By Julie Hartigan of Cooking w/Julie

July 26, 2018

No Sweat Summer Entertaining Tips

Summer is such a fun time to host family and friends whether by the pool, at the beach, picnics, or just at home in your backyard. But with warm temps, the last thing you want to do is heat up your kitchen making party food! These easy tips and tricks will help you keep your cool and speed prep so you can kick back and relax with your guests.

 

♥ Summer Salads

With seasonal produce at its peak; vegetable and pasta salads are the perfect cold menu option. An easy way to make them more substantial as a main dish is to add some simple grilled chicken and a tart sharp cheese like crumbled Chevre, Pecorino, Moliterno, Manchego or Feta. Their bright flavor stands up well to vinaigrettes and pairs well with all kinds of veggies. Fresh summer fruit is also a delicious addition like halved grapes, sliced peaches, or diced watermelon.

♥ Chilled Soups

A fun and fresh menu idea that’s fast and simple to make – brightly flavored chilled soups like Gazpacho or Cucumber-Melon Soup are always a hit on hot days. If you have a food processor or blender they can be made in minutes! They’re also great to make the day before your party so flavors can meld and they can fully chill. Serve in small plastic cups topped with chopped fresh herbs, diced avocado, and crumbled goat cheese or feta for a pretty garnish.

♥ Room Temp Dishes

When the weather is steamy and you’ll be eating outside, it’s often best to skip hot dishes altogether (your guests won’t be in the mood for hot food either!) Summer Flatbread Pizzas are an easy option to make on the fly. Just lightly toast store bought flatbread, naan, or pocketless pitas in your toaster oven to crisp. Let cool to room temperature and then dollop with flavorful soft cheeses like Roquefort, Crottin, or a Soft-ripened Goat. Add slices of cured meat, olives, herbs, or even fresh fruit and cut into squares for everyone to snack on.

♥ Slow Cookers or Instant Pots

If you do want to make a heartier main dish don’t forget about your Slow Cooker or Instant Pot! Not only do they offer hands off cooking to make your life easier but they also won’t heat up your kitchen like the stove. Pulled Pork, Ribs, and Brisket for sliders are all classic summer options.

♥ No Bake Desserts

Last but not least, it’s time to think about sweet treats for your gathering! Skip firing up the oven and save the homemade brownies and cookies for another day. Ice Cream Sandwiches are always a hit and easy to make in a variety of flavors using cookies from the bakery and store bought ice cream. Get creative with flavor combinations like Chocolate-Mint-Chip, Gingerbread-Peach, or Oatmeal-Blueberry. Other no-bake ideas are a fruit salad with mint or no-bake cheesecake.

Finally, you can’t go wrong with a pretty summer cheeseboard for an elegant yet easy dessert option.
Check out our Top Tips for a Beautiful Summer CheeseBoard for inspiration!