Trying to plan figure out an easy, no-stress menu for today or tomorrow? I’ve got some suggestions…
For starters, you might serve one or more of the following. To keep it easy, serve starters that don’t require you to assemble individual portions (like bruschetta or stuffed grape leaves, which are more time-consuming).
♦ Guacamole– or better still, Grilled Guacamole, which, unlike regular guacamole which discolors, you can make ahead. This version includes tomatoes and other ingredients which help keep it looking bright.
♦ Edamame (it doesn’t get much easier that this!)
♦ BaconPopcorn (because it is your patriotic duty)
♦ Raw vegetables with a Romesco dipping sauce — this is also great with simple boiled shrimp (and a nice change from the usual “cocktail” sauce)
For your main course, how about burgers and grilled chicken thighs? Here are some easy options that allow you to do almost all the work ahead.
♦ To make sure your chicken is moist, tender, juicy– and cooked long enough to be safe, check out the easy and fail-safe directions here. And here is another spice-rubbed chicken thigh recipe. In both cases, the slightly sweet, savory and aromatic spice rub may be made and put on the chicken in advance. At the party, just grill the chicken. (Or be really tricky and cook them in advance. During the party, place them back on the grill just long enough to heat through).
If you want to serve burgers, you might opt for any of the following. (In any of these recipes calling for lean ground turkey, you can substitute ground beef )
♦ Tex-Mex Pepperjack Stuffed Burger Start with bacon popcorn and veggies, but don’t serve it with guacamole — there is too much overlap of ingredients
♦ Moroccan Burger this aromatic burger is a personal favorite made with ginger, tomato paste, chopped scallions and currants.
♦ Feta Mint Burger bright Greek flavors give this burger a little sophistication and lots of appeal
♦ Cheddar Burger with Balsamic Caramelized Onions This one is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Make the onions a day or two in advance if you like.
Side dishes can be as easy or elaborate as you want.
Here are some easy vegetable recipes:
♦ Roast Mini Sweet Peppers (may also be cooked on the grill)
And here are some grains:
Dessert, in my mind, is a no-brainer: include seasonal fruit.
♦ Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies, which I posted yesterday
♦ Mixed Berry Fruit Crisp, which is very fast and easy to put together
♦ Strawberry Biscuit Shortcake which will knock your socks off
♦ Strawberry, Red Wine and Basil Granita which is refreshing and low in calories
To all of you who wrote in about broken links: they are now all mended, and you should be able to easily get to any of the recipes above. My apologies!