Holiday Series: New Year's Eve Dinner Party Hosting Advice from The Pastelillo Lady

I can't believe that the holidays came and past and we are approaching the New Year. I hope that you and your family had a Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, and/or Kwanzaa. With the holidays behind us it's time to celebrate the welcoming of the New Year! 


As I wrap up my Holiday Series, I had the chance to sit down over some coffee and chat with Liz Morgan, better known as The Pastelillo Lady. She is an expert when it comes to entertaining and loves to serve delicious dishes to her guests.

Liz Morgan, owner of The Pastilillo Lady

Liz Morgan, owner of The Pastilillo Lady

"Growing up in a Puerto Rican household, eating pastelillos was a treat," she explained. It wasn't until after college while living in her first apartment she asked her mom for her pastelillo recipe. She practiced and mastered making pastelillos. Eventually, people started asking her to make pastelillos for them, then it grew to people asking her to make pastelillo for their events. That was the beginning of The Pastilillo Lady.

If you are not familiar with pastelillos, Liz explains them as Puerto Rican empanadas but the reason they're different is the ingredients. She says she adds olives, onions, peppers, and blend of vegetables with a "secret sauce", then simmers the meat to add to a thick dough which is then pinched and fried. 

The pasteilillo lady

The pasteilillo lady

As she prepares to host her own party for the holidays, she says the look of a dinner party is essential to a successful party, everything from the food setup, music, and good wine & spirits of course. 

Photo by  Joseph Gonzalez  on  Unsplash

There is a specific menu she likes to stick to when throwing a dinner party but she says her favorite dish is pernil, which is a popular Puerto Rican pork dish roasted for 12 hours resulting in tender meat and a crispy skin. 

The Benefit of Having a Party Catered. 

There's a lot of components to hosting a successful party. Confirming your guest count, prepping your home, decorating your home, selecting an outfit, having the right music, and the list goes on. With a long to-do list sometimes preparing a full menu can be exhausting. So I asked Liz, who caters events, what the benefit is to have a party catered. Liz mentioned that although she enjoys cooking she thinks it's important to enjoy your party. When hosting you don't get a chance to sit down and enjoy the food, have a drink and be stress-free. She says the benefit of having your party catered is it gives you the chance to enjoy your company, instead of being in the kitchen. When she caters to her clients she preps, serves and provides as necessary dinnerware. 

Buffet Style or Sit Down

Liz explained that if you're hosting more than 10 people the intimacy of a sit-down dinner is lost and suggests to do a buffet-style. "When I think of dinner parties, you have a table and you have to be able to seat everyone at the table if you can't have everyone sit down at the table do a buffet-style," she told me.

Liz's Top Tips For Serving a Menu For a Large Group?

"Always overcook and purchase to-go containers." Guests are usually happy to take food home. "It's never too much of a good thing. Your guests get to go home and remember their experience through the food," Liz mentions. She also mentions having a variety of food is important because not everyone has the same taste.

"Invest in a server," she says. "If you're not going to have a caterer, invest in a server." She says it doesn't have to cost a lot. It allows you to enjoy the party and your guests. Some of the tasks your server can provide are refilling drinks, serving your guests, cleaning up, and taking out the trash. 

To contact Liz email her at or follow her Instagram Page @the_pastelillo_lady for pictures of her yummy pastelillos!

As I write my last blog for 2017, I want to personally thank you for taking the time and reading my posts. Wishing you the best in 2018!

Bonne Année!

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