Let’s skip the intro and get right to it: Your place just got volunteered to be the location of the cookout this weekend and you’re kind of freaking out. You don’t have any ideas for a menu, drinks, decor or entertainment, and you certainly don’t have much time. While this certainly seems like an opportune time to make a joke about the irony of having too much on your plate to plan a menu for a cookout, we’ll just get right to the helping you fill plates instead.
We are in the dog days of summer, so why not serve up a dish of hotdogs? We’re going to go an extra (and easy) step, though. Slice up a pack of regular hotdogs into small pieces and place in a baking dish. Mix in your favorite barbecue sauce, and bake for about half an hour on 350 degrees. Dump the dogs on a serving plate with some cheese cubes and a cup of toothpicks and you now have an impromptu plate of cocktail weenies.
Nothing keeps guests happy like a big plate of mixed veggies and tasty dips. If you’re pressed for time, just grab one of those ready-to-go veggie platters, complete with dip. It is worth a few extra minutes to make up your own bean dip or a sour cream dip.
One of the easiest dips to make calls for mixing a 10 ounce can of Ro-Tel tomatoes and green chilies, a 15 ounce can of Hormel chili (no beans) and a pound of Velveeta cheese spread in a crockpot or in a pot on the stove over low heat. Give it a stir, and that’s all for this one. No really, that’s it.
The sour cream dips are easy: Mix a16 ounce tub of sour cream with a packet of dry onion soup mix, put it in the fridge for an hour or so and it is ready to serve.
What’s easier to grill than a kabob? Cut up some pineapple, peaches, pears and bananas and marinade them in some white wine. After half an hour or so, run a kabob skewer through them, give them a few minutes on the grill at medium heat and that’s it! Pair up any of these with vanilla ice cream and this dessert is done!
Some of you might have a hard time turning to this one, but hey, if you are really strapped for time you gotta do what you gotta do. There’s no shame in ordering up some pizza for your cookout! You can also take a frozen pizza and slice up some small pieces for an easy appetizer. If you’re going this route go for the $7 “gourmet” frozen pizza, not the $2 store brand.
The drinks are the last thing you need to stress about for the party. One sweep through your local store and you can have everything you need. Grab a few types of wine (RELAX Wine’s screw tops are perfect for parties, and you have your pick of Cool Red or Riesling) and just grab a couple cases of beer! Actually, for the beer you can now bring home your own mini-keg for the fridge! Screw tops and mini-kegs – it doesn’t get much easier than that.
If this is your first cookout of the year, be sure to read our tips on gearing up to grill, and if you’re still trying to figure out your entertainment, check out our tips to make your party the one to beat.