Back to the Kitchen: Kick Off Summer with a BBQ Party

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Last Memorial Day a friend  came over for a barbeque armed with a package of ground beef and a box of Hebrew Nationals. She said that she was so tired of barbeques where it was all “fancy” foods! While I love to grill fish, shrimp, a nice ribeye and vegetables, I must admit that as a caterer my best selling barbeque does not include any of these. I create a custom menu for each clients’ needs, but this menu works really well for any summer barbeque party. These recipes are easily doubled or tripled depending on your crowd. And the salads can stand out for the afternoon so it can eliminate the need for starters or appetizers. (I like to keep the food inside if possible, or a the least in the shade).

I usually grill chicken breasts because that is what I prefer, but I am always surprised at how popular legs are. They are a bit less expensive and easy to handle.

This menu is very well rounded and there is something for everyone. If you know your guests and have a large amount of vegetarians you can always add veggie burgers.

People always just rave about my cheeseburgers. I am a bit embarrassed to say but the juiciest burgers come from the higher fat content. Good for a special occasion. I often make the burgers mini so people can nosh on a little bit of everything.

I like the fruit finish, but anything chocolate would be great, too! You can double, triple and just say the more the merrier. Have a wonderful Memorial Day kick off to the summer barbeque party.

Summer BBQ Party Menu

Mini Turkey Burgers with Ginger, Cranberry and a Wasabi Mustard Sauce

Mini Slider Cheeseburgers

Spicy Black Bean Burger Patties

Chicken with Slicks BBQ Sauce

Mix Baby Greens with Herb Vinaigrette

Blueberry Mango Salad

Roasted New potatoes with Garlic and Mint

Spicy Bun Bun Noodles

Orzo Salad with Herbs and Grilled Vegetables

Melons and berries

Turkey Burgers with Cranberries and Ginger

1-pound ground turkey

2 scallions, thinly chopped

1/2 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 inch ginger, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Splash soy sauce

4 burger buns or rolls

1 cup Asian lettuce mix

In a medium bowl mix the turkey, scallions, cranberries, garlic. ginger, red pepper and soy sauce. Divide into 4 patties. Over medium coals place on BBQ (or skillet or stovetop grill) and cook for 10 minutes and flip and cook 5-10 minutes longer. Serve on a bun with 1/4-cup Asian lettuce, Chinese style mustard and wasabi mustard. (In a small bowl whisk together 1/4-cup Dijon Mustard and 1 tablespoon wasabi paste.)

Spicy Black Bean Burger Patties

2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained

2 teaspoon, olive oil

Juice and zest of half a lemon

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 onion, minced

2 teaspoon old bay seasoning

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4-cup breadcrumbs

Salt and pepper, to taste

Dash hot sauce, to taste

In a food processor or blender, process the all ingredients until smooth. Or, mash together with a large fork or potato masher until beans are well mashed. Refrigerate mixture for at least 2 hours or overnight. Fire up the grill and barbecue your black bean veggie burger patties. Serve over lettuce.

Slicks BBQ Sauce

3/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/2-cup dark brown sugar

1 Shakes Worchester

4 shakes Tabasco

1 clove garlic minced

1-tablespoon black pepper

1-teaspoon celery salt

1 heaping teaspoon chili powder

4 tablespoons French’s mustard

1 cup Heinz ketchup

Mix all ingredients in an empty and clean 1/2-gallon milk jug. It is best to make a couple of days a head. Shake vigorously at least twice a day.

Minty Roasted Potatoes

(FYI: I have discovered this dish is also amazing with dill instead of mint!)

16 new potatoes

1/2 cup olive oil

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper

8 garlic cloves finely chopped

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves

Pre-heat oven to 350

Prick the potatoes with the tines of a fork and arrange them on a baking sheet. Bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Cut the potatoes into quarters and place them in a serving bowl. While they are still hot, toss them with the oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Gently toss in the mint. This twist on a potato salad can be served warm or at room temperature.

Blueberry and Mango Salad

Juice of 4 limes

Zest of one lime

2 large mangos, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

3 cups blueberries

10 mint leaves, sliced

1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

Gently toss together let stand for an hour or overnight and serve.

Spicy Noodles

1 pound dry pasta- spaghetti or angel hair

1-cup smooth peanut butter

3 tbsp. sugar

1/2-cup soy sauce

1 tsp. chili pepper flakes

3 tbsp. toasted sesame oil

3 tbsp. minced garlic

3 tbsp. canola oil

Garnishes- slivered carrots, green onions, red pepper s, fresh cilantro, and sesame seeds, toasted peanuts

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling water. Drain the noodles, let stand and use the warm pot to make the sauce. (It helps with the thickness of the peanut butter)

Whisk the rest of ingredients until blended. Mix in the pasta. Let Stand in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Before serving toss with the garnishes of your choice.

Mediterranean Orzo Salad

2 boxes (16 oz each) orzo pasta

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cups feta cheese, diced

2 cucumbers, diced

2 red peppers, diced

2 pounds asparagus, grilled and chopped

2 cans large olives, sliced

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1-cup basil, chopped

1-cup virgin olive oil

1 cup lemon juice

Splash green Tabasco (to taste)

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sauté 1 box of the orzo until golden brown. In a large soup pot bring water to a boil and cook all orzo until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. Once orzo has cooled, in serving bowl mix orzo, olives, feta, red peppers, cucumbers, asparagus, parsley and basil. In small bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice and green Tabasco. Mix into salad. Salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate and chill before serving.

About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.