Summer Entertaining Ideas
Summer get togethers are perfect occasion to show off your culinary skills. Spice
up your summer and impress your friends with these cool recipes.
Backyard Taco Bar
(Serves 10 to 12)
Taco bars bring people together while encouraging personal creativity.
- 1 flank steak (about 2 lbs.)
- 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or breasts and thighs
- 2 lbs. large raw shrimp
- 36 corn tortillas
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. ground cumin
- 1/4 cup minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
- 3 tsp. Serrano chile, minced, or 1/2 tsp. Tabasco®
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup cilantro, minced
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- Grated cheeses (Jack, cheddar, Manchego)
- Iceberg lettuce, sliced
- Red onion, chopped
- Sour cream
- Your favorite salsas (red and green)
- Pickled chilies
- Combine all marinade ingredients in a large bowl.
- Put beef, chicken and shrimp into individual, large re-sealable bags or plastic containers. Add marinade to cover to each container and marinate according to the following schedule: Flank steak: 3 to 4 hours in the refrigerator; chicken, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours in the refrigerator; shrimp, 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature.
- Cook meats on a medium-hot grill, starting with flank steak, which will take about 20 minutes to grill. Then add the chicken, which will take about 12 minutes. And finally the shrimp, which will take 5 to 6 minutes. (With this schedule, they should all come off the grill around the same time.)
- Meanwhile, set up the taco bar with all of the great additions, including warm tortillas wrapped in a clean dishtowel.
- Slice the flank steak and chicken into thin slices and place them in individual plates or bowls alongside the shrimp at one end of your taco buffet line.
Grilled Fruit Dessert
Grilling fruit, often with the addition of a little sugar or honey, is one of the easiest, most delicious ways to enjoy the bounty of fruit that summer brings.
- Peel and cut into long wedges.
- Toss with a glaze of melted butter, brown sugar, and a pinch of ginger.
- Grill for 4 to 5 minutes per side, until you have nice grill marks.
- Serve with a sprinkle of toasted coconut or coconut ice cream.
- Brush with melted butter and brown sugar and a pinch of salt.
- Cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side.
- Serve over vanilla ice cream with toasted almonds.
Apricots and nectarines can be cooked in the same fashion as peaches, though apricots are easiest if they’re skewered before grilling.
Cool Salad Menus
Serve a salad buffet for supper. Salads let you stretch the more expensive ingredients in a party menu while delivering fantastic flavors to your table. And salads are just so perfect for summer entertaining - cool, fresh, and light.
Winning Salad Combinations
- Cooked rice with grilled shrimp and grilled peaches, Honey Vinaigrette
- Spring green mix with oranges, almonds, and Sam’s Club® Roasted Chicken. Poppy seed dressing.
- Italian Cobb: cooked rotelli or orecchiette pasta, diced salami, diced mozzarella, tomatoes, red onion, fresh basil, and Italian vinaigrette.
- Warm potato salad with crispy bacon and green onions.
Sam’s Club Roasted Chicken Salad
In today’s economy, potluck parties have become a popular solution for casual entertaining. The secret: create a theme that will tie the menu together and make it easy for your guests to contribute. You provide the basics.
- Mexican Menu: You make enchiladas or tostadas and your guests can bring their favorite sides. Cap the meal off with vanilla ice cream with Kahlua and shaved Mexican chocolate.
- A Festival of Burgers: Friends bring their favorite patties—from salmon, to lamb, turkey or beef. You provide all of the toppings, great buns, a salad and beverages.
- Chili Cook-off: Invite several friends to bring a small batch of their favorite chili (which could even be a purchased chili they’ve doctored up). You make a batch of your chili and cornbread. Ask someone else to bring dessert or beverages. Set up all of the chilies on a table and let guests do a “blind tasting” and vote for favorites. Kind of like the county fair pie competition, this can be lots of fun!
Taco Bar (see ideas for Summer Entertaining.) Divvy up the preparation of the different main ingredients or toppings. Ask someone to bring Mexican beer or a salad.
4 Easy Summer Snacks
- Frozen Grapes: Freeze individual grapes on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, put 10 or 20 into individual bags to pull out for an instant treat. Kids love these.
- Strawberry Dip: In the blender, combine 1, 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, 1 cup chopped strawberries, 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 3 Tbsp. honey. Puree until smooth. Top with fresh basil or mint leaves. Serve this with slices of peach, banana, apples and grapes for dipping.
- Fruit Popsicles: (Makes 6 to 8) Combine 1 cup pineapple juice, 1/2 cup frozen lemonade concentrate, 1 1/2 cup pineapple chunks. Puree in the blender. Pour into paper drinking cups or popsicle molds. Place in freezer and let set until nearly firm. Insert sticks and let harden. Wrap individually in plastic wrap.
- Tip: it’s pretty to put one pitted cherry or cube of fruit in the bottom of each cup.
- Nacho Popcorn: Toss 10 cups popped popcorn with 3 Tbsp. melted butter. Add 1/2 tsp. chili powder, 1 tsp. paprika, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. ground coriander and 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Toss well to coat.