10 Summer dinner party ideas and recipes

SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, TENERIFE ISLAND, SPAIN - 2020/02/23: Different kind of sausages, steaks and pepper are displayed on a big barbecue. (Photo by Frank Bienewald/LightRocket via Getty Images)
SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, TENERIFE ISLAND, SPAIN - 2020/02/23: Different kind of sausages, steaks and pepper are displayed on a big barbecue. (Photo by Frank Bienewald/LightRocket via Getty Images) /

There are a few weeks left to the summer season, and once they’re over, we may be able to look forward to an extended summer, if the early fall is warm enough that is.

During the hot summer months, you really don’t want to be slaving over a hot stove all day long, but you still want to eat well, so we decided to take a look at some recipes and ideas so you can eat and drink like kings and queens and don’t have to work too hard to do it.

Here are 10 food and drink ideas that’ll go a long way in keeping you out of the hot kitchen for the rest of the summer

Cucumber Gazpacho

I know cold soup is something that’s quite often complained about at the local eatery, but Gazpacho is nothing to lament about, trust me. The explosive flavor and refreshing sensation it brings is nothing short of spectacular and it hits the spot as the perfect appetizer for your next summer BBQ.

This particular recipe comes from Food and Wine and it’s the oh-so-perfect way to lead in to a grilling extravaganza.

How to do it: In a blender, blend 4 peeled and seeded cucumbers, 1 ½ cups of seedless green grapes, garlic clove, 2 teaspoons of white vinegar, 1 cup of water, salt to taste, until smooth.

This one goes great topped with cooked shrimp, or perhaps even diced cucumbers.

Grilled  Scallop and Shrimp w/ Oregano and Lime skewers

And speaking of shrimp, what BBQ is complete without some epic seafood skewers.

A variation of this recipe is available at Food and Wine, but we’ve kicked it up a notch and added beautiful sea scallops and the whole skewer idea, of course. What’s a BBQ without skewers?

For this recipe, skewer 3 tiger shrimp, 2 large size scallops and fresh bell pepper (all three colors if possible…colorful food is always a great idea at a summer BBQ). You should place the items in this order: Shrimp, pepper, scallop, shrimp, pepper, scallop, shrimp.

You can add onion if desired.

Marinate the shrimp in olive oil, lime juice, salt, black pepper, diced garlic and oregano. Lemon thyme would also be epic here. So grill your little hearts out, dear readers. Just be sure to make a bunch of these, as they’ll definitely go fast.

Lentil, Carrot and Pork Burgers on grilled English Muffins served with grilled paprika, garlic and E.V.O.O. corn on the cob

The classic burger and fries can often hit the spot, but variations are always welcome. As they say, variety is definitely the spice of life.

So if you’re tired of beef burgers full of grease and fries on the side, try this one out at your next BBQ (Makes 10):

For the patties: Mix 3 lbs of lean pork meat, diced onion and carrot, 1 can of rinsed lentils, 1 whole egg and 3 whites only, grated parmesan cheese, salt, black pepper, diced fresh parsley, 1 cup of grated whole grain bread, 1 cup of skim milk.

Form the blend into patties and get ready to grill, partners.

For the corn, mix olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, salt and black pepper. Rub the corn and place it over the grill, being sure to turn it over as it sizzles atop the hot flames.

Mixed Sausage grill-up w/ grilled peppers and eggplant

This is one that’s as simple as grilling up hot dogs. Of course it’s a tad healthier and more elegant than hot dogs, but just as simple.

For the sausage, you’ll need an assortment of sausages, and these days there are a zillion types to choose from, so go nuts.

For the peppers and eggplant, slice the peppers and eggplant in large strips. For the eggplant, you’ll need to salt it and set it aside, as it’ll remove some of the bitterness known to be in eggplants when eaten in such a fashion.

Grill them and once you get that beautiful char and tenderness in the veggies, set them aside and dress them with a store-bought (Kraft is great) Italian salad dressing to make things even easier.

Add some fresh Ciabatta bread and you’ve got yourself a wonderful sausage, pepper and eggplant Panini feast worthy of a church blowout down in Little Italy.

Grilled Pizza

Who says you can’t enjoy making pizza in the summer?

This one comes from Chef Michael Smith—a variation of it, at least—and is an ingenious way of making pizza on the grill.

Check out other epic Michael Smith grilling recipes…

For the pizza, you’ll need: 1 ball of store-bought pizza dough, cut in half, ¼ cup of pesto, 8 slices regular mozzarella, 8 slices of buffalo, 2 tomatoes, sliced thinly, 3 Tbsp olive oil, 3 Tbsp of garlic infused oil, ½ cup of feta cheese, Freshly ground pepper, Kosher salt.

Steps necessary:

1. You’ll want to preheat the grill.

2. Stretch and pull the dough ball until round (or as round as you can get it), oil only 1 side of the dough, putting that side down onto the grill. After 2 minutes (it should have risen a bit by this point). Brush the top with oil and flip. Spread the grilled side with pesto, diced tomato and garlic, adding mozzarella and feta. Add salt and pepper. Continue grilling, and when the toppings are heated through and the bottom of the crust is cooked, you’re good to go.

No-Bake Maraschino Cherry/Ricotta Cheesecake

And what of dessert?

Wasn’t it Marie Antoinette that said: “Let them eat cake.” And boy, will your guests want to, especially if you serve cheesecake.

But do you really want to slave over it…have the oven going  all that time, releasing nothing but heat?

Well…what if we told you that you could make a cheesecake but didn’t have to bake it? Would you be in?

Well, you can thank your lucky stars that you stumbled across Guilty Eats, because we’ve got you, dear readers. We’ve got you.

Purchase a store-bought graham cracker pie crust, and you’re good to go. It won’t require baking. Just shove it in the fridge and grab it when you’re ready to go.

For the filling you’ll need:

1 ½ pounds of reduced fat ricotta cheese, ¼ cup of honey, the zest of one lime, 1 pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon of sugar.

Fold all of the ingredients gently and place into the pie crust.

For the topping, you’ll need to rinse some maraschino cherries and let them dry beforehand. Once dry, slice them in two and top the cake with the cherries and a sprinkling of granulated sugar.

Chill and serve.

Easy Key Lime Pie w/ Sweetened Condensed Milk

I remember cooking at a company BBQ in a cafeteria I worked at during my days as a cook. The chef had ordered 12 pecan pies for dessert. In a moment very reminiscent of Vatel cooking for Louis the XIV, the order did not come in.

He wasn’t much of a baker, and he looked to me.

I remember, earlier that day, seeing a heck of a lot of condensed milk in the pantry that we never used, and a heck of a lot of limes in the walk-in, so I said: “I’ve got a fast recipe for key lime pie.”

“Go…” he said. “I’ll serve the rest of that grilled chicken.”

I rushed to the kitchen, and as I watched my chef through the picturesque window that showed a view of the company BBQ, I got started.

I ended up making 14 pies altogether. That recipe saved our bacon that day and I’ll never forget it.

Try it out at your next BBQ, in a much smaller scale of course. I doubt you’ll need 14.

You can use a store-bought graham cracker crust for this one too.

For the mixture, combine the zest of one lime with three egg yolks and whisk. Add 2 cups of sweetened condensed milk, and ½ a cup of lime juice and whisk. Pour into the crust and bake on 325 until solid. You can test it with a toothpick.

Top with whipped cream and slices of lime.

Yes, you’ll have to have the oven running for a bit, but while it bakes, how about a cocktail on the balcony? Just be sure to check on the pies.

Watermelon Cake

This was an epic video I stumbled upon on YouTube. Really ingenious and the credit most definitely belongs to Tran DTV. You should check her channel out here: Tran DTV

Really, the sky is the limit with watermelon. You can carve it, hollow it out, balling the melon interior and filling it with fruit salad. Watermelon is always a hit at parties for sure; especially BBQs.

“Has anyone seen Shandy?” Beer, lemon and soda cocktails

Did someone mention cocktails a few entries ago? Oh yeah… I think I did.

Cocktails are the perfect book end for the great summer BBQ. You can have pre-dinner drinks and finish the night drinking by the campfire singing old Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chili Peppers songs, that’s if Joey remembered to bring his guitar that is….

This one’s easy, folks: Beer, lemon lime soda (diet if you’re watching the old waistline) and slices of lemon and lots of ice. For ultimate taste, the soda and beer should be equal parts.

Cranberry, red wine, white rum and lemon-lime soda punch

It’s all in the title, really and in the summer, heavy tasting alcoholic beverages aren’t always the best idea; especially after a heavy meal. But this one helps with the digestion and it’ll help stay in key when you try to reach the high notes in those Pear Jam songs we talked about earlier. Or at least you’ll think you’re hitting the high notes. If your friends are nice, they’ll let you believe it too.

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Try the recipes out, dear readers, and as always be careful when you’re grilling. Let us know how they go.