Stylish Notes on Entertaining :: Simple Summer Party Food

via Pinterest

The weekend is just around the corner and as many of us are more apt to have an impromptu get together when it's warmer out, I thought I would share some of the fabulous food ideas I've been collecting and curating. It's much too easy to get carried away with the food preparation and detail. If you're like me you want to please your crowd, but as a result you often spend more time in the kitchen than you do with your guests. The trick to being able to relax at your own get together is to be able to serve things that have been prepared in advance, or items that your guests can put together. Slaving over a hot grill cooking up burgers, dogs and chicken doesn't strike me as particularly relaxing, or even comfortable on a hot summer night. Chicken can be grilled and sliced in advance, served either cold or at room temperature. The same can be said with steak. Offer nice dipping sauces like chimichurri or horseradish or mustard sauces to accompany your meats. Salads of all sorts can be prepared the morning of the party - simply leave off the dressings until you're ready to serve. Pasta, potato and Caesar salads are always crowd pleasers. Tapas platters, assorted breads, cheeses and olives are simple to serve as are antipasti platters and make your own bruschettas. Anything served on skewers are not only fun but easy to eat. Create your own antipasto skewers, tortellini served on skewers with a pesto dipping sauce, shrimp and chorizo on skewers, even mellon balls wrapped in prosciutto. Skewers are both fun and easy to serve and eat, but do try to avoid anything that is complicated to create as we're looking to create simple party food!

via Saveur Magazine

Antipasto platters are fun and easy to put together. An assortment of cured meats, cheeses, olives and raw and marinated vegetables is all it takes to put together this simple, pretty, crowd pleasing platter. Serve with rustic breads, toasts or crackers.

via The Entertaining House/ The Entertaining Kitchen

Perhaps one of the easiest things to assemble are footlong sandwiches on crusty baguettes. The sandwich above is comprised of arugula, prosciutto, mozzarella and drizzled with olive oil, and fresh lemon juice. The sandwich below contains fresh tomatoes (at the height of tomato season) and fresh basil with a thin layer of garlic and herb Boursin cheese.  These sandwiches can be cut prior to serving, or simply leave a bread knife by the sandwiches and let your guests cut their own slices.

via The Entertaining House/ The Entertaining Kitchen

You can create any combination will work but in the summertime I do prefer to take advantage of all the wonderful fresh produce that is available to us.

via Honestly Yum

I love the idea of Simply Yum's crostini bar. For more information click here.

via Savory Sweet Life

This recipe above for Asian Inspired Flat Iron steak by Savory Sweet Life was adapted from The Pioneer Woman.

via The Entertaining House/ The Entertaining Kitchen

Who doesn't love a Caesar salad? This salad is so easy to make in advance and can serve many guests. A smart crowd pleaser! This is my favorite dressing - one that I adapted from Cooking Light years ago. Click here for recipe.

via What's Gabby Cooking

I'm also a huge fan of Greek salads for their ease and flavor. I love the take on this version by What's Gabby Cooking. Click here for the recipe.

via Pinterest

 Chef's Salad on a skewer? I love the idea of the individual dressings that accompany these!

via A Cedar Spoon

Another item most guests can't turn down is a good pasta salad. There are a million varieties. Take advantage of what's in the garden or what your local farmer's market has. Orzo is a fun and light alternative and this delicious looking recipe from A Cedar Spoon can be found here

On warmer days you'll want to perhaps keep the food inside where it's cool, then let your guests venture outside with their food. To keep your party simple you may want to avoid offering your guests choices from a full bar, and instead have a healthy supply of chilled beer, wine and water.

What simple, delicious dishes do you serve for your impromptu get togethers that you would like to share with us?

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!