With summer in full swing, it’s about time to host a cookout! There’s nothing like getting some of your close friends and family together to relax, share some laughs, and enjoy some delicious, fire-grilled eats after a long work week. As a host, however, the event can be a little more stressful. If you feel overwhelmed, it’s okay. We’re here to help, and to open your eyes to all the amazing ways Stonyfield yogurt can feature in your BBQ.
Some light beer and wine packed on ice for your adult friends is a welcome addition. Be sure to also include some tasty non-alcoholic beverages for kiddos and those who choose not to partake – juice, seltzer, lemonade, and iced tea are great options. Water is also non-negotiable on a hot day!
Be sure to let your guests know that if they want something specific to sip on that they are welcome to bring it. And finally, get more ice than you think you’ll need! Trust us on this one… it goes quick, and nobody wants to drink a lukewarm beer or lemonade.
A quintessential cookout will usually have these: some snacks, a couple (or more) cold salads, some grilled meats/main dishes, and dessert. That is quite the list, and it’s totally okay to outsource some of these necessities to guests who are often eager to contribute. However, with a little preparation (think day before! You don’t want to be tearing around the kitchen crunched for time on the day of the gathering) and some of our delicious recipes, you’ve got all you need to meal on your own.
The crudité is a reliable standby. People can snack on celery, carrots, bell pepper slices, and cherry tomatoes without fear of filling up before the main event. Add some pizzazz to your vegetable spread by prepping our Onion or Blue Cheese Avocado dip. Creamy Hummus with Greek Yogurt offers a different texture and taste, too. Although your veggies are sure to be all but irresistible when paired with knockout dips, you’ll also want to cater to your more vegetable-averse guests, who likely wouldn’t eat a floret of broccoli if their lives depended on it. That’s okay! Consider Deviled Eggs or Mexican Seven Layer Dip.
Cold salads are ideal to prep in advance, as extra time in the fridge melds all the different flavors. To start, there is the classic potato salad. Vegetable and grain-based salads are also tasty choices, and will delight any vegetarian friends you might have who are often dismayed by the average cookout menu. A summery corn and bean salad or a Cucumber Tomato Salad with Dill Yogurt Dressing would do quite nicely!
The stars of the show – char up some Lemon Garlic Chicken Kebabs, BBQ Yogurt Marinated Chicken, or Veggie Kabobs with Curry Yogurt Sauce. Burgers and Dogs are always great options, too. Leave a little room just in case a guest brings something, like a veggie burger, that’s more their style. And for your food’s sake, make sure you stay close by! It would be a bummer to prep any of these recipes and then have them reduce to nothing on your grill because you got caught up in a game of horseshoes.
Now is probably not the time for anything too elaborate. Some of your guests may even need to take a breather before they consider digging into something sweet. A light option is a fresh fruit salad. Consider offering Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Fruit Dip to dollop on top! Peach basil shortcake is a delightful seasonal spin on classic strawberry, and offers the added benefit of being able to be assembled by your guests (a.k.a. less work for you! YAY!) Finally, Chocolate Zucchini Cake capitalizes on the abundance of squash in the summer time… if your neighbor gifted you a few too many earlier in the week or you picked up more than you thought at the store, this is a great option!
If you have the means, a good playlist will set the tone for a fun-filled afternoon. Include a mix of different upbeat genres to avoid arguing over who gets to play DJ. Lawn games are always popular! Corn hole, croquet, ladder ball… you name it. Even folks who don’t consider themselves the competitive type can’t resist watching (or joining in)! If your meal wraps up when the sun goes down, a fire is a great opportunity to gather everyone around to digest and visit, which is the best part of the whole event. Keep some graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate, and some sticks on hand for anyone who wants a second dessert. And don’t be surprised if your hit BBQ lasts much longer into the night than you originally planned!
So there you have it. Ideas abound, and you’re armed with plenty of helpful tips and reminders! Now all’s that left to do is pick, plan, and enjoy. Happy grilling!