The month of June brings with it the start of a new season and on June 21st we observe the very first day of summer. (Hooray!) Summer means more time spent outside in the great outdoors enjoying the beauty of Mother Nature sipping homemade smoothies. Summer also means more opportunities for grilling out with family, friends, and neighbors. This year, consider elevating your backyard BBQs and summertime cookouts with these seven tips.
#1 Create a Signature Drink
Celebrate the summer season with a themed signature drink. In honor of summer and all of the summertime holidays, like Independence Day, serve something red, white, and blue or stick to summer staples like sangria made with fresh fruit and seasonal herbs from the local community farmers market. Keep fun mocktails on hand for designated drivers and all of the kiddos in attendance.
#2 Elevate Traditional Condiments
Instead of serving up plain old ketchup and mustard (though delicious), elevate classic condiment choices by taking a new twist on traditional flavors. Grab gochujang chili paste or stir in sriracha sauce with mayonnaise for a spicy bite. You can even utilize fresh flavors, herbs, and spices like chili, lemon, and rosemary fresh from the farmers market or your very own backyard garden.
#3 Flag it
When serving up gourmet grilled items, take a tip from restaurants and use small colorful flagged toothpicks to differentiate dishes like appetizers, sandwiches, and snacks. You can also use different colored plates too. This simple trick is also helpful for keeping allergy-conscious or gluten-free dishes separate from the rest of the meal.
#4 Stock Up on Snacks
While waiting for the backyard BBQ to heat up, keep the munchies at bay with some great go-to snacks. Create a colorful fruit or vegetable platter or whip up a homemade dip, guacamole, hummus, or salsa and pair it with chips, crackers, or pita bread.
#5 Think Beyond the Grill
Although backyard burgers may be the star of your BBQ or summertime cookout, side dishes are just as important. Select recipes that complement the flavors of your main entrees and include a variety of side dishes so guests have multiple options to choose from.
It may be tempting to take advantage of the grilling season and serve everything on the grill, but mix it up with plenty of prepared side dishes like corn on the cob, fresh fruit, salad, pasta salad, and potato salad.
If it is especially hot and humid outside, keep guests cool with some simple handcrafted salads. Whether you choose something savory or sweet, summertime salad recipes can include fresh ingredients straight from your backyard garden or community farmers' market.
#6 Sweet Treats
Do not forget dessert! Serving something sweet after the main meal is a nice sweet treat for guests to enjoy. As it is summer, think of cooling, refreshing desserts that are light like chilled pies, homemade popsicles, ice (or nice) cream treats, and sorbets. Other classic options include brownies, cookies, cupcakes, and fresh fruit kabobs, which are all delicious desserts for summertime.
#7 To-Go Containers
Do not let guests leave the party empty-handed. Have to-go containers on hand so you can send guests home with any summer BBQ leftovers they loved so they can enjoy the meal all over again at a later time.
Celebrate the taste of summer all season long with these seven tips for elevating your backyard BBQ and summertime cookout. Happy summer everyone!
- Stay Healthy and Happy
Need some new recipe ideas for your backyard BBQ or summertime cookout? Check out @MBVeganShare or join our CEO live @itsnolasnacks one a month, starting Sunday, July 17th when she shares some delicious and nutritious vegan recipes. Do not worry, even if you are not vegan, you will still enjoy these dishes.
Tag us @itsnolasnacks so we can see all of your original and one-of-a-kind summertime recipes.