From E! News to girls' nights in, if there's anyone who knows how to be the hostess with the mostess it's Maria Menounos!
Maria's just released the third book in her hit EveryGirl series, this time focusing on becoming a pro in the kitchen.
The EveryGirl's Guide to Cooking features a collection of 150 mouth-watering recipes for, you guessed it, every girl to try as well as a few of Maria's favorite tips on how to host the perfect get-together.
The New York Times bestselling author spills on 4 key areas when it comes to putting together a fabulous fête for family and friends, so let's review:
1. Lighting: In the words of Cher Horowitz, you don't want to stumble into some bad lighting. Maria reveals that she preps all of her "key indoor and outdoor lights" well before her guests arrive.
2. Music: "My favorite dinner party music is good old Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett," the brunette beauty dishes before adding that she's not shied from a "great dance mix of classics" for a more upbeat affair.
3. Drinks: When in doubt, have every option on hand! Maria says it's best to offer guests an array of beverages to choose from. Start with a "bottle each of red and white wine, a basic alcohol like vodka, mixers, some sparking water" and a few other key garnishes for tasty cocktails like chopped lemons and limes.
4. Appetizers: Prepping a meal can be a handful in and of itself, so Maria often turns to convenient appetizers for guests to snack on like "pre-made cheese platters and veggie platters."
But for those with a bit of extra time to spare, Maria offers up one of her favorite go-to app recipes ever: zucchini toasts.
"Be careful with this one," she warns in The EveryGirl's Guide to Cooking. "If you make too many, people will eat so many of these and miss dinner!" Consider yourselves warned!
2 Teaspoons of olive oil, plus additional for the bread
1 Large zucchini, shredded
2 Cloves of garlic, minced
1 Teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
2 Tablespoons lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
Salt and black pepper
1 Baguette, gluten-free if desired, cut into slices
1/2 Cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 Cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1. Preheat the broiler. Warm the 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini and garlic; cook for 3 minutes, stirring. Stir in the rosemary, lemon zest, and salt and pepper to taste.
2. Drizzle the cut slices of the baguette lightly with oil; broil until golden. Spread the ricotta on the toasts and top with the zucchini mixture. Top with the feta; broil until the cheese is bubbling.
Pick up a copy of The EveryGirl's Guide to Cooking available now and check out mariamenounos.com for more free recipes and video tutorials. Also, make sure you tag #EveryGirlCooking on your photos when you try your hand at Maria's recipes. The E! News host will be sending 10 lucky winners items straight from her personal closet—now that sounds like a win win!