? Here’s what to do about the food.

More and more people are opting to serve midnight snacks as after-party food as their wedding evening progresses and guests have already eaten all the food that was originally provided. This is an especially good idea if you’re planning on taking the dance floor very seriously, and aren’t in a rush to get the party wrapped up.

Five hot catering trends for weddings this winter.

Five hot catering trends for weddings this winter.

Winter weddings can be truly special – not the norm, they offer an opportunity to create a truly unique experience for the bridal couple and their guests. And the menu is no exception. In fact, from decadent delights to cosy snacks, winter wedding food can help set the tone for the whole celebration.

Add some spice to your next event with interactive food stations.

Add some spice to your next event with interactive food stations.

Are you looking to try something new when it comes to the catering for your next big event? Whether you’re helping creating a stunning wedding or hosting a big conference, catering well for large groups of people can be challenging. At Food Matters, we’re always interested in the latest catering trends – especially when they bring that something extra to your event’s food experience.