The best guest entertainers often have to hire a catering company so that their top priority can remain telling jokes, shaking hands and hanging jackets. The whole atmosphere of a party changes the second uniformed caterers come in with subpar food in tin foil pans. 

Here are 9 tips how you can be a good entertainer while still serving a home cooked meal and not inviting caterers to the soiree. 

1. Pre-Prep

It's the big day—you have a lot of food and drink prepping you need to do. Start soaking the oranges and apples in your sangria mix the night before. Marinate your steak in garlic, EVO and Worcestershire sauce overnight. 

The more you do the days leading up to the party the less you will have to worry about during the party. Don't forget the small things like boiling pots of water and preheating the oven right before your guests arrive. 

2. Make a Checklist

snack, study snack, textbook, notebook, taking notes, notes, studying, citrus, orange
Jocelyn Hsu

The prep work is important, but the second all the guests start piling into the living room, all bets are off. You forget the potatoes in the oven and burn them to a black ash because you were so occupied greeting your friends. Make a checklist before the mayhem begins. 

Whatever you need to get done while your guests are in your presence is exactly what needs to be on the checklist, so you don't forget anything.

Set timers, cross off things you've done, put time ranges you want to get things done.

3. Buy Something Prepared 

crust, bread, apple pie, cake, sweet, pastry, pie
Jocelyn Hsu

Cut yourself some slack and buy one or two things prepared. If it is covered up by bottomless drinks, endless apps and a good main dish, your guests won't even know that there was something store-bought. 

I suggest reaching for a dessert as your prepared dish of choice. Sugary treats are never bad (ever), but prepared green bean casserole may not be as pleasing as homemade.  

4. Stay Out of the Sink 

dishes, sink, dirty dishes
Jocelyn Hsu

Now you are attempting the impossible. Don't try to cook, entertain and clean. Leave the all the cleaning (dishes included) for after the guests leave. 

5. Serve Less Dessert 

candy, cake, pastry, cookie, coffee, sweet, cream, chocolate
Sho Niimura

After everyone has stuffed their faces with the appetizers and main course, they won't be that hungry anyways. Don't feel pressured to supply a over-the-top buffet of desserts because most of it will be left untouched anyways.

Opt for one dessert, if the picky people complain then they can leave (more dessert for you!). 

6. Learn Some Cooking Shortcuts

Google "cooking shortcuts" and take notes! Pizza wheels can chop herbs faster, microwaves can juice lemons, cheese graters create a pie crust. Hacks are real! Learn them, try them, use them. It will save you from some miseries in the kitchen. 

8. Eat With Everyone 

Sangria, Sparklers, Indian Food, Party, sushi
Carolyne Su

You don't have to be the main source of entertainment all night. Just keep pouring those drinks and putting out cheese platters. As long as you sit down and enjoy the main course with your guests, it will seem like you were around the whole night. 

9. Breathe 

Everybody makes mistakes! Your guest list is probably made up of your best friends and family, who forgive you unconditionally. I promise you, your guests are just happy not to be cooking tonight and to be out of the house for once. Relish in their gratitude!

Remember you are a strong, independent woman (or man)! You have triumphed half of the obstacles thrown at you, so why does party entertaining have to be any different?

Screw caterers. Go and get it. Now that you have these tips and tricks in your back pocket, you'll be the best entertainer on the block.