Sitting back and enjoying a gathering of friends and family, over a relaxed patio-dinner party, is how you should be spending these last summer days. Here are some easy ways to present a sensational outdoor meal or barbecue, cheaply.
Organizing the Appetizers
Try these suggestions from Better Homes & Gardens, such as “Tiered Appetizer Platters”, which work especially well for veggies or chips and dip, as well as for cheese and crackers. Don’t have a tiered platter? Try using a cake stand on top of a serving plate.
A simple “Repurposed Wire Caddy with Compartments” like this can hold condiments, silverware/plastic servers, or an assortment of breadsticks and olives as shown. Or an “Easy Appetizer Tray” when space is at a minimum, can be delivered outside easily, and then returned to the house in one trip, while creating room for the meal service.
Use a “Deep Tray with Ice” for keeping fruits or veggies cold during late-summer heat. Or simply display “Layered Fruits and Veggies Tray” for healthy snacking, and it will also double as an edible centerpiece with nuts, cheese, grapes, and lots of inviting colors.
Serving the Meal or Barbecue
“Add Color with Food” as in this make-it-yourself salad-bar serving platter at your next outdoor buffet. And use a series of trays to organize utensils, and serving dishes, as shown in “Meal on a Tray” serving this traditional tossed salad.
Why not “Serve Foods in Simple Containers” as in these metallic bread pans, with or without labels? Enlist family members to help fill them prior to guests arriving, and remember outdoor parties do not need to be fancy to be impressive or fun.
Serve unexpected grilled foods on a large platter, such as healthy, and inexpensive veggies with French bread, as in this “Grilled Zuchini Salad with Mozzarella and Dill”. Add some of these colorful “Grilled Baby Veggies with Arugula-Mint Pesto Sauce” alongside.
Grilled meat, fruit, and vegetable kabobs are not only the most cost effective party meal to serve, they can be prepared prior to grilling, and are beautifully displayed over rice, pasta, or alone on a platter like these “Spicy Shrimp and Sugar Snap Pea Kabobs”. If you don’t want to barbeque, you could grill indoors or outside on a patio table-top panini maker.
For even more great ideas see “Party On! 16 Expert Tips for Successful Summer Soirees” including printable invitations, cleaning and herb-pot decorating tips, and fantastic finger-food meals of meat, cheese, crackers, and veggies. Find outdoors sprucing-up ideas in “Quick Garden Party Remakes”, and you will turn your summer party into a great excuse to redo your patio.