4th of July is just around the corner and it’s that time of year for summer entertaining and backyard barbecues. I thought I would share with you all my favorite summer entertaining menu. Basically if you’re coming to my house for dinner this summer, this is the meal you’re going to get, so take a look before you RSVP yes! I love this menu because virtually everything can be made ahead of time, (key words here) so when your guests arrive you can sit back, relax and join in on the conversation rather than being stuck in the kitchen slaving and sweating over the stove. This menu is family and friend approved and has been tested by a number of families in my house. So you could say that this particular menu is sort of like a Cook’s Illustrated recipe, tried and tested! I aim to please here at the Marin mama casa.
Appetizer: Mango avocado salsa. I make a double batch of this every time I have guests over because it’s always a HUGE hit and is gone, gone gone. It’s truly a crowd pleaser. It’s just a great combination of seasonal and fresh flavors and so easy to whip up. It’s really so much better than anything store bought! I always slice the mango ahead of time, like in the morning, and then just store it in a covered container in the fridge. About 20 minutes before my guests arrive, I chop up the avocado, cilantro, red onion and add in the lime juice. I throw it in a bowl and pair it with some tortilla chips. I never have to worry about leftovers because it’s always devoured.
Dinner time: Favorite turkey burgers with cilantro lime mayonnaise served on toasted english muffins. Ok, this is truly our FAVORITE burger and paired with the cilantro lime mayonnaise, it’s a show stopper. Everyone that comes to my house and tries this burger just raves about it, and all I hear at the dinner table is mmmmmmm. The burger is jammed packed with flavor and the cilantro lime mayo gives it a spicy kick. I always make the cilantro lime mayo up ahead of time as well as the burger patties, and just store them in the fridge till dinner. All I have to do come dinner time is lightly butter the English muffin halves and throw them under the broiler till they brown up. John just heads out to the grill for a bit and cooks the burgers. Easy peasy, right?
Lacinato kale salad. Yes, I make up two salads because one kale salad is never enough in Marin mama’s house, and it’s nice to have the variety. Both of these salads are crowd pleasers and can be made up ahead of time. I make them both up about and hour or two before my guests arrive and then just store them in the fridge. I usually take them out about 1/2 hour before dinner is going to be served, so that they come to room temp. Easy peasy!
Nepenthe’s garbanzo and kidney bean salad. This is John’s addition to the menu. He makes this up in the morning so that all the flavors meld together.
Homemade Arnold Palmer. This is a great classic summer drink. Zoe actually makes this up for me, so it saves me a step. She puts the tea out in the morning to brew in the sun for a few hours, and then adds in the lemonade, gives it a stir, and sets it to cool in the fridge.
Dessert: The best chocolate chip skillet cookie. Dessert is always everyone’s favorite part of dinner right? This is definitely a cookie made to serve a crowd. It also makes a great impression when your guests see you pulling out this bad boy! I usually make up the batter an hour or so before my guests arrive and then let it sit in the pan for a bit. I put it in the oven about 15 minutes before my guests arrive so that they can smell the cookie baking as they walk in the door . It’s also nice to cook it closer to dinner time because the cookie is still warm come dessert time. I just let it cool on the stove top for a bit and then cover it with foil until I’m ready to slice it up. We always have vanilla bean ice-cream and hot fudge to serve on top.
Frozen s’mores. This is my other dessert of choice when it’s just too hot to bake up a cookie. These s’mores take literally 5 minutes to whip up and then they just sit in your freezer until you’re ready to serve them up. They are a HUGE crowd pleaser for all ages.
Ina’s summer garden pasta. This is one of those perfect make ahead dishes. The tomato marinade takes 5 minutes to assemble and then you let it marinate all day. All you have to do is come dinner time is to cook up the capellini for 3 minutes and voila, dinner is served.
BTW, my heirloom tomato soup is featured on NoshOnIt today! Check out the sweet review they gave my blog!
Happy 4th of July everyone!