There is nothing better than entertaining in the great outdoors.
A space that you don’t have to worry about cleaning, is always fully decorated, and has enough room for all your guests to stretch out and enjoy themselves.
It’s simply perfect!
During these few weeks and months between the budding & epic ollen explosion of spring and the hot & humid summer months still to come, my family and I have always loved to take the opportunity to have family and friends over for a little alfresco dining experience. Anything from a great, big grill-out in the backyard to an intimate, simple and understated coffee and dessert out on the porch.
The key to alfresco & other forms of outdoor entertaining is to make things that are simple, can be made in advance, and are absolutely delicious when served at room temperature.
Here are a few of my favorites ideas:
- Roasted Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce from Ina Garten — Who doesn’t love shrimp cocktail? It’s an old-fashioned, classic party food for a reason.
This recipe is a go-to around the holidays for our family. The roasted shrimp are so much more flavorful than boiled and they can easily be enjoyed warm or at room temperature. Plus, it’s ready in under 10 minutes!
- Melon Prosciutto & Mozzarella skewers – little skewers threaded with sweet cantaloupe, thinly sliced sections of prosciutto, and small mozzarella balls or cubes. Just assemble and serve!
*picture from www.runningtothekitchen.com.
A tiny drizzle of olive oil or balsamic vinegar would be great too!
- Chips n Salsa – because there is no one who doesn’t love it! The crispy, salty chips paired with spicy, tangy salsa keeps me coming back for more, and more, and more.
*picture from Add a Pinch, follow this link to her website for Restaurant style salsa recipe
I go crazy for restaurant-style chips n salsa, and so will you!
- Rosemary Roasted & Salted Cashews from the Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten
An absolute hit at any gathering!
- For something a tad sweeter, how about Chocolate-dipped Clementines sprinkled with sea salt? Your guests are sure to adore them!
*picture from www.thecomfortofcooking.com.
A very sophisticated and unexpected sweet treat.
But, one of my favorite make-ahead nibbles is salami chips with mustard dipping sauce. It couldn’t be simpler and everyone goes crazy for it!
1. Place your thinly sliced salami on a sheet tray and bake for 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees.
2. Remove from the oven onto a plate lined with paper towels to soak up any excess oil. Allow to cook completely. They will continue to crisp as they cool.
3. Serve at room temperature with homemade mustard dipping sauce. I make mine with 3 parts whole grain mustard, to 2 parts mayonnaise, and 1 part honey. And a dash of cayenne pepper if you are feeling so inclined… I was!
It’s the perfect spicy, sweet, and tangy mustard dip for these salami chips, but is also great spread on sandwiches or served on a cheese board with toast points and sharp cheddar cheese.
Your guests will gobble them up, so be sure to make a lot of them!
Have a great summer full of easy entertaining!