Summer Entertaining Made Easy

Infused water with watermelons, red currants and mint in a pitcher

 

There’s nothing like gorgeous sunshine and a nice breeze to lift your mood! It’s great to get out and enjoy beautiful weather and even more fun when you can entertain your friends & family.  When you invite people over, you want to them to know that you made things special for them, but you don’t want to spend all day cooking & prepping for it.  I’m all about finding quick and easy ways to make easy dishes that look like you spent all day…without the time or fuss.  I’m going to share some of my secrets with you so that you can make the most out of your summer entertaining.

Appetizers:

Everyone loves tortilla chips with salsa.  Try stepping it up a little by making a fresh salsa or mix together 50/50 salsa and sour cream for a fresh dip.  If your dinner is a heavier one, you might want to serve some fresh fruit or veggies.  Don’t just buy a veggie tray, open the lid and call it good.  Think of a creative way to display your fruit or veggies.  You can still buy the veggie tray…just serve them in something that you wouldn’t normally serve them in.  Clear glass cylinders in different shapes and sizes can work great for this.

Entrees:

Grill. Grill. Grill.  It’s summer, take advantage and cook outside.  It is a healthy way to cook, everyone loves grilled entrees, and it cuts cleaning time down immensely.  Lawry’s makes a great 30-minute marinade that is made for “steak & chops”, however we use it on chicken in addition to the steak & chops and it’s great.  It’s great for when you don’t have much time.  Italian dressing makes a great marinade for chicken as well as shrimp.  Grilling shrimp skewers are so quick and easy, but yet usually an expected treat for your guests.  Try mixing it up a little and grilling kabobs.  Put all of your meat and vegetable options out and everyone can make their own kabobs customized to your own preferences.

Side Dishes & Salads:

Take the side dishes that you make all of the time, and just change them up a little for a new twist.  For example try adding a little garlic to your potato salad or use ranch dressing instead of Italian for your pasta salad.  If you try the ranch pasta salad, consider adding green pepper, grape tomatoes, & some mozzarella cheese to the pasta.

Desserts:

A staple in my house as far as desserts is a simple vanilla custard that you can whip up quickly.  You can take a boxed cake mix and turn it in to a nice dessert in no time.  All that you need is a large box of instant vanilla pudding, 2 2/3 cup cold milk, and 8 oz of cream cheese.  Soften the cream cheese, and then add the pudding mix & cold milk, and blend until smooth.  Once you have that made, you can add it to layers of devils food or yellow cake mix, cool whip, and berries, crushed candy bars, etc. for a fun trifle.

Beverages:

Never serve boring drinks in the summer (or any time, really!)  Thinking outside the box is easy here.  Adding different fruit to your ice water can change the taste of the drink drastically.  Watermelon is a great option in addition to the traditional lemons & limes.  A sprig of mint is a great option as well.  The pitcher above is a combination of watermelon, red currants and mint! It’s a delicious and refreshing combination!

The goal is for your guests and even your family to walk away thinking that you fussed even though in reality, it was easy to entertain.  The best part is you were able to enjoy the time with your friends and family.  Let Pinterest be your friend, get creative & have fun!

Written by Julie Hess

By night, Julie Hess is a party planner, caterer, and all around Hostess Extraordinaire.  During the day, she can be found in the HR department at Master Spas.  

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