Come on over
When the sun is out, we like to be outside, too. Summertime is the perfect time for hosting friends, family and neighbors for a cookout. One of the best things about dining outdoors is the relaxed vibe. There’s no need for much planning. You don’t have to serve fancy food or bust out the special serving dishes. Getting people together is the main goal, so keep things simple so you can enjoy, too!
Here’s our list for hosting a fun cookout that’s high on fun but not on fuss.
- Make it a potluck! Forget spending all of your time preparing food – have all of your guests help, too. After all, there is something to the old saying “many hands make light work”. If you’re hosting, offer to grill burgers and dogs, provide the buns and condiments and have guests bring the sides and desserts.
- BYOB. Fill a cooler with ice and stock it with bottled water, soda and juice boxes for the little ones, but ask guests to BYOB (bring your own beer or beverage). That way you don’t have to worry about providing enough variety to make sure you have something for everyone.
- Paper products. This is the perfect time to make it easy and use paper plates and disposable utensils. When all of the fun is happening outdoors, no one wants to be stuck inside on dish duty. If you want to be more environmentally friendly, invest in some melamine dishware you can use year after year.
- Organized fun. It always helps to have activities available for kids and adults alike. Set out cornhole boards and bags, bottles of bubbles, and a bin of balls (soccer, basketball, baseball) and encourage guests to help themselves to an outdoor activity. If it’s really hot and you think your guests would be game, set out a bucket of water balloons, have loaded squirt guns at the ready and turn on a fun sprinkler to keep everyone cool.
Because we’re all about being simple this summer, we wanted to share a few easy recipes if you need to whip up something quick for your next cookout.
1. Fruit kabobs
Summer fruits: watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, pineapple; Skewers
Cut fruit into bite size pieces.
Slide onto skewers in fun patterns.
Chill in fridge for an hour or more before serving.
Fresh broccoli (3-4 crowns, depending on the size of gathering)
4-5 strips of Bacon
Wash and cut broccoli into bite size pieces, removing stems. Place in a bowl.
Crumble 4-5 strips of bacon.
Add ⅔ cup of your favorite ranch dressing.
Toss all ingredients together, adding more ranch if desired.
Chill in fridge an hour or more before serving
3. Ice Cream Cake
1 box of store bought ice cream sandwiches. (We prefer the mini ice cream sandwiches, but regular size works just as well)
1 jar of hot fudge sauce
1 container of Cool- Whip (can use regular, low fat or fat free – your choice)
Unwrap 8 mini ice cream sandwiches and place in a glass baking dish, completely covering the bottom.
Pour hot fudge sauce over ice cream sandwiches. Spread with a knife to make sure all sandwiches are covered.
Unwrap remaining ice cream sandwiches and place on top of hot fudge.
Spread Cool-Whip on top of second layer of ice cream sandwiches.
Before serving, pull out of freezer and let stand 15-20 minutes before cutting into slices. Enjoy!