Lounging poolside under a colorful umbrella, sipping an icy cold glass of ginseng-mint-sun tea with fruit-filled ice cubes — it’s summer and time for backyard cookouts. Invite friends and family over for a leisurely cookout where you can while away the afternoon with tasty food, sweet confections and great company. Show off your excellent culinary and grilling skills by planning a summertime soiree.
As guests mingle and sip on a refreshing beverage, provide plenty of seating options or quilts for lounging on the lawn. The juiciest conversations at cookouts also happen while standing around the grill and watching the main course cook. Try to place the grill in an open area that invites wandering guests to take a peak or strike up a conversation with the chef.
Your feast should include a main course, two or three side dishes, a sweet finale and kid-friendly foods. Fresh fish and seafood are perfect for stepping outside traditional grilling. Even tuna, shark and salmon make wonderful, sumptuous primary courses. Impress your guests with Guy Fieri’s Grilled Tequila Lime Fish Tacos, featured on “Guy’s Big Bites.” Marinated in tequila and topped with cilantro lime crema, the delicate mahi mahi tacos melt in the mouth and burst with subtle flavor. The combination of cumin, crunchy cabbage, crumbled Cotija cheese and hot sauce add texture and taste to delight the palate.
Provide slices of limes and lemon, salsa, crumbled cheese, grated lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and diced green onion tops for people who want to customize their tacos. And no taco cookout is complete without chips and salsa. Toss these ingredients together for a homemade salsa and refrigerate overnight.
- 5-6 Roma Tomatoes (chopped)
- 1 small onion (diced)
- ½ cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
- 2 minced Serrano or jalapeño peppers (chopped and seeded)
- 1 clove diced garlic
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Salt and Pepper
For more cookout ideas and themes, check out “Grilling Central” on FoodNetwork.com to get creative! Or check out DirectSpecialTV.com for cable upgrades so you’ll never miss star chefs Guy Fieri’s or Rachael Ray’s latest and hottest dishes.
Colorful Side Kicks
Go for colorful veggies and fruits. Vine-ripened tomatoes, dark green cucumbers and sweet yellow corn provide vibrant and nutritious side dishes. Complement Fieri’s fish tacos with Rachael Ray’s Raw Corn Salad. The zesty lime flavor with a spicy hot green chili kick will have guests coming back for seconds and thirds.
Cut a watermelon in half lengthwise to make a fun and festive watermelon tub. Scoop out all the melon with a small melon scoop. Toss the melon balls inside with a variety of fresh fruits, including casaba melons, pineapple cubes, strawberries, cantaloupe, mango slices and papaya. Serve your fresh fruit in the melon shell for a beautiful and fun twist on the traditional fruit salad.
Keep color in your desserts as well. Grilled fruit burritos and fresh fruit tarts are easy to make and fun to eat. Dana Treat blogs about her delicious Strawberry Tart dessert that bursts with tangy sweetness. The Sweet Shortcrust Pastry and smooth, tart filling will satisfy the sweet tooth of all your guests.