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: Summer Kickoff BBQ

You know how it’s seemed like we’ve been working overtime to get our front yard in tip top shape?  Well that’s because in preparation for throwing a Summer Kickoff BBQ, we have been working overtime to get our front yard in tip top shape!  Nothing like hosting a party to motivate you to get a big project done.

The good news is we got the landscaping done, the grass looking green and lush, the fence painted and reassembled and all six tons of rock moved by Saturday at 5 PM, then it was straight summer BBQ-ing time!

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Curtis is our new door stop.  A few people had never seen our house before so Joey was impressing them with the opening line of “we have a black widow!” and I was saying stuff like “welcome to our 85° home!”  What is wrong with the both of us?  P.S. My house was/is so clean right now, that I’m afraid to do anything that will mess it up.  I want it to be this way forever!

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Also, we both managed to pick out sherbert-colored shirts.  Like Bobby so honestly put it, it was mostly embarrassing because we were in our own home and one of us easily could’ve changed but didn’t… I’m claiming we were just trying to make it easy for everyone to locate the party hosts.

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This way to beer!

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My tried and true sangria recipe.

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Thanks for showing me how to cut a watermelon, Geoffrey Zakarian.

We brewed a “knockoff Blue Moon,” hauled the kegerator outside, mixed up some sangria, cut a watermelon and cooked some baked beans for the occasion.  We also grilled burgers and brats and may or may not have run out of propane mid-BBQ.  We definitely knew better than to not refill the propane tank.  Joey claims I drank that entire pitcher of sangria by myself.  All I know is I had a wine flush like whoa.

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We did things pot-luck style and everyone brought such good stuff.  I’m still kicking myself for not grabbing a deviled egg right away because they were totally gone by the time I got a plate of food.  I should’ve known they’d be the first thing to go — they had bacon in them!  Mom brought coleslaw, potato salad and mini oatmeal cookies.  Then she left the leftovers with me.  I’m not complaining.  And Becca made sangria cupcakes!  They were so good that I was immediately compelled to hug her.

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Of course we broke out the fire pit later in the night.  Then we listened to Third Eye Blind, talked about Ashley Parker Angel’s butt and you know… drank some more sangria.  Or was that just me?  After everyone left, Joey and I cleaned up, hauled the kegerator back inside (which, for the record, is harder to do after you’ve had a few drinks) and chilled in the hammock while John Mayer played in the background.  Translation: PERFECT NIGHT.

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Joey left to go golfing at 7 AM the next morning and I was like “okay cool, I’ll just sleep in then.”  Then I rolled out of bed, took myself on a slow and steady 3-mile jaunt — I must’ve been in a good mood because twice someone’s dog ran after me and I wasn’t even mad — then ate breakfast and read on the front porch.  It doesn’t get better than that.

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I’ll be real honest, I basically read, napped and watched TV for the rest of the day.  Though I did get Joey to go on a post-nap evening stroll with me.  I was saying how nice it was to basically do nothing all day and Joey pointed out that this was our first taste of real (yard work-free) summer.  More, please!  Wrapped up the evening with a summer squash soup, Food Network Star, Big Brother and a slice of cherry pie because, SUMMER.

Happy Monday!

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