Fire up your grills and gather all of your loved ones because it’s time to get cooking in that outdoor kitchen! The only thing you’re missing now is the food. There’s almost no limit to what food and drinks you can prepare in the backyard these days. Still, you want to keep things reasonably simple so you can spend time with your guests. And you want to keep it interesting while pleasing a wide range of people. Here are some recipe ideas for your outdoor summer gathering.
Your guests are going to want something to satisfy their bellies as they mingle or play outdoor games.
Skip the predictable chips a serve freshly popped popcorn. There are many poppers on the market that you can use on your grill or fire pit. To really add flair to your party buy or rent an old-fashioned popcorn machine where guests can serve themselves.
Salads are another great way to please your guests. You’ll wow them with this 7 Layer Salad suggested by Eating Well. It’s easy and you can make it the night before so all the veggies mingle for maximum satisfaction.
It’s important to pair the right drink with the meal. On a hot day, everyone wants something nice and refreshing to sip on.
You can’t go through summer and not eat a watermelon. Why not drink one while you’re at it? Freeze cubes of watermelon, then blend them with simple syrup or fruit juice of your choice. Add rum or gin if you like, or skip the alcohol so everyone can enjoy.
For an adult beverage, The Food Network suggests this concoction made with light beer and fresh peaches. It’s quick and easy to make as you go. Garnish it with fresh fruit.
You can cook just about any kind of meat on the grill, so rather than sticking with predictable burgers, try mix-and-match tacos. Marinate beef, chicken, fish, or portobello mushrooms in advance. You’ll get the prep work out of the way long before guests arrive. Then grill each one and let guest choose what they want, along with a variety of toppings. You can warm the taco shells or flour tortillas on the grill, too.
Nashville hot chicken has exploded in popularity in recent years and yes, you can make it on the grill. The blog Girls Can Grill explains how. Remember to pick up some sweet pickles to accompany it.
If you’re looking for a light meal Midwest Living has a recipe for an Asian Lettuce Wrap. It will leave them feeling full but still energized for some backyard cornhole or badminton.
Naturally, you can’t disappoint your dinner guests by not having a dessert!
Fruit always makes a great starting point for summer desserts, especially if you grow it yourself. Eating Well suggests this Rustic Berry Tart or Brown Sugar Peach Shortcakes. Serve either with fresh whipping cream, ice cream, or non-dairy frozen dessert.
When hosting a backyard barbeque it’s easy to fall back on easy, been-there-done-that choices. But with the flexibility and amenities of newer outdoor kitchens, you can really shine. Check with guests in advance about any dietary restrictions, and create something everyone can enjoy. Do you have your own summertime recipes? Mention your favorites in the comments below.