Summer Entertaining Ideas

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grilled clams and squid Summertime entertaining is in full bloom with backyard barbeques, pool parties and endless celebrations. Here’s just a few of my tried and true recipes that I make quite often during the summer and have always been a hit with friends and family.

Impress your guests with some Grilled Calamari, I buy mine already cleaned so all you have to do is marinate it in olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper. When you’re ready to grill it, place it into a grill basket so it’s easy to toss around to achieve a nice char, it only takes about 5 minutes with the gas burners on high.

Grilled Clams with Tomato, Wine and Sausage Sauce, I would say this is a terrific dish for Father’s Day, it’s a manly meal, messy and good, just serve some crusty bread to soak up that luscious sauce! grilled seafood Did you know you can cook lobster on the grill? Well you can and it tastes amazing! I always remove the lobster meat this way, it’s full proof, then all you have to do is brush your lobster down with a mixture of garlic and butter or olive oil, sprinkle paprika on top then place shell side down with the lobster meat perched on top directly on the grill,  cook on medium until opaque, so delicious!

How about a Seafood Boil, it’s casual eating where every thing is placed in front of you and all that is needed is some cold wine and good conversation!

Anything planked is fine by me, salmon, cheese, vegetables, shrimp, you name it, I’ve done it and posted it here on my blog. The smokey wood flavor that comes from the boards enhance everything you place on it.  Here’s another favorite of mine, Prosciutto Wrapped Scallops. summer grilling Who doesn’t like Beer Can Chicken, it always comes out so moist on the inside and crispy on the outside, it never fails!

How about some pork? You can’t go wrong with Italian sausage, ribs or chops. But maybe you’re in the mood for some shish kabobs complete with the veggies, all you’ll need is a salad or two on the side and your meal is complete! Italian party food Nine times out of ten at every big party I always serve  Sausage and Peppers and Baked Mostaccioli, you got to have some pasta, and besides it feeds a ton of people! party sides We’re artichoke obsessed in my family and these Grilled Artichokes always go so fast, they’re easy to make, it’s a nice light summertime version.

Make an impression with a beautiful round platter filled with thin cut Zucchini Carpaccio, sprinkled with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, a great way to use up all your garden zucchini and a pretty impressive looking side dish. grilled veggie pizza Grilled Veggie Pizza, Oh My! I have two words for you. Make It! grilled shrimp and orzo salad Next time you have to bring something to a party, bring this! Orzo with Grilled Shrimp and Feta, the flavor combination is out of this world good. I get asked to make this all the time.

Grilled shrimp (marinate the shrimp in lemon peel, lemon juice, olive oil, crushed garlic, and a pinch of red pepper flakes, then grill)
Cooked orzo pasta
Diced and seeded English cucumber
Diced red onion
Crumbled feta
Grape tomatoes, halved
Kalamata olives
 Lemon zest
Mint, parsley, oregano
Make a vinaigrette by whisking 3 parts good olive oil to 1 part fresh squeezed lemon juice, add 1 crushed garlic clove, salt and pepper. Taste it to your liking either adding more or less. Place all ingredients in a bowl, adding all the herbs, more feta, (make sure it’s in small crumbles) pour your vinaigrette over all the ingredients, taste it and make sure you have enough of everything! Adjust it to your liking.
Garnish with lemon slices.     Note: This was a huge catering pan, I used 3lbs. of cooked orzo and 2 lbs of medium shrimp, the rest of the ingredients I just judged until I thought I had enough, look at it and taste as you go!

party desserts And lastly you have to have some kind of dessert, my friend Debbie makes the best good old fashioned Lemon Bars, a combination of buttery shortbread and tangy, bright lemon. They’re irresistible and get devoured! She’s happy to share her recipe with you below.

And finally, this Grape Salad, people go bonkers over it, there won’t be one grape left in the bowl, trust me!

Happy Entertaining!

Deb's Lemon Bars
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter at room temp
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup, powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups, granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons, fresh lemon juice ( a must!)
  1. Preheat oven to 350, mix crust ingredients and pat into a 9 x 13 ungreased pan, spread to corners. I do this with my fork and fingers.
  2. Cook for 15 - 20 minutes, while it's cooking make the topping.
  3. Mix the topping together and pour carefully over the baked crust and bake for additional 25 minutes.
  4. Cut with a sharp knife after it has cooled and then dust with powdered sugar.
  5. Note from Marie:( I added lemon zest for garnish, totally optional )
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  1. Making the grilled shrimp orzo salad for father’s day…..everyone loves it!

  2. I want it all!

  3. Wonderful ideas…let summer begin!!

  4. Thanks for all the good ideas and recipes–I’ll be back to plan my next menu 🙂

  5. wow, the baked mastaciolli on the grill is a wonderful idea! what a great spread of grilling ideas, Italian style! Thanks Marie!

  6. Marie- You know you run the risk of having all your readers show up at your door when they see this bounty of delicious dishes you set forth. I want to move next door to you!

  7. Marie, you presented so many recipes from the past that I’ve adored! The clams are especially delicious. I really don’t use my grill enough–you’ve inspired me!

  8. I’m mesmerized by that grilled veggie pizza!

  9. I’ve bookmarked this fabulous post Marie and I now have my entire summer dinner menu completely planned out-thanks!

  10. Just had a ‘First Day of Summer’ party this weekend and made three of your recipes – Sausage and peppers, orzo shrimp salad and the grilled corn with tarragon & crème fraiche. THANKS SO MUCH for the great recipes – everyone loved the dinner and I told them all where they could find more great recipes like these. You made me look really good to all of my guests! thanks 🙂