Entertaining made easy

The Eggers love to entertain! It is a thrill to start loving on our guests in the days if not the weeks before a chance to gather people for a celebration or a get together. Recently we opened 23 East, the new home of Jenni Egger Designs with 3 Open Houses.

  1. For Design Industry Professionals
  2. For our trade, vendor and supplier partners
  3. For our clients, friends and family

By now we have introduced several hundred guests to 23 East and are delighted to share it with many more in the future.

In the Spirit of Giving and Sharing and Appreciating everyone who has been interested, this post is a culmination of some recipes, tips and tricks for somewhat easy and low stress hosting!

We hosted a seven hour open house which encompassed both lunch and dinner food. The planning was key for this one as we wanted a vast mix of light and heavy food choices, some of which included meat and many options for vegetarians.

Picture of a holiday menu.

Once a menu is created, we make a shopping list. I divide my list into three stomping grounds: Costco, Trader Joes and the regular grocery store. I typically do all the shopping in one day (2-3 days ahead of time) with a quick trip for last minute items the day before or morning of the party.

Howard (my husband) handled the drink menu by experimenting and coming up with a signature bourbon drink, creating a menu and visiting our local liquor super store to stock up.

Watercolor of champagne bottles.

Before the food and drink recipes are shared, I wanted to give some tips on planning a party for 10 or hundreds.

I always start with the details – mapping out where food will be served and in what dishes or containers. Where will the bar be located and how will we set up a mix of “serve yourself” options and bartender mixed cocktails? Ensuring the proper glassware and serving vessels are available. Hiring someone to mix and pour drinks and to keep the bar area tidy and stocked saves so much stress as well as allows you to enjoy the party!

Setting up the buffet to ensure all the serving pieces are accounted for and prepared for use can be done days ahead of the event and will ensure ease in setting up right before your guests arrive.

The day before the party, I defrosted shrimp, roasted the pork tenderloin, assembled the lasagna, boiled and marinated the pasta, mixed the artichoke salad, and prepared all the sauces.

The morning of the party I made my (almost) famous chocolate chip cookies, added the sauce to the shrimp dishes, sliced the pork tenderloin and buns, added all ingredients to the pasta salad, and procured ice for the bar.

Here are the recipes we used to create a satisfying, colorful, flavorful menu for the guests of our “all day” open house to enjoy.

The Holiday Pom Pom

Signature Cocktail

Cocktail drink.
  • Fill old fashioned glass with ice
  • Add 2 shots of Bourbon (we use Maker’s Mark)
  • 1/2 shot simple syrup
  • 1/2 shot pomegranate juice
  • Dash or two of bitters
  • Garnish with an orange slice and pomegranate seeds

Creamy Spicy Shrimp Salad

From Once Upon a Chef

Creamy spicy shrimp salad.


  • 2 pounds large raw shrimp (31-35 per pound), shell-on and deveined (see note), thawed if frozen
  • ½ cup mayonnaise, best quality such as Hellman’s or Duke’s
  • 1½ teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup finely diced celery
  • ¼ cup finely sliced scallions, light and dark green parts separated


  1. Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water and set next to the sink.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until bright pink and cooked through, about 1½ minutes (the water needn’t return to a boil).
  3. Drain the shrimp in a colander and then immediately plunge them into the ice water to shock them and stop the cooking process. Let sit until chilled, about 15 minutes. Peel the shrimp and set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, Old Bay, wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Stir in the shrimp, celery, and light green scallions. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Before serving, transfer the salad to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the dark green scallions and a dash of Old Bay (more if you want more kick). The salad will keep for 2 days, covered, in the refrigerator.

Lemon Garlic Marinated Shrimp

From Eating Well


Ingredient Checklist

  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 ¼ pounds cooked, peeled, deveined, tail off shrimp

Place garlic and oil in a small skillet and cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper. Cool Sauce/Marinade. Toss with shrimp in a large bowl. Chill until ready to serve.

We served hot and mild cocktail sauce with both shrimp recipes.

Mediterranean Bow Tie Pasta Salad

Bow tie pasta.


  • 1 lb bowtie pasta
  • Olive oil
  • Greek salad dressing
  • Marinated mushrooms
  • Veggies like red, green and yellow peppers, shredded carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, onion, etc.
  • 1 cup feta cheese
  • Tzatzik dip or dressing
  • Salad Greens
  • Greek seasoning


Boil Pasta as directed and toss with olive oil after cooking.

When cooled, add Greek Dressing to pasta along with mushrooms, veggies, greek seasoning to taste and feta cheese. Tzatziki can be tossed with pasta if desired, before garnish. Lay Salad greens onto platter and pile pasta salad on top. Before serving drizzle tzatziki and sprinkle with greek seasoning to taste.

For the Trio of Spreads on Charcuterie, I purchased the Spinach Dip and Hummus from Costco. This plus an Artichoke salad, assorted veggies, crackers, nuts and breads made up the charcuterie.

Artichoke Salad

Artichoke Salad

In a large bowl mix:

  • 1 12 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts drained and chopped
  • 1 16 oz jar giardiniera mix, drained and chopped
  • ½ cup green olives pitted and chopped. (we recommend Castelvetrano Olives)
  • Finely chopped parsley (¼ – ½ cup with some reserved for garnish)
  • 2 tbs. Chili oil
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Ravioli Lasagna


(Why didn’t I think of this?)

  • Layer uncooked Ravioli (we used spinach filled) with sauce and meat (we used roasted chicken)
  • Layer from bottom of pan:
    • Sauce/Ravioli/Meat/Sauce/Ravioli/Meat/Sauce /Ravioli/Sauce/Mozzarella cheese topping
  • Remove from fridge 1-2 hours before baking.
  • Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is browned.
  • Quantities can be adjusted for the crowd you are feeding. I made this in a deeper chafing dish and kept it warm through the party. If more shallow dish is used, reduce one layer.

Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches

Chart showing what pork tenderloin looks like cooked different ways.
  • Season Pork Tenderloin with your favorite seasoning. We used the ever reliable St. Elmo’s blend.
  • Roast or grill until desired doneness. 150 degrees is medium
  • Cool and refrigerate overnight.
  • Slice into thin slices and serve with cocktail buns and sauces.
  • We served with a dijon mustard and a cranberry horseradish sauce

For Dessert, we arranged one homemade and two store bought desserts.

Peppermint Bark, Macarons, and Jenni’s (almost) Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies were mounded for everyone to satisfy their sweet tooth. This year, Jenni gave the gift of her recipe for the cookies to everyone who stopped by and here it is for you!

A gift from Jenni card.
A gift from Jenni card.
Chocolate chip cookies

For the other two open houses, We focused on a Brunch Menu of Chicken Salad on Biscuits and a Make Your own Yogurt Parfait bar for an 8:30 am – 11:30 am timeframe. For the Trades and Vendors Evening open house we hired a food truck and when they were unfortunately in an accident on the way, we shifted to Joella’s Hot Chicken, which provided a wonderful meal on the fly.

Thank You Joella’s Broad Ripple for pulling a dinner for 40 together last minute!

Have yourself a Happy Holiday Season! Enjoy friends and family and your place.