Summer BBQ Recipes 2017

If you’re new to this space, welcome to the post where I share/link all the things we barbecued this summer.  I like it for inspiration the next year and also because it’s fun to look back and see what we were into during a particular summer and how much our BBQ game has grown since I started posting these.  And this year, Summer 2017, we barbecued to our little hearts’ desire!

From low key weeknight dinners, to celebratory holiday feasts to BBQs with all our friends and family, we did it all this summer!  It made me feel happy and hot (why doesn’t anyone talk about how sweaty you get standing at the grill??) and adventurous (we even grilled lamb chops!) and I’m grateful for every meal and dish and person I got to share it all with this summer ♥

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Drinks:

Cherry-Peach Sangria // People are now referring to this sangria as “Lauren’s Drink,” so I think it’s safe to say I’ve A) made this A LOT and B) drank A LOT of this.  Definitely double it (and maybe even triple it if you have a big group) but you can keep the fruit amounts the same because I always have leftovers of that stuff at the end of the night and why waste a good stone fruit?

Strawberry Summer Water // When I saw this recipe on the internet I immediately showed it to Joey like “someone literally wrote a recipe for water with fruit in it!”  Followed seconds later by “I’m gonna make it…”  Continued irony when everyone at our summer BBQ claimed it to be VERY GOOD.  

Bonus Non-Recipe // We made a good handful of margaritas this summer and I feel very good about it.  Make a simple syrup by boiling equal parts water and sugar, then combine 1.5 oz. tequila, 1 oz. triple sec, juice of one lime and 1.5 oz. of the (COOLED) simple syrup and shake over ice.  So simple!

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Apps/Sides:

BA’s Best Guacamole // It’s called BA’s Best for a reason.  Also, no tomatoes and I’m so very down with that!

Maple Baked Beans // I’ve made these a few times and they always turn out great!  Plus you just dump it all in the crock pot, set the timer for 4 hours and forget it.  Couldn’t be easier!

Cranberry-Almond Broccoli Salad // I LOVE this broccoli salad because: bacon.  BUT I’m also here to tell you that I made it WITHOUT bacon OR almonds (because I love my vegetarian and nut-allergic friends) and somehow it was still so dang good!  That creamy dressing holds up all on its own.  Plus it’s really really easy to make and tastes even better than the Whole Foods version.  This is my go-to BBQ side dish!

 Ultimate Red Skinned Potato Salad // I usually leave the potato salad to my mom (because she makes the best!) but turns out she’s not at every BBQ I’m at so I tried my own hand at it and this mayo-free version blew me away.  Honey mustard dressing is where it’s at!  And for the record, I didn’t even add more dressing after the initial 1/3 cup because I thought it tasted perfect right then!

Easy Cornbread // Okay, that recipe title does not do this cornbread justice.  Officially re-naming it THE VERY BEST CORNBREAD TO EVER EXIST, AS CONFIRMED BY EVERYONE I’VE EVER FED IT TO.  Too long?  

Greek Farmers’ Salad // Told my mom I made this for Father’s Day and she was all “oh, I’ve never made it” and then I told her I got the recipe from her.  She’s a goofy one!  This salad is my easiest potluck side and I think I’ve made it about 300 times.  

Grilled Corn and Bell Pepper Salad // Do not underestimate the power of a simple grilled veggie salad, especially when summer produce is at its peak.  Joey grilled all these veggies and when he came back inside he said “well, do you wanna be mad at me now or later, because I charred the hell out of the bell peppers,” but then he actually grilled them to perfection and I tossed them in the dressing and was delighted at how good and fresh it all tasted.

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Main Dish:

Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs // If you, like Joey and I, are a bit intimidated by bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, this works perfectly fine with boneless skinless thighs too!  The marinade makes for the most beautiful grill marks, to boot.

Grilled Chicken Wings with Shishito Peppers and Herbs // Does it count as a BBQ if there’s only two people in attendance?  It does if it’s a holiday!  Or so I say.  This dinner was a monumental win for me because A) it was the inaugural meal on my new grill and B) it turned out incredibly well.  For the record, I thought I burnt some of the wings but those ones ended up tasting the best so don’t fear a little char!  

Grilled Steak Tacos with Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce // Honestly, this recipe was A LOT of work.  I’m all for making stuff from scratch but a sauce, a salsa, pickled veggies, marinade, grilled onions and steak is a lot to handle in one day.  VERY delicious but also maybe very exhausting.    

The BA Burger Deluxe // For when you just need that classic cheeseburger, ya know?

Spinach Goat Cheese Turkey Burgers // I love love love these burgers because they are way juicy and because there are few things as delightful as biting into a goat cheese pocket.  I just throw in a handful of chopped fresh spinach in place of the frozen and just FYI, these can easily be made gluten free by just leaving out the panko.

BBQ Chicken Burgers // You can make these with any cheese but you should make them with sharp cheddar because it can hold its own against the BBQ sauce, making for one flavor-packed and supremely tender burger.  Please be forewarned that the patties are kinda wet but all’s well that ends well and these end SO well!

Grilled Lamb Rib Chops // We used a combination of this recipe (for the marinade, which we let sit for ~5 hours) and this guide (for the grilling method) and while I shouldn’t take any credit because I never even stepped foot near the grill while Joey made these, I want to take credit because I bought the chops, prepped them for marinating, semi-researched the grilling method and made all the sauces and flatbread that we ate with it.  TL;DR: THIS MEAL WAS SUPER DELICIOUS.

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Desserts:

Giant Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie // All hail the cast-iron skillet!  And the giant cookie!  And this recipe for being so easy and made of all pantry ingredients, aka you could probably whip it up right now if you wanted to!  Joey squeezed my arm SO hard when he took his first bite of this cookie because he was THAT excited about how good it was.  Do it — you won’t be disappointed.

Easy One-Bowl Upside-Down Cake // Fail-proof!  I made it once with cherries and lime and another time with blueberries and lemon and both turned out so incredibly good!  If you’re the type of person who considers batter to be beautiful, this one is GORGEOUS.  Don’t skip/be scared by the whipped sour cream because it totally takes this cake to another level of deliciousness.  

Blackberry-Cherry Cobbler with Honey Whipped Cream // I’m a huge believer in cobbler.  So much easier than a pie or even a galette!  This biscuit dough comes together so easily and the entire recipe take minimal effort so it’s a real win for us cobbler lovers.   

Gluten-Free Chocolate-Tahini Brownies // Usually, the words gluten-free make me run for the hills, but sometimes I do attempt to be accommodating and these had me at tahini.  Turns out they were fan-freaking-tastic and I bet, if you didn’t tell anyone, they wouldn’t even know these didn’t have flour in them.  If you’re not into that sweet-salty thing, maybe half the salt, but I’m a salt freak so I loved em’ as they were.  

Bonus Non-Recipe: Need to tell you that recently, I discovered the pure bliss of a grilled peach topped with yogurt, honey and maybe even some toasted almonds and making this little dessert for myself was the best form of self-care ever.  Do it!

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Looks burnt but tastes good!

Thank you, Summer 17 for all the happy and delicious times and for never letting us run out of propane mid-BBQ 🙂

Weekend Things

Wow, wow, wow.  This weekend was so good!

I recently realized that I’ve vacationed every September since 2014 and while it’s meant really good vacation weather, it’s also meant missing really good weather right here in Colorado.  We’re only 11 days in, but I’m already LOVING this month and being able to spend it fully at home.  These last few moments of summer — it IS still technically summer — are so so precious and I’m taking full advantage of each and every warm weather second we have left.

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Friday, Joey dropped me off at Base Coat for a “Quick Coat Mani” and I got an A+ on my nail care report card.  As in, my manicurist told me my nails looked really good and there was barely anything for her to do, then complimented how moisturized my hands were.  I walked home afterwards, feeling really good about myself, ha!

We grilled up some chicken for dinner, then decided to be fun young people and go to a 9:30 PM movie at the Sie FilmCenter.  Get this, we’d never been there!  But we’d been wanting to check it out and they were showing “California Typewriter,” a documentary on typewriters that featured Tom Hanks and John Mayer, so I was sold.  There were only four of us in the theater, but whatever because the film was so interesting and there was a full bar and we were in our happy place.  Mark my words, this will NOT be the last time we come here.  Also, can I borrow someone’s typewriter to send Tom Hanks a letter?

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Saturday morning, we woke up, ate breakfast then biked over to the Farmers’ Market.  We have officially reached the point in summer where I live in paralyzing fear that this is finally the last week peaches will be for sale.  Luckily, they were still there this week!  Plus baby cucs, — including two that reminded me of those pull-apart popsicles — shishitos, giant corn and a baguette that Joey biked home with and it made me love him so much.

Afterwards, I dug around in our out of control tomato bush, read in the hammock, made another batch of granola, hit up the grocery store and basically just felt really chill for the entire day.  It was honestly so nice and relaxing and I’m just now remembering that I even took a nap.  More days like this please!

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But the main event of Saturday was actually later that night, at Dining Al Fresco!  This is an event the restaurants of Larimer Square put on a few times a summer, where they extend their patios out onto the street, giving diners a chance to enjoy the summer weather and eat underneath the string lights.  We got to witness the entire sunset over dinner and I could not get over the view.  It was prettier and prettier every time I looked up ♥

As for actual dinner, we signed up to eat at TAG and honestly, they did NOT have their shit act together.  They totally botched our reservation and sent out the wrong food, but those string lights made for the most magical dinner atmosphere and the taco sushi and black miso cod were both incredible so I’ll just leave it at that 🙂  I already can’t wait to do this Dining Al Fresco thing again next year!

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Sunday started with another 6 mile training run (it went GREAT!) then we cleaned ourselves up, only to get tired and sweaty all over again biking to brunch (<– still Summer Bucket Listing!) at the newly opened (or should I say reinvented?) Candela Latin Kitchen.  It used to be Central Bistro but recently closed and reopened as a Latin restaurant with a taco-stacked menu and while I still need to get there for HH/dinner, the chilaquiles on their brunch menu was CALLING TO ME and so we had to go.  I think one other party was sitting inside, but we were the ONLY ones eating out on the patio and I couldn’t understand why because the food, service and vibe were all AMAZING.  Get here, Denverites!

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The rest of the day featured more hammock reading, Rainbow Veggie Bowl prep, a kombucha field trip, dinner and me hiding in our room while the Cowboys game was on.  I roasted some salmon and served it with this Tomato-Peach Salad with Tofu Cream plus that baguette for dipping and it was all so summery and fresh and good.  All those tomatoes are from our garden and that makes me incredibly happy.  I guess the Cowboys won but whatever because, more importantly, ROCKIES SWEPT THE DODGERS!

Hope you all have a lovely (and for those of you in Hurricane Irma’s path, a SAFE) weekend!