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 ♥

img_1204

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!

IMG_0319

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.

img_0743

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.

IMG_0468

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!

img_1933

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 🙂

Every BBQ Recipe We Used This Summer

Here’s something I’ve recently discovered about myself that kind of shocks me.  I really enjoy entertaining people at my house.  Here’s an extra shocking thing I’ve recently discovered about myself.  I find home entertaining to be easy and not even stressful.  Considering I find things like choosing a nail polish color or deciding what I want to order for dinner to be incredibly stressful, this stress-free version of myself is a complete surprise.  Maybe my enjoyment just outweighs my stress.

We hosted three big family/friend BBQs this summer (along with a few smaller gatherings), so planning the menu, buying the groceries, cleaning the house and coordinating the cooking and set up is old hat by now.  And because finding good recipes that are crowd-friendly and don’t break the bank is kind of time-consuming, I thought I’d help out by sharing all the recipes we relied on for our BBQs this summer.  I’m not claiming to be Martha Stewart, but if you’re into low-maintenance, high-ease entertaining, this post is for you.

2
Drinks

Blood Orange Margaritas // These are better for small group gatherings so you can make them one at a time.

IMG_8382

Cherry-Peach Sangria // Double or triple it because ain’t no one adhering to Cooking Light’s serving size recommendation.

Other drinks: homebrew & sun tea.

Side Dishes

IMG_9389

Maple Baked Beans // So easy, because: crockpot!  Double it only if you have a BIG group.  Otherwise, be prepared to be eating baked bean leftovers for eternity.

Easy Cornbread  // This got rave reviews at our last BBQ and was devoured by the end of the night, so it’s a winner.

Grilled Sweet Potato and Napa Cabbage Salad with Lime Vinaigrette // Bonus points for feeling fancy when you cook your sweet potatoes to perfection on the grill.

IMG_8165

Lemony Millet Salad with Chickpeas, Corn and Spinach // Except we always use orzo instead of millet and arugula for the spinach.  Leave the greens out altogether for make-ahead-of-time-without-fear-of-sogginess ease.

IMG_7643

IMG_0313

Greek Vegetable Salad // My mom sent me a picture of this recipe many years ago and every time I want to make it, I have to relocate the photo, so I’m just going to post it here.  Come on now, Cooking Light.  This should be on your website somewhere!  Help a girl out.  Anyway, we made this a bunch of times for BBQs earlier this summer.  It’s a winner.

IMG_8383

Other sides: simple grilled zucchini & summer squash, watermelon (cut the best way!) and my mom made this awesome Spicy Potato Salad that I intended to make myself and never did.

Main(s)

Green Chili Chicken Burgers // Our favorite.  Forever and ever.  The end.

IMG_3350

Spiced Grilled Chicken Thighs // Much can be said about dark meat chicken, an overnight marinade and a good sear on the grill.

IMG_9427

Okay, I’m just now realizing the main dish is where we totally phoned it in this summer.  As much as I would’ve loved to do more stuff like grilled chicken, that stuff gets expensive and time-consuming when you’re doing it for a big group of people.  In other words, pre-made burgers and brats are where it’s at.

Life Goals for Next Summer: Get better at main dishes and dessert.

*******************

We are headed out on vacation tomorrow for a FIRST ANNIVERSARY (!!!) trip and I can’t fricken wait!  We’re hitting San Francisco, Portland and Seattle and I already told Joey “I just want to eat all the foods, drink all the coffee and walk all the places.”  See ya when we get back!