Happy Memorial Day!!

Summer is officially here, and the weather couldn't be better (finally!)!  We hope you are enjoying this beautiful weekend with friends and family, taking in a ballgame, jumping in the pool, and grilling up something delicious!

Since we're off for a few weeks, we'll be sharing some ideas that we know will add to your summer fun!  Look for a new one each week!

Here's my idea for a backyard grill night menu that will be easy for you & fun for your guests!

Better than Burgers Grill Menu:

  • Porch Sangria (recipe below)
  • Fresh cut fruit with fun tooth pics (great to put out as an appetizer for the kids to snack!)
  • Pita Chips & Hummus (we love Stacy's chips and Roots Hummus, found at Whole Foods, or Sabra Hummus)
  • Fresh Green Salad with lots of chopped veggies (prep early in the day and store undressed in the fridge, covered with a damp paper towed to keep the veggies fresh; pick up several fresh salad dressings from the fridge section of the grocery store and let guests dress their own)
  • Flank Steak with Sriracha Honey Lime Marinade (plan on about 1/4-1/3 lb of meat per adult)
  • Crusty Bread (store-bought or your own!)
  • Ice Cream & Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwiches (so easy to make ahead - technique below - or let guests make their own)

Porch Sangria
This is a great, dry Sangria recipe we adapted from a recipe on one of our favorite sites, Smittenkitchen, that will not leave you feeling like you just added booze to your child's juice box!  Make a big batch and store it in the fridge for a day to let the fruit flavors soak in and you'll be ready for a fun porch party!  I found the wine and orange soda I needed at Trader Joe's.

2 Bottles Dry Spanish Red
1 Bottle Dry Spanish Rose
1 Can Orange Soda (I used Hanson's)
1 T sugar dissolved in 2 T warm water
1/4 - 1/2 cup of alcohol (we used bourbon, but brandy, whiskey, or vodka are fine too.  Rum, tequila and gin will probably be have too strong of a competing flavor, but if it's all you've got, just add sparingly!)
Lots of Fruit!!!  We use strawberries, blueberries, oranges, and pineapple, but apples, lemons, raspberries, blackberries, and kiwi would also be great!  We don't suggest melons or banana, but aside from that, anything that is in season, beautiful and something you like is perfect.

Cut up all the fruit and add half to the liquid mix.  Let chill for several hours or even overnight.  Serve with ice (or use frozen berries instead!) and add cut fruit on top of each glass.  For kids, add cut fruit to orange soda for a kid cocktail that is healthy too!

Flank Steak with Sriracha Honey Lime Marinade:

1/4-1/2 lb Flank Steak per person
Montreal Steak Seasoning
3 T Soy Sauce or Tamari (GF)
3 T Honey
1 T Olive Oil
3 Cloves peeled Garlic
1 Whole Lime, all rind cut away
1T Sriracha
1/2 Bunch Cilantro, if desired

Season both sides of Steak with Montreal Steak seasoning and place meat into a large ziplock bag.
Combine all marinade ingredients in a blender and blend thoroughly.  Add a little water if mixture is too thick.
Pour Marinade into bag with Steak and seal, pressing air out and keeping meat flat so that marinade can reach all sides.  Return Steak to the fridge for 2-3 hours to chill.
Remove Steak from bag and cook on a hot grill, pouring the marinade over as it's cooking.  Cook your steak the way you like it - most people prefer it to be well done on the outside, pink in the middle.  Using a meat thermometer will help you avoid overcooking - red meat should reach an internal temp of 165°.
Allow meat to rest on a cutting board when you take it off the grill, then slice into thin slices and serve on top of your bountiful green salad!

Ice Cream Sandwiches Technique:
Bake or purchase large chocolate chip cookies (I'm not much of a baker, so I like to buy the all-natural, pre-cut cookie dough in various flavors made by Immaculate Bakery, available in most grocery stores)
Buy assorted pints of ice cream or gelato (avoiding flavors with big chunks in it) and allow to soften slightly.
Scoop ice cream onto one cookie and top with a second, pressing very softly together.
Optional Fun Idea:  Roll sides of Sandwich in colored or chocolate sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, nerds, or any small candy
Wrap the sandwich in plastic wrap and re-freeze for several hours on a flat sheet or plate.
Bring out of the freezer 15 minutes before serving because they will be pretty hard after re-freezing
Unwrap and serve!

Some great flavor combinations are:

  • Classic - Chocolate Chip Cookie & Vanilla or Oreo Ice Cream
  • Elegant - Ginger Cookies & Lemon Ice Cream (Homeland Creamery makes the best Lemon Ice cream you'll ever eat!!)
  • Fresh - Sugar Cookies & Fresh Strawberry, Peach, or Raspberry Ice Cream
  • Rich - Peanut Butter Cookies & Chocolate or Coffee Ice Cream

Here's a checklist of other things you'll want to make sure to have for a successful party!
  • Cute Paper Plates & Napkins
  • Cocktail Cups (I like melamite glasses for outdoor parties)
  • Assorted beers, soda and seltzer
  • Plenty of Ice for drinks & chilling
  • Bug Repellant Wipes (or call The Mosquito Authority 336-712-5278 to get rid of them altogether!)
  • Outdoor Games for kids - hula hoops, cornhole, bubbles, a sprinkler, sidewalk chalk & beach balls
  • Music!

Enjoy a fun, easy & fabulous Porch party! 

See you soon!