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Summer Barbeque: Part II

Now that we covered some grill offerings, let’s look at a few accompaniments that might make our barbeque a hit!

Salads seem pivotal to a meal, and the variations are many!  Let’s look at a few options.

Pasta salad. Small-cut red pepper pieces, green olives, finely-sliced carrots, quartered artichoke hearts, chopped celery, all go quite nicely with smaller pasta (e.g., meze rigatoni, farfelle, tortellini, ditalini, cellantani).  Low-cal salad dressing (either store bought or homemade) make this dish complete!  NOTE: Using a variety of veggie colors will allow this dish to stand out.

Green salad. There are different lettuce types to choose in leafy salads (iceberg, romaine, spring mix, etc.).  Cherry tomatoes, red onion, cucumbers, radishes, etc., often complete the mix.  For a tasty deviation from the typical fare, maybe toss together baby spinach leaves, dried cranberries, slice almonds or spiced pecans, and raspberry vinaigrette dressing.  Yummy!

Potato salad. Another standard pleaser in cookout gatherings, hard-boiled eggs enhance the culinary experience.  Potatoes are high in carbohydrates and low in fiber, though, so try using low-fat mayonnaise so your diet is not ruined.

Cole slaw. Cole slaw is another favorite.  The straw-sized cabbage and carrots are actually good for you!  To keep with a healthy theme, use low-fat mayo or fat-free salad dressing to please you palate (and waist).  For an interesting twist, add a few raisins or slivered almonds.

Fruit. There is no denying the fact that fruit not only tastes great, it is also good for you.  Cut-up watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, apple, pineapple, strawberries, etc., make for one impressive arrangement.

Other items such as fresh veggies, salsa or guacamole with nachos, baked beans, chips with dip, and deviled eggs (try making them with low-fat Miracle Whip salad dressing, mustard, and a little sweet pepper relish), are almost certain to be a winner.

And drinks? Besides the non-alcoholic variety such as Coke or Pepsi, ginger ale, Sprite, lemonade, water, and seltzer, maybe consider beer, hard lemonade, wine coolers, fruity wine (and perhaps even Mojitos and Margaritas!).

The best is yet to come!  Last, but certainly not least, dessert!

Barbeque desserts tend to come in bite-size squares or thinly sliced pieces (so many people can be served).  Homemade or store-bought cookies, fudge (don’t keep it in the sun as it will melt), brownies, chocolate or nut bars, are all outdoor favorites.

Cakes also top the list.  One easy variety to make is called “Better Than,” well, never mind.  Anyway, cook a white or yellow cake in a 13″ by 9″ pan.  After it has cooled, poke several holes on the surface.  Empty one large can crushed pineapple evenly on top, making sure to spread to the corners (the pineapple and juices will seep into the cake).  Mix two packages of instant vanilla pudding with three cups of milk and spread evening over pineapple.  Empty one container of Cool Whip (or real whipped topping) on top.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  The originator of this cake is unclear, but it does go a long way (and many people who enjoy a creamy pineapple flavor love the taste!).

Another dessert thought?  Banana pudding!  In a large bowl, layer vanilla wafers, two boxes of instant pudding with two cups of milk and small container of Cool Whip, and bananas.  The result?  Delicious!

Barbeques are synonymous with warmer weather even if the sun fails to attend.  With a little planning, your outdoor party will be a huge success.

Summers in New England seem to go as quickly as the winters seem to come.  So, while the moment is here, enjoy!

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