Sunday, July 20, 2008

Recipes for the Perfect Summer Barbecue

Last night we had a bunch of friends over and had what I think was the perfect summer barbecue. It almost didn't happen--lots of things going wrong; one of those Murphy's Law days. The lawnmower refused to start (and our grass was like knee-high, LOL). DH went and got gas.

That wasn't it.

Went and got new spark plugs.

That wasn't it.

Went and got some other thing-a-mabob.

That wasn't it.

Cussed and swore at the mower. That didn't help. Finally, at the eleventh hour, he bought a new lawnmower. While he was on his way home, I went to start the grill. It won't start. Out of gas.

I call DH to get some; he's in the driveway by now with the new lawnmower, and in no mood to go to the store . I did eventually talk him into another run, because my entire menu depended on the grill. Thankfully all our guests were running late for various reasons, so Murphy apparently decided to take a little vacation, or throw us a bit of pity.

All turned out well, in the end, especially food wise. I made my Raspberry Mojito Lemonade (the non-alcoholic version), a big hit with both kids and adults. I went through four pitchers of it :-). For an appetizer, I made Tyler Florence's crab dip with saltines. I messed with the recipe though (when have you ever known me not to, LOL). I read the reviews in the comments section of the recipe, cut the cream cheese and mayonnaise in half, and added shrimp to it (I used 6 ounces of crab meat and 6 ounces of diced shrimp). I also baked it at 350 for 30 minutes and topped it with the cherry tomatoes and some grated fresh Parmesan at the end. I did sprinkle in some Cayenne, too, to kick it up a bit.

As for the saltines, I didn't have any parsley. When I went to the store, they were out of fresh parsley. I know...what's up with that? What store is out of fresh parsley? Anyway, I have a boatload of cilantro in my yard, so I used that instead and that was AWESOME. Added a cool kick to the crackers.

The grill menu included:

* Flat Iron Steaks with Blue Cheese Mustard Topping (I cannot even begin to describe how good this is; if you haven't tried my recipe yet, you really should ;-))
* Chicken Breasts marinated in Italian dressing, then grilled
* Grilled Potatoes with SunDried Tomato Dressing (this is from the Kraft Food and Family magazine. if I did this again, I'd use fresh Parmesan instead of the Kraft, and add salt and pepper; I also made these in the oven; roasting the packets at 450 degrees for about 35 minutes or so, because my grill is only so big)
* Kraft's Sensational Foil Pack Vegetables (these really did live up to their name. My only concession to ease was to use precut, frozen pepper and onion mix. This was easy and yummy. I also mixed in some of the leftover cherry tomatoes from the Tyler Florence recipe, since he has you make way too many)
* One loaf of organic Italian bread...not too bad :-) and a nice touch. I wrapped it in foil and threw it on the grill, too.

My guests brought fab-oo food too. We had grilled zucchini and summer squash that was topped with Italian seasoning and I think, Monterey Jack cheese. It tasted like healthy pizza. Very yummo. There were brownies and then this KILLER Lemon and Blueberry Trifle that I just had a bit of leftover for breakfast.

So much for sticking to my diet today, LOL.

I saw this month's O Magazine (the link for August isn't up there yet) has a perfect summer barbecue in their pages, too. That one looked pretty darn good as well. Hmm...if we can keep that new lawnmower running, we might just need to have company over again so I can have an excuse to do this all over again ;-)



  1. Have you tried grilling potatoes right on the grill? I saw someone do it on Food Network and I was wondering if it actually works. Hmmm, maybe I will have my father give it a try. He is always looking for something new to put on fire.

    Oh, next time you get good, fresh rosemary, use the stick part as a kabob for shrimp. Great flavor.

  2. I haven't tried either of those, but both sound VERY yummy. I didn't grow rosemary this year, just did things I could grow in a pot and bring inside at the end of the summer. I'm not much of a green thumb, so I just did three herbs :-).

    This year has been my big grill year. I've tried lots of things and want to try peaches and pineapples, too. So far, the family's been enjoying my attempts, especially the steaks ;-)



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