Ah, summertime. Blissful days spent lounging by the beach or pool with a cool beverage in hand — and warm evenings spent trading in your usual “what restaurant should we go to” routine for the luxury of “grilling and chilling” in your own backyard.
Whether your summer backyard entertaining consists of casual hot dog-and- hamburger-barbeques with the family or gourmet fare at a summer soiree under white tents, there are some easy ways (and out-of-this-world summer recipes) to truly wow your guests this summer:
- Create a cozy summer “backyard oasis” . You don’t have to spend a lot of money to transform your backyard into a summer sanctuary. Hang some string lights around some trees to make your yard look extra-festive, and create a comfy environment with cushioned chairs and “mini seating areas” around your backyard (with umbrellas offering a shady retreat when the sun gets too strong.) When it comes to decorations, the simpler the better – trim the stems off some fresh-picked flowers from your garden and have them float in a pretty bowl to make centerpieces that will add some elegance, and a true summer feel, to your outdoor tables.
- Set up some unique “stations” around your yard. Encourage mingling – and show off some unique menu items – by scattering tables of different summer favorites throughout the yard. A sangria station (complete with lots of fresh fruit), a s’mores station – or literally any type of summer food or beverage showcased on its own – adds to the fun and festivity.
- “Grill and Chill” with some simple summer recipes. There’s a lot of magic you can make with your outdoor grill. Use your grill to add something truly unique to some of your favorite recipes. My favorite? My recipe for Grilled Bananas Foster – a long-time crowd-pleaser at my own backyard parties (and a simple way for you to show off your very own culinary skills!)
Grilled Bananas Foster
- Aluminum Foil
- 1 unpeeled Banana
- 1 tbs Butter
- 1 tbs Brown sugar
- 1 Dash Cinnamon
- 1 tbs Dark rum optional
- 1 tbs Banana liqueur optional
- 1 scoop Vanilla Ice Cream Salted Caramel Ice Cream works well too!
- Chocolate Sauce optional
- Preheat outdoor grill.
- Place 2- 14-inch pieces of foil on top of one another.
- On a cutting board, place the unpeeled banana; curve up, and slightly trim the top of the stem off. With a sharp knife; slightly cut lengthwise through the inside curve of the banana peel, from stem to end. Be sure not to cut entirely through to the bottom peel; just through the fruit part. Slightly split apart the banana peel and expose the fruit; there should be a split into the banana fruit too.
- Place the banana in the center of the foil pieces. Mix brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stuff the butter and brown sugar mixture into the bananas making sure you cover the inside of the fruit; top with the optional rum or banana liquor.
- Bring up foil sides, double fold top and ends to tightly seal packet and prevent the liquid from draining out of the bottom of the foil pouch.
- Place the banana foil pack onto the heated grill; grill for approximately 20 minutes (or until the banana is hot and the sugar is melted), turning packet over halfway through cook time.
- When done, remove from heat and carefully open the foil pack; unwrap the peel to expose the fruit. Top with Vanilla Ice Cream and spoon leftover sauce from the packet over bananas. Chocolate Sauce is optional.
Happy Summer! And happy summer entertaining – to both you and your lucky guests!