Summer is slowly (almost too slowly for comfort) taking a bow and bidding us adieu till next year. This is the perfect time to plan that casual BBQ with close friends and family you've been wanting to put together. Too comlicated, you say? We're not all Martha Stewart or Colin Cowie. Maybe you don’t even aspire to be, but a few secret recipes and well-placed items will make even the most impromptu party look Pinterest-worthy.
First realize word BBQ conjures up images of backyards, shorts, and paper plates. BBQs are meant to be relaxed- so, relax! With that last exhale out of the way...
Perhaps it has been ingrained into you that a good hostess does not ask her guests to bring anything. Throw that thinking out the window for last minute parties with close friends. When a guest asks, “What can I bring?” Don’t say, “Whatever you want,” or you will end up with ten pounds of potato salad. It's okay to assign tasks! Asking people to bring something usually encourages them to 1) come 2) come on time and 3) show off their culinary skills. But also know your guests! If you have a friend that is notoriously late, don’t assign them to burger duty, but instead ask them to bring a dessert.After you've assigned the tasks you feel comfortable delegating to a friend, cover your bases. Make sure that you have plates, napkins, utensils, propane, coals, etc. And of course, take care of any loose ends in the food department. BBQs tend to have five main food categories: appetizers, main dishes, sides, desserts, and drinks.
These are some of my favorites in each category:
Appetizers- Think refreshing fruit, chips, and dip. I think ` blue corn tortilla chips with pineapple salsa from Trader Joe's are a great combination and sure to be a hit.
Main Dishes- There are so many options when grilling. Burgers and steaks are classics, but grilled veggies, chicken for a taco bar or pulled pork sandwiches also make delicious main dishes.
Sides-These are usually the simplest to delegate. The traditional macaroni salad, potato salad, or coleslaw are always a hit. Green and fruit salads are both refreshing and perfect for the calorie-conscious.
Desserts- Another dish easily delegated, dessert is everyone's favorite and can be as easy or complicated as you'd like. You can simply pick up ice cream and cake, or get creative with s'mores- also easily grilled!
Drinks: Beyond water, lemonade, and beer, try experimenting with Sangria and fun mixed drinks!
If all else fails, treat your guests to this Chili Lime Corn, and you will be a queen among hostesses. But, really.
Now relax with your guests and enjoy!
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