BBQ 101: The Complete Guide to Your Summer Outdoor Entertaining

School’s ending and those summer feelings are starting to hit us… hard! We’re so ready for the warmer weather and all the outdoor entertaining over the next few months. It’s easy to fall into the same routine with your outdoor activities, which is totally fine, but sometimes it’s fun to switch things up and try something new. In the spirit of trying something new, we’re sharing our favorite ways to switch up your summer barbeque for you to try this year.

Food

If you’re hosting a BBQ, it’s pretty much assumed that there’s going to be grilling going on. While we love the classic combo of burgers and dogs, there are tons of other great meal options you can test out, too. Try some smokey ribs, or grilled shrimp! We love having a variety of sides too. Whip up some pasta salads, a nice garden salad, some corn on the cob and baked beans. Depending on the size of your crowd, make it into a potluck and have everyone bring their favorite summer side dish to take some of the burden off of yourself.

Entertainment

It’s not all about the food, you need activities too! We loooove activities. There are so many things you can do, even if you’re confined to a smaller space. We love yard games. Things like corn hole and ladder toss are classic favorites. Or go old school and throw around the football or frisbee. If you have plenty of space, play a little game of wiffle ball! There are so many options when it comes to the great outdoors. If you have a fire pit, get that fire started around dinner time. Not only does it give off some great ambiance, but who doesn’t love making some s’mores?!

Setting

An outdoor backyard event can still be set nicely. Maybe you don’t want to go all out with table linens, which is totally fine, and you can still set a nice spread without them! How about an upscale picnic feel? Set up some blankets in a general eating area for your guests to lounge on while they chat and eat that delicious food you’ve worked so hard on.

Summer Date Night - Shrimp Scampi Zoodles

The spirit of summer is all about having fun and adventuring, whether it be trying a new activity, testing out the latest fashion trends, or experimenting with new foods. Instead of opting for plain pasta, try a healthier alternative with one our favorite shrimp scampi recipes with zoodles- perfect for any summer date night!

Image and Recipe Credit:  Food Network

Image and Recipe Credit: Food Network

 
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into cubes
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium peeled and deveined shrimp, tails removed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 cups zucchini noodles, from 2 medium zucchinis (about 1 pound)  
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
 
IMG_20170711_194952.jpg

Step 1: Heat your butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat.

Step 2: Once the butter has melted, add in garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir the mix until it’s fragrant and the garlic becomes a light golden color (this should take around 2 minutes).

Step 3: Next pour in the wine and lemon zest and cook until the alcohol smell is gone and the sauce turns to a nice golden color (around 4 to 5 minutes).

Step 4: Add in the shrimp, ½ teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Stir frequently for about 3 minutes or until the shrimp start to turn pink on the outside, but are still translucent on the inside.

Step 5: Stir in zoodles until they are coated with the sauce and begin to wilt slightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 6: Transfer into a serving bowl and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with parsley.

Step 7: Serve and enjoy!

Note: Recipe takes about 30 minutes and serves 4.  The fastest and easiest way to make zoodles is to use a vegetable spiralizer. Although some can be pricey, there are many more affordable options available on sites like amazon and trust us, you won’t regret buying one!

 

 

 

Fun Twist on the Classic S'more

Image Credit:  bippityboppityboo

Image Credit: bippityboppityboo

What’s more fun than sitting around the bonfire in the warm, summer nights and roasting some yummy marshmallows?! Even though we love the classic campfire treat, there’s a variety of different desserts that put a spin on the beloved s’mores! You can make mouthwatering s’mores cupcakes topped with a marshmallow frosting and graham cracker crumbs, or gooey s’mores bars! Here’s one of our favorite s’mores twists – S’mores Dip! 

Image credit:  Five Heart Home

Image credit: Five Heart Home

  • ½ tbsp. butter 
  • 1 ½ cup chocolate chips 
  • 15 jumbo marshmallows, halved 
  • graham cracker squares 
  1. Place a skillet in the oven and preheat oven to 450° (with skillet inside). 
  2. Once oven is preheated, remove skillet and coat it with butter. 
  3. Pour chocolate chips into the bottom of the skillet.
  4. Arrange marshmallow halves over the chocolate chips, covering the chocolate completely. 
  5. Back 5-7 mins or until marshmallows are perfectly toasty! 
  6. Serve immediately with graham cracker squares 

Summer Kick-Off BBQ

IMAGE COURTESY OF: SOCIAL VENTURE PARTNERS

IMAGE COURTESY OF: SOCIAL VENTURE PARTNERS

The warm summer sun, the sound of laughter from friends and family, and most importantly…the smell of fresh BBQ food! That’s right – it’s the summer kick-off BBQ! Nothing says “summer” like a fun BBQ cookout! Decorate your backyard with tables and stringed lights, make some fun cocktails, and dig in. Here are our favorite BBQ recipes for you to try this summer. Fire up the grill and enjoy!

IMAGE COURTESY OF: YOUR LIGHTER SIDE

IMAGE COURTESY OF: YOUR LIGHTER SIDE

IMAGE COURTESY OF: SEEDED AT THE TABLE

IMAGE COURTESY OF: SEEDED AT THE TABLE

Ingredients:
6 whole jalapeño peppers
6 oz. cream cheese
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 ½ oz. shredded cheddar cheese
12 slices bacon

Directions:
Cut off the jalapeño stems and cut in half lengthwise. Scrape out seeds and membranes.
Combine cream cheese, garlic powder, and cheddar cheese in a bowl. Stuff mixture into the jalapeño halves.
Wrap each jalapeño completely with bacon and secure with toothpicks.
Grill jalapeños cut side down until bacon is crisp (6 mins). Flip peppers over and cook an additional 10-12 mins. Serve and enjoy!

IMAGE COURTESY OF: CLOSET COOKING

IMAGE COURTESY OF: CLOSET COOKING

Ingredients:
4 (6 oz.) boneless chicken breasts
½ cup balsamic vinaigrette
8 oz. fresh mozzarella ball, sliced
1 ripe tomato, sliced
¼ cup basil, sliced
¼ cup balsamic reduction

Directions:
Marinate the chicken in the balsamic vinaigrette overnight
Grill the chicken until cooked and slightly charred, 2-4 mins per side before topping with mozzarella and tomato (keep on grill until cheese starts to melt a little)
Serve topped with the basil and balsamic reduction

National Chocolate Ice Cream Day

Image courtesy of: Life a Little Brighter

Image courtesy of: Life a Little Brighter

June 7th is one of the most important holidays this year that combines two of our favorite things: chocolate and ice cream. That’s right, it’s National Chocolate Ice Cream Day! What more perfect way to spend this summer day than to sit back in the sun and enjoy an icy treat in a cone or in a cup topped with an endless amount of your favorite toppings? To celebrate, here’s a tasty recipe you can easily make at home!

Ingredients:
2 frozen bananas
½ cup cocoa powder
1 cup milk (can substitute for almond milk)
½ cup chocolate chips

Instructions:
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth
Pour contents into a freezer-safe container until solid
Scoop into bowls or cones, and top with your favorite toppings! Yum!

Memorial Day Inspiration Board

Happy Memorial Day weekend! Going into this holiday, it’s important to remember and honor those who have fought for our country. With that in mind, it’s also a day full of great American spirit! Enjoy the outdoors with a cookout, fun games, and great food surrounded by your family and friends!