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Summertime Grilling

After a long cold winter, summer is finally here! It’s time to open up the pool, dust off the patio furniture, and most importantly fire up that grill. Whether you’re the “hostess with the mostess” like me, or a simple party planner who serves a couple of beers and a nice chip and dip platter, here are some guaranteed tips to make any gathering a delicious one. From stocking up the fridge, to easy prep, parties can be just as fun for you as it is for your guests, not to mention you’ll impress a couple of palettes as well.

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1. In the fridge
As far as the fridge is concerned, some good dips (homemade or not), and a little assortment of beer and soda, you can’t go wrong. In all the parties I have thrown, if there’s one thing that I’ve noticed is that no matter what kind of guest, everyone loves snacking rather than making heavy plates. When you put food out in smaller bites or quantities, hungry guests are less reluctant to pick it up. Putting the same exact Mozzarella Caprese salad on Crostini instead of platter makes all the difference. And with Beverages…One domestic beer, an imported one, a light beer, and a couple of sodas, you’re set. Sure you can get into the mixed drinks and wines, but maintenance comes into play, and everything gets overwhelming for the host. Backyards are informal so keep it simple.
2. The Pantry
Chips and Crackers, Chips and Crackers, and did I mention…Chips and Crackers. I cannot stress this enough to any host, a pantry should always have some form crispy accompaniment. Chips are a classic snack, and crackers can be dipped and scooped any way you like. No need to go over the top, a classic plain chip, or any flavor of choice; same goes for the crackers. Try not to get too unique though, not everyone appreciates the exotic flavors.
Helpful Hint: If you have some old fresh bread or maybe pita, throw it on baking sheet, drizzle some olive oil, and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. You can even do a quick flip on the grill. You have homemade crusty Crostini.

3. The Grill & All that goes with it
The grill can be your outdoor kitchen; not only for meat, but vegetables, fish, pizza, and even an oven or toaster. I’ve even been known to throw a frying pan on the grill. I always recommend marinating whatever you grill a head of time. It not only enhances the flavor of any meat, but tenderizes it as well. Steak and chicken are your best bet because they have equal grilling time depending on thickness. The majority of veggies are excellent on the grill with just a little olive oil and salt, especially corn! Burgers and hot dogs are a given so I’m not going to bore you with that. However you can always get a little creative with the toppings, like different types of cheese, spicy pickles, or sautéed onion.
However you slice it, dice, grill it, or flip it, it’s difficult to argue the flavor the grill brings to the table. An ice cold beer and a quality plate of BBQ specialties is a difficult meal to top, but if done right, your house will be the summer destination of choice.

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