My favorite part about summer? Going to BBQ’s! And even better? When someone else hosts the barbeque and I can focus on creating one amazing dish to contribute to the fete. But here’s my secret…I only make easy dishes that look like I was slaving away in the kitchen all day. It fools them EVERY SINGLE TIME. And I figure if I keep bringing the best dishes to a BBQ, I won’t have to host a party any time soon. Want in on my secret? Here is my collection of the best dishes to bring to a BBQ.
Slice watermelon at least two inches thick. Use any type of cookie cutter you desire to make watermelon cut outs. Place each piece of fruit on a stick, and pop into the freezer to harden a bit. Stars are a popular shape, or you can go the flower route as well. Either way, it is easy, simple and delicious.
Looking for a savory kabob to go with the sweet watermelon one? Simple! Create a BLT on a stick. Chop tomato, lettuce and bacon into bite size chunks and then string them onto the kabob. The bacon will be a little bit tricky, so make sure you under cook it a bit so that it isn’t too crispy to skewer. Finally, top the kabob off with a drizzle of acid, whether from balsamic vinegar or fresh lemon juice, and some finishing salt.
Get ready for the best five minute salsa imaginable. Seriously, it’s so easy and people will think that you spent hours slaving in the kitchen. Roughly chop 3 cloves of garlic and one jalapeno pepper (you can take out seeds if you want the salsa to be more mild). Blend them together using a food processor, blender, or my favorite—the Magic Bullet. Next, add one can of tomatoes, one handful of cilantro, salt and pepper, and the juice of one lime. Puree again. Grab some chips and enjoy!
If you ask me, it isn’t really summer until I have a vat of cucumber salad chilling in the fridge. It is the perfect side dish for anything and everything and will undoubtedly be a stand out at your next BBQ. To make this mouth watering classic, thinly slice three cucumbers and arrange them in a colander. Heavily season the cucumbers with salt and try to get the water to drain out of the cucumbers by pressing down with a paper towel (the salt will dry them out) and letting them marinate for at least one hour. While the cucumbers are brining, mix together the vinaigrette:
¼ cup vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup water
1 tsp dill
½ tsp pepper
½ cup diced red onion
Coat the drained cucumbers in the vinaigrette and chill before serving. The flavors enhance the more the cucumbers marinate, so chill overnight if possible for the best flavor.
Grilled Potato Salad
You will see a ton of different types of potato salads at a BBQ, but I guarantee that my grilled potato salad will stand out. Why? Because it is simple and fresh without heavy cream or dressing that makes you feel guilty after eating. Simply slice up 1 pound of potatoes and coat with salt, pepper, and olive oil before grilling. While grilling, try your best to get beautiful grill marks on your potatoes (bonus points for criss cross grill marks!). Once cooked, add the potatoes into a shallow pan and season with fresh herbs (rosemary and thyme are a favorite), 1/4 cup minced garlic, and 1/2 cup of herb vinaigrette (just pick a favorite from your local grocery store) while the potatoes are still warm. Finally, finish off with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Ready for the easiest and most delicious cake ever? Mix together one package of yellow cake mix, 3 eggs, 4 packages of pistachio flavored pudding, 1 cup of water and 1 cup of vegetable oil. Bake for 1 hour at 400 degrees in a well greased Bundt pan. Decorate with powdered sugar and serve with fresh berries. While BBQs are typically filled with cookies and brownies, this unique and bright green pistachio cake will definitely stand out for all the right reasons.
You can make this either with or without the alcohol—but I feel like with a nice bottle of pinot griot makes it even better!
1 Bottle of white wine
2 frozen juice canisters (any flavor you desire—I like a pineapple orange banana juice)
2 cups tonic water
1 cup fruit flavored vodka (the addition of peach or mango vodka adds such a great, fruity flavor)
½ cup grenadine
Chopped fruit for garnish (apples, oranges, peaches, etc)
One of the best parts about sangria is the soaked fruit, so be sure to prepare your sangria and chill it for at least two hours before serving.
Enjoy the barbecue and be sure to check out my other popular recipes for parties as well as easy weeknight meals.