Even just a few shorts years ago, when you wanted to entertain friends, you may not have thought twice about picking up the phone and making reservations at a nice restaurant. Unfortunately, that's all changed. Now, you may entertain friends at the upscale restaurant on occasion, but these days you lean more towards entertaining at home, purely for economic considerations. Well, this is not such a disaster. In fact, you can organize a dinner party at home that vies with, or even surpasses the carefree restaurant experience. Here's how to make home entertaining a gracious and memorable event.

You should think first of all the kitchen conveniences and appliances we now have at our disposal. In the economic heydays, we used our bread makers, convection ovens and do-ahead recipes to make everyday family meals a stunning success. As an example, bread makers have 'dough only' settings, as well as bells which alert us to the proper time to add fruit, nuts or cheese. This great appliance gives you the wherewithal to produce artisan breads your guests will surely applaud, with just a few minutes of your time. As well as also for the Convection ovens are another handy appliance when you're entertaining at home. You can roast a gourmet chicken dish in no time at all, with very little supervision required on your part. And likewise to do-ahead recipes, there are literally thousands of delectable dishes which may be prepared ahead of party day and are actually enhanced by sitting in the fridge, marrying seasons and flavors to perfection.

Well, entertaining at home used to summon up visions of long hours at the stove and last-minute preparations which left us worn out before the party ever began. Wanting to provide a top-notch meal for our guests seemed beyond our reach or reserves of energy. This is simply no longer the case.

When you throw a party, at some point everybody has to entertain in their home. This event can be a wonderful time if you know how to plan, cook and serve the meal. Of course, you want your guests to enjoy good food and have a good time. What you might not realize is that your guests also want to enjoy your company and conversation as well. If you spend all your time in the kitchen, continuing to fuss with this or that last-minute dish, you're robbing your guests of your company and it's not much fun for you either! Here are some tips for throwing a party you can enjoy too. The secret? Easy entertaining recipes!

These great recipes for entertaining are designed to make the day of your party a relaxed affair. Main dishes that you prepare ahead of time may be gourmet concoctions you can prepare at your leisure anywhere from one to three days prior to party day and which benefit from waiting in the fridge before being served. In fact, every gourmet cook knows that the flavors of almost any complex meat dish improve when the meat, seasonings and sauce 'marry' for a day or two sitting in the fridge. Some examples include Cajun-style gumbos, chicken and lamb currys, osso bucho and French ragouts. These easy entertaining recipes make stunning entrees with exotic taste results you wouldn't get if you cooked and served on the same day.

Here are some of the luscious desserts, which includes cheesecake or four-layer cakes can be baked and frozen a week ahead of time. Cheesecake may be made, ready to serve, before freezing. Just remove it from the freezer a few hours before dinner and top each serving with a dollop of glazed fresh strawberries. Your cake requires just a few minutes time to assemble the layers with fruit filling and whipped cream, topping it off with chocolate frosting. Cakes assembled while frozen are easier to work with and make impressive desserts.

Another easy entertaining recipes for side dishes include roasted potatoes, rice pilaf and cold pasta salads. Roasted potatoes require little more than popping them in the oven. You can cut the potato wedges the night before and store them, covered in water with a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice. This makes for a crisper potato when roasted. Rice and pasta salads are usually better the next day.

Apparently, a visit to the deli counter can supply a sumptuous selection of appetizers, from cold cuts and cheeses to antipasto platters and crab cakes. Large cooked shrimp on a platter with a choice of a couple of  dips and gourmet crackers are wonderful munchies, as are Nicoise or Kalamata olives and marinated mushrooms.

The basis of your choices on the occasion, either it's a casual of fancy easy entertaining recipes allow you to attend your party and have as much fun as your guests. By party day, all you need to do is choose a nice outfit, greet your guests and mingle!

The main course is the main event, and will make the most impression on your guests; so it’s worth putting some extra care into choosing what you serve. With a little careful coordination and planning, entertaining at home can be a snap. Once you realize that entertaining at home can be so easy, it will also be apparent that not only are you saving lots of money, but your guests may also enjoy the conviviality and comfort of your gracious home more than going out.

Having a few ideas and the supplies to match will ensure your friends always feel welcome. But above all, being prepared will allow you to enjoy the most important ingredient whenever you entertain, your guests. When the party's over, you simply slide into bed with happiness for a successful party you have.