Host an Unforgettable BBQ

Despite the rain, we are actually well into Summer and with summer comes BBQ's with friends and family!  Below is one of my favorite meals that have never steered me wrong and to ensure no one leaves hungry.  From drinks, appetizers, meal, dessert and outdoor games, your goal should be an evening your guests will remember! 

Feature Drink - MEZCALRITA

Surprise your guests with a featured drink and made fresh for them upon arrival!  Mezcalrita is the perfect summer drink that has yet to disappoint any of my guests!

2 oz Banhez Mezcal (or Mezcal of your choice)
¾ oz Combier Liqueur d'Orange
1 oz fresh lime juice 
¼ oz agave nectar



Combine all ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake for ten seconds, and strain over fresh ice into a salt-rimmed rocks glass.

Appetizer - Skillet Spinach-Artichoke Dip With Fire-Roasted Bread

Everyone loves a hot cheesy dip and the cast iron pan will take the presentation to the next level! Good quality Cast Iron pans are actually very reasonably priced at Costco.  Start your dining experience with this Spinach - Artichoke Dip! 

Canola oil, for grill grate

1  (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 c. sour cream
2 oz. Parmesan, grated (1/2 cup)
1 tsp. lemon zest, plus 3 tablespoons lemon juice
large clove garlic, pressed

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

(14-ounce) can artichokes, drained and chopped
(10-ounce) package frozen leaf spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
small loaf country bread, sliced
tablespoons, olive oil


  1. Set up grill for direct and indirect cooking and heat to medium. Once hot, clean and lightly oil grates with canola oil. 
  2. Whisk together cream cheese, sour cream, 1/4 cup Parmesan, lemon zest and juice, and garlic in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in artichokes and spinach. Transfer to a 9-inch cast-iron skillet. Top with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan. Cover with aluminum foil.
  3. Place skillet over indirect heat and cook, covered, 10 minutes. Remove foil and rotate skillet, keeping over indirect heat. Cook, uncovered, until bubbly and golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from grill.
  4. Drizzle bread with olive oil. Grill over direct heat, turning occasionally, until crisp, 20 to 30 seconds. Serve with dip alongside

The Main Course - Baby Back Ribs, Grilled Vegetables and Watermelon Salad

This combination will be a hit! 

Baby Back Ribs (Costco is the best place to purchase)

1 cup barbeque sauce
Step 1: Preheat a gas grill for high heat, or arrange charcoal briquettes on one side of the barbeque. Lightly oil the grate.

In a small jar, combine cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Close the lid, and shake to mix.

Trim the membrane sheath from the back of each rack. Run a small, sharp knife between the membrane and each rib, and snip off the membrane as much as possible. Sprinkle as much of the rub onto both sides of the ribs as desired. To prevent the ribs from becoming too dark and spicy, do not thoroughly rub the spices into the ribs. Store the unused portion of the spice mix for future use.

Place aluminum foil on lower rack to capture drippings and prevent flare-ups. Lay the ribs on the top rack of the grill (away from the coals, if you're using briquettes). Reduce gas heat to low, close lid, and leave undisturbed for 1 hour. Do not lift the lid at all.

Brush ribs with barbecue sauce, and grill an additional 5 minutes. Serve ribs as whole rack, or cut between each rib bone and pile individually on a platter.
Grilled Vegetables

3 red bell peppers, seeded and halved

3 yellow squash (about 1 pound total), sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick rectangles

3 zucchini (about 12 ounces total), sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick rectangles

3 Japanese eggplant (12 ounces total), sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick rectangles

12 cremini mushrooms

1 bunch (1-pound) asparagus, trimmed

12 green onions, roots cut off

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

1.  Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or prepare the barbecue (medium-high heat). Brush the vegetables with 1/4 cup of the oil to coat lightly. Sprinkle the vegetables with salt and pepper. Working in batches, grill the vegetables until tender and lightly charred all over, about 8 to 10 minutes for the bell peppers; 7 minutes for the yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, and mushrooms; 4 minutes for the asparagus and green onions. Arrange the vegetables on a platter. The key to getting those great grill marks is to not shift the vegetables too frequently once they've been placed on the hot grill.

2.  Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, parsley, basil, and rosemary in a small bowl to blend. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the herb mixture over the vegetables. Serve the vegetables, warm or at room temperature.
Watermelon Salad with Feta and Cucumber
3 cups watermelon cubed or balled
1 1/2 cups sliced cucumber seeds removed
2 tablespoons mint thinly sliced or small mint leaves
1/3 cup feta cheese crumbled
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
salt and pepper to taste
1.  Place the watermelon, cucumber and mint in a large bowl.
2.  In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice and salt and pepper.
3.  Drizzle the dressing over the melon mixture and toss to coat. Sprinkle with feta and serve.
Dessert - Frozen Peanut Butter Pie Squares
1/4 cup non-hydrogenated margarine
3/4 cup Kraft Smooth Peanut Butter, divided
35 Nilla Vanilla Wafers, finely crushed (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
pkg. (250 g) Philadelphia Brick Cream Cheese, softened 
1/2 cup sugar
cups thawed Cool Whip Whipped Topping
Tbsp. chocolate syrup

Step 1:  Line 8-inch square pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides. Microwave margarine and 1/4 cup peanut butter in medium microwaveable bowl on HIGH 40 sec.; stir until margarine is melted and mixture is well blended. Stir in crumbs and nuts; press onto bottom of prepared pan.
Step 2:  Beat cream cheese, sugar and remaining peanut butter in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Gently stir in Cool Whip; spread over crust.
Step 3:  Drizzle with syrup; swirl with knife. Freeze 3 hours or until firm. Use foil handles to lift dessert from pan before cutting into squares.

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