Summer entertaining is such an exciting part of the season. However, throwing a great BBQ takes a lot of time and energy. Planning the menu and purchasing supplies is only half the battle. Keep these tips in mind for your next summer gathering.
Keep the Kids (and Teens) Entertained
Sometimes it’s difficult to keep an eye on your kids, their cousins, and their friends while you’re trying to prep, cook, clean, and socialize a little. Give the kids a project that keeps them preoccupied but doesn’t make a huge mess. Small arts and crafts can keep the kids calm. Decorating sugar cookies or cupcakes is a fun task for kids with yummy results. There are also a lot of popcorn recipes that are easy to make with children. If you have a few teenagers around, ask them to facilitate the “cooking” process and take care of anything that requires cutting or using an oven.
Variation is Key
Make sure there is something for everyone. If you’re expecting a few vegetarians to attend, be sure to have a few veggie patties or Portobello mushrooms ready. Always assume that some people will ask for healthier alternatives, so in addition to the beef burgers and chicken wings, you should have grilled chicken available as well.
Try Unconventional Recipes
Impress your guests with untraditional dishes. Traditional dishes like burgers, hot dogs, and potato salad are good and fine, but offer a few entrees that interesting, delicious, and still practical for a BBQ. For example, offer your guests a hummus plate with crisp vegetables and toasted pita bread; or serve chips with a chunky chili cheese dip instead of ranch.
Always Have A Backup
You never know when something could go wrong, whether someone forgets to bring dessert or you run out of cups. If you have the space in your freezer, try to keep a few staple items around through the summer like extra ground beef, frozen pies, and disposable dinnerware. You may not be able to predict when something goes wrong, but you can always be prepared for it.
Decorations and themed dishes will add to any celebration, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend tons of money each time. There are tons of crafty ways to decorate your home and backyard for BBQs and summer dinner parties. Use Christmas tree lights to decorate your deck or backyard area. Rese mason jars to create fun and interesting lighting, or spray paint beer bottles to create small vases for tables; the possibilities are endless. Pinterest is an excellent place to start, but there are tons of DIY blogs that give step by step guides through different projects.
Author Bio: Brittany writes about frugal living and family dinner ideas on behalf of Wolf Brand Chili. For more summer grilling ideas or recipes with chili, visit www.wolfbrandchili.com.