Quick Summer Entertaining Outdoors

In summer, when the days are longer and warmer, we all like to be outside as much as possible. Our thoughts drift to having friends in for impromptu cookouts and drinks but we quickly snap back to the reality of our busy schedules. The bubble is burst and we drift through the summer with a lot of coulda, woulda, and shouldas.

By placing a few extra things on your next supermarket list, you can have things in the freezer or cupboard so the impromptu dream is easily achieved, and the next thing you know, people you love being around are sitting in your backyard sharing a great meal on a summer night. One of the most requested dinners I have come up with is a very simple one, and almost all the items are on hand. One quick stop for fresh veggies and you’ve got a feast.

I thaw frozen boneless chicken breasts in a marinade of half lime juice and half apple juice. Put them in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and take them outside near the grill. The warmth of the evening will help the thawing time but chicken breasts thaw very quickly in the marinade. I then strip some fresh corn, wash it well and dry it. The ears are then buttered with margarine, salted and peppered and each one is rolled up into aluminum foil. Those go outside next to the grill. Next, wrap a baguette in foil and it also goes next to the grill.

When the grill is ready, put the corn on first. You can even do this before your guests arrive if you have time. If not, make your guests a part of the process and have some one put the ears on and roll them around occasionally. A glass or two of crisp white wine later, roll the ears to one side and put on the chicken breasts. They cook quickly but be prepared with a fork for moving them around. No sticking! Lastly, the baguette will only take minutes. Meanwhile, you and your guests are having fun chatting and building up an appetite!

Along with a big tossed salad, it’s a great summer meal. Serve the chicken breasts with some mango salsa and they’re really dynamite.

I forgo desserts as such for an easy dinner and prefer to serve up several kinds of cheeses and fancy crackers for the last course. They also go well with the wine. If you know you have friends who will want coffee before heading home, I keep some after dinner chocolates with orange flavor to go with a strong cup of French roast.

With some summery candle light and some special linen you save for use outdoors (if you’re caught up on laundry!), the evening can seem much more special than the time it took to do it all. After all, it’s all about friends and having fun. So, make the list, keep it in your wallet and the next trip to the store, stock up. It will pay off in nights of fun without hassle.

Here is your list of things to have on hand:

Boneless chicken breasts
Mango salsa
Lime juice
Apple juice
White and red wine
Chocolates
Cheeses
Cracker selection
Candles
Fun linens for the table

And the last minute list:

Ears of corn
Salad ingredients
Baguette of French bread

Now �how hard is that?

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