Recipes, products and DIY’s for your summer time cook-outs
Backyard barbecues are a staple of any American summer. Whether you’re getting ready for Memorial, Independence or Labor day, there’s always an excuse to bust out the grill and barbecue sauce. This holiday season, I’ll make sure you’re prepared to face all the challenges and hiccups that are bound to crop up while you’re getting your party on. From recipes to decorating tips and even a printable shopping list you can take with you on your path to barbecue success.
We all know that decorating for a barbecue is no easy feat. From gusty winds that blow everything off our tables to soggy drink containers and a mess of condiments. Here are a few ways to keep your party looking neat without breaking the bank.
1. Use Water Balloons as Ice Cubes
Grab those water balloons your kids are waiting to destroy each other with, fill them about half way with water and pop them into the freezer. After a couple hours you can fill a cooler or small bin with these delightful makeshift ice cubes and skip having to empty out a tub of warm water at the end of the night. Its perfect for adding juice boxes and other drink containers you don’t want to get wet. And the best part, after they’ve finished cooling your drinks and melting, you can throw them at each other!
2. Mason Jars as Candle Holders
Everyone loves mason jars. They’re all the rage recently and can be found on just about any store shelf nation wide. Tie a bit of string or twine around the rim of the glass and fill it with water or some other non flammable liquid. Gently float your favorite tea light candles in the liquid, light, and bask in the golden ambience of the candle flames. This is a great addition to any table centerpiece and adds a bit of sparkle and country styling to your party. Take it a step even further by sinking a few stones or jewels at the bottom of the glass. The little rocks you buy for fishtanks would work great for this as would anything generally heavy enough to sink to the bottom of the jar and stay put. If you’re on a tighter budget, grab a few rocks from a riverbed or your neighbors flower bed (shhhh, I wont tell) and enjoy the all natural effect of your new table centerpiece. Add a wreath of flowers around the jars on the table to make your party the envy of all your friends and bossy relatives.
3. Muffin Tins or Mason Jars as Condiment Dispensers
We all know the mess of trying to safely and neatly distribute condiments at a cookout. Who knows whats in those packets we steal from our neighboring McDonalds (I know you’ve done it! We all have!) and setting out the bottles results in ketchup fights and a slippery mustard mess. Try filling mason jars or your old muffin tin with your favorite condiments and even veggies for a neat dispensary that will not only look good on your table but will cut your clean up and put away time in half. Tomatoes, pickles, onions, heck even your grandmothers cole slaw recipe; if it can fit in a jar or a tin it has a perfect place at your table. Equip the jars tin with disposable spoons to make it easy to grab whatever your burger needs. Just be sure to remind your guests that double dipping is strictly not allowed!
4. String up Your Old Christmas Lights and Bring Out the Bed Sheets
Want to turn your next cook-out into a party your guests will never forget? Simple additions like blankets instead of chairs and old Christmas lights strung from poles or the side of the house will help make your night one of the best your guests have ever had. Urge people to take off their shoes and socks and climb into the intimate setting you’ve provided, they’ll love you for it, especially if they’re the skittish type who’s not so keen on social gatherings. Removing the exacting need to mingle by setting them between their favorite people in a comfortable atmosphere will have them chatting up a storm in no time–willingly! Don’t forget the candles on the table, the good food and the excellent conversation either!
5. Take a Favorite Childhood Game to the Next Level
Can you say water balloon, outdoor twister? Break out the non-toxic spray paint and create a 6×4 grid of circles in the grass with the infamous twister colors and let it dry. Once you’re sure it won’t stain your toes or clothing, break out your old twister board and start spinning. For every missed color or slip and fall–bean them with a water balloon! You’ll be slipping, sliding and covered in grass in no time. And we all know, there can be no real summer fun without grass stains and someone complaining about water in their eyes. Make it even more exciting for the adults with a friendly wager, how far you decide to take it is completely up to you!
What’s better than summer fun? Summer food! I’ve complied a small list of recipes that will have your guests salivating and demanding details before you shove them out the door. Just remember, what happens between us stays between us, if you want to tell your friends it’s your great aunts recipe from the 1950’s, be my guest!
1. Sweet and Sour Meatball Skewers
This one comes from the folks over at www.tasteandtellblog.com.
These easy meatball skewers are made with frozen meatballs and sweet peppers and then basted with a simple sweet and sour sauce for a fast weeknight meal.
•32 frozen fully cooked 1-inch meatballs, thawed (1 lb.)
•1 red pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
•1 green pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
•¼ cup apricot jam
•¼ cup barbecue sauce
1.Heat a grill to medium-high. Thread the peppers and meatballs alternately onto 8 skewers.
2.Microwave the jam in a small bowl for 15 seconds. Add the barbecue sauce and stir to combine.
3.Place the meatball skewers on the grill and brush with the sauce. Grill for 8-10 minutes, turning and basting with the sauce occasionally.
2. BBQ Glazed Pineapple Bacon Shrimp
From the good ole’ folks at thedomesticgeekblog.com.
Total time: 30 mins
•1 Lb bacon
•1 Lb de-veined raw shrimp
•1 fresh pineapple
•1 C. Barbecue sauce
1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2.Prepare the shrimp for cooking by peeling them and cutting of the tails.
3.Put the prepared shrimp in a bowl and drizzle some pineapple juice over them, add some sea salt and toss to coat all the shrimp.
4.Fold bacon around each shrimp and then cut bacon, depending on how big the shrimp are you should be able to wrap a few shrimp with one piece of bacon.
5.Use a toothpick to skewer a piece of pineapple then poke it through the bacon and shrimp to secure it.
6.Place shrimp on a cookie sheet lined with foil, brush on barbecue sauce (we used Uncle Dougies Sneaky Spicy Barbecue Sauce)
7.Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 min or until bacon and shrimp are cooked through, enjoy!
3. Bobby Flay’s Sliders with Chipotle Mayonnaise
From people.com and master chef Bobby Flay himself comes a wonderful recipe that’ll add a little south-western flavor to your party.
Sliders are the perfect party food, and these mini burgers from the host of Barbecue Addiction steal the show, especially when topped with chipotle-lime mayonnaise.
1 cup mayonnaise
2 canned chipotles in adobo sauce
Juice of ½ lime
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef, 80% lean, 20% fat
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cheese slices, your choice
Mini burger buns
.1 For mayonnaise: Puree the first 3 ingredients in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
.2 Preheat grill over medium-high heat. Form meat into 8 tightly packed portions. Season with salt and pepper.
.3 Place sliders on the grill. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side. When the sliders are almost done, top with cheese. Close grill (or cover) to allow cheese to melt. Place on bun, top with mayonnaise and serve.
Everyone has trouble remembering what they should and shouldn’t pick up at the story. Grocery list aside as, the best part about a backyard barbecue is that you get to set your own menu, but I’ve included a list of things you’re likely to forget if you’re wrestling the kids in and out of a van and can’t find a moment to think. First and foremost, your grilling kit! This beautiful 18-piece barbecue set comes in an aluminum case with dual latches for secure storage. It includes fork, tongs, knife, grill-cleaning brush, basting brush, 4 steak knives, and 8 corn holders and everything you need to get your grilling done right! With this set at your side, the everything else will be a breeze.