Celebrity chef Ina Garten laughing
The 4-Dish Rule Ina Garten Implements For Dinner Parties

Chef Ina Garten has practical suggestions when planning a dinner party. Her best advice in this regard is the four simple rules she follows when putting together a menu.

She suggests preparing at least one dish at room temperature, one in the oven, one on the stove, and one prepared in advance so you’re not still cooking when guests arrive.

The goal is to make your role as host and cook stress-free so that you and your guests can enjoy each other's company. Stick to this game plan, and plan to make it easy on yourself.

Look for recipes that come together easily and do well without heating or cooling. Garten's "The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook" provides some fitting examples.