If I have a choice, I’d rather have dinner at home rather than head out to a restaurant. The challenge is being able to get it all done with the time you have after work, so in reality you have a lot of work to do in advance. Here are some ideas for a casual BBQ on a work-night.
It’s important to have one cocktail that stands our special to the night you are having your dinner, or as we call it, the specialty cocktail. Follow the drink with some dibbles during cocktails, a salad, easy entree and a dessert made by someone else. We do these dinners three nights during the work week so we have it down to a science.
Here is the LPB approach:
First impressions count so start off the night by greeting your guests with a cool and refreshing Frozen Vodka with Basil cocktail.
This is an easy to make drink that requires little work- just basil, ice, lemonade and vodka. In addition to the drinks, make sure the music is on, table is set, and some small bites are out so your guests can feel at home. Our goal is to make sure each event is relaxing, fun and enjoyable for everyone who comes.
Greet them with Food
One quick snack during cocktail hour is the highly addictive Judy’s Hidden Valley Crackers that you can put out by the bar and watch them disappear. In addition to having the crackers around to munch on it’s good to have a crispy healthy treat out so I turn to Sugar Snap Peas and Feta Dip for guests to snack on. When there is a critical mass I just make the crispy shrimp from our Crispy Shrimp Tacos recipe and serve them with a Spicy Blue Cheese Dip with Cilantro.
Get Dinner Rolling at a Decent Time
We like to have a salad that has a big flavor and when it’s summer weather but the tomatoes have not ripened, turn to grape/ cherry variety with fresh herbs, red onion and hot-house cucumbers with a Cucumber Dill Salad. A little feta does not hurt either.
We serve family style so I split the salads into two bowls so guests can just pass it down the table. Other starters to think about: Spinach, mushroom, pancetta, parmesan salad, Gazpacho, Summer Pasta Salad or Tortellini Salad with Feta Dressing.
Since time is of the essence and you want to do a lot of the prep-work in the morning or even the night before, turn to our old favorite, the Marinated Grilled Chicken & Steak which is our go-to all summer long. All you have to do is marinate it and 15 minutes before the main course is to be served, grill it, let it rest, then slice and serve. If you are not up for this marinade then think about some of these other recipes as options: Lamb Kaftas, Grilled Lemon Chicken Breasts, Lobster Rolls, Grilled Pesto Shrimp, or 🌭 Hot Dogs & Cabernet 🍷.
A real treat to accompany many summer BBQ dishes is the LPB Mini Once Baked, Once Fried Potatoes which can be baked in the morning and left to cool. When you get home, finish off the recipe in 3o minutes or so and you will have an excellent, flavorful co-pilot to your main dish. Even though some don’t like gnawing on the cob in front of others, I am a big fan of serving the very tasty Grilled Mustard Corn 🌽 .
A great way to end a dinner is to let someone else make the dessert. When we are doing dinners in Washington, DC, there is one answer and it’s a cake from Sweet Teensy. If you are not nearby, then make some cookies and serve fresh from the oven with a scoop of ice cream.