Interview: How to Plan A Girls Night In with Chef and Entertaining Expert Maureen Petrosky

Planning a fun girls night out with our girlfriends is always a great time, but can be rather costly. With most of trying to stick to our budgets these days, many of us don’t get to spend as much time with our friends as we’d like due to cost. Well, renowned chef and entertaining expert Maureen Petrosky thinks you can still spend time with your girlfriends and save money too! The renowned expert and author of The Wine Club joined me recently to talk about everything you need to throw a fun and relaxing girls night in with your besties! From how to invite the right number of gal pals, to picking the perfect invites, meal planning and custom cocktails to tips for livening up the party, Maureen has you covered to ensure your girls night in beats every girls night out you’ve ever had!

Candace Rose: What are first steps we must take when planning a girls night in?

Maureen Petrosky: “We all love a night on the town, but often our budgets can’t fit it. So I’ve got some great ideas on everything from what to serve to some fun activities that won’t break the bank. The first steps are in planning invitations. This is the perfect opportunity to use online invitations or Evites. They’re absolutely free, and you can customize them the way that you like, so take advantage of that. You want to remember that when you’re entertaining at home you want to keep your guest list at a manageable number. When you’re headed out, the sky is the limit, but when you’re staying home keeping it at a manageable number is much more fun. So fewer friends is more fun when entertaining at home.”

Candace Rose: How about when it comes to prepping our home for a fun night in?

Maureen Petrosky: “It’s simple enough to transform any room with a few candles and some twinkling lights. You might have twinkling lights in your backyard or maybe you have them put away for the holidays – this is a great time to bring them out for a girls night in. Scented candles really create a nice peaceful ambiance, so you can turn your home into a spa just by changing your lighting and mood music as well.

I know we all love a little indulgence and pampering so I love to do a girls spa night. It’s something simple, you can head to the drugstore, pick up falls best colors for nail polish. We all love to be pampered so a manicure and pedicure among friends is a lot of fun and a great way to spend a girls night in.”

Candace Rose: Meal planning and entertaining guests can be stressful. What are some fun easy foods that our guests will love?

Maureen Petrosky: “Well, Candace that is a great point. We are with our friends in our house here, so we don’t want it to be stressful at all, so I like to think of things that are delicious and easy to make. Things like chips and salsa, everyone’s favorite guacamole, and I love to set up a do-it-yourself burger bar with all my favorite toppings including grilled veggies and different cheeses, all different condiments, and I like to choose a better-for-you option and use the MorningStar Farms meatless burgers. I don’t know if you’ve tried these Candace, but they come in 11 flavorful varieties so there is something even for your pickiest girlfriends out there. I like to put out the spicy Black Bean Burgers, the Grillers Original and the Garden Veggie Patties. They can customize it to however they like and these burgers are so good they have a burger back guarantee, which means if you don’t like them you can go to their website and get your money back. But I promise you’re not going to have to do that because you’ll love them.”

Candace Rose: Everything sounds delicious! It’s not quite a party unless there are drinks involved. What are some of your favorites?

Maureen Petrosky: “That’s right Candace, we are having a party so we want to make sure we’re prepared on all fronts. I love to do big batches of drinks or punch ahead of time – break out your grandma’s punch bowl, get your pitchers down and fill them up with something; you can even make a signature drink. A fun idea is to create cocktail card or a recipe card to give to your friends as kind of a take away from your girls night in; but be sure to keep your ice on the side and only add it with an ice bucket when you’re putting out your pitchers, this way you avoid watery drinks. ”

Candace Rose: What else can we do other than drinks to liven up the party?

Maureen Petrosky: “Well, we always love to snack, I know that my girlfriends and I can get in trouble that way, but I found a new snack that I love – both flavors of Kellogg’s Special K Popcorn Chips. They come in butter and sweet and salty. These can be a little addictive but that’s okay because it’s completely guilt free snacking, only 120 calories for 28 chips. They’re backed and not fried so no guilt there, and they have that great popcorn flavor but with an unbelievable crunch like a chip. These are perfect when you and your girlfriends are renting a movie or staying in to catch up on your favorite TV shows.”

Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share?

Maureen Petrosky: “Well, a really fun thing to do is to have a wine club with your girlfriends. Instead of having a book club you and your girlfriends can stay in and have a wine club, meaning you can taste a few different wines each month. The book The Wine Club walks you through how to do this month by month. For instance one month you’ll taste Chardonnay from all over the world, and you taste them all blind so the bottles are covered in foil or brown paper bags. This way they’re not revealed until the end of the evening, that lets you decide which wine you really like the taste of as opposed to judging it by the label or the price of the wine bottle.”

Candace Rose: Where can we go for more information?

Maureen Petrosky: “For more information on how to build a great burger bar, you can go to MorningStar.com. To find out where to buy those snacks that I love, you can go to SpecialK.com and I have lots of entertaining tips on my website at MaureenPetrosky.com.”

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