If a person is nice (and adventurous) enough to invite my herd to a BBQ or backyard party, I try to bring along a little something to show my gratitude. Here are three quick and easy items that typically go over well with my friends and family.
There is not a person on the planet that can resist the combination of cream cheese and shredded cheddar. This savory appetizer usually gets gobbled up pretty quick. I pair it with my favorite crackers (usually Club, Townhouse Rounds or Triscuits), or if I am feeling really healthy I will provide sliced cucumbers, as an option, on the serving plate.
This recipe comes from my mom and aunt, however I alter it to serve my family’s preference. The original recipe calls for Miracle Whip, but my husband will only tolerate real Mayo. My middle child is also a black olive lover, so I tend to add more of them to this dish because it makes her happy and that is what moms do for their kids.
Cheddar Cheeseball Recipe
- 8 oz. Cheddar cheese, shredded
6 oz. Cream cheese softened
1/3 cup of Mayo
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp. Garlic salt
1/8 tsp. Celery salt
1/4 tsp. Celery seeds
One 2.25 oz. can of sliced black olives (*Don’t be afraid to add two cans if your household enjoys these delicious black rounds of goodness!)
Combine all ingredients and shape into a ball. Refrigerate until ready to serve. This dish is great to make a day ahead of time. We tend to skip sprinkling nuts over the top, but a lot of people like to add a 1/4 cup of pecans or walnuts.
No summer get-together is complete without a fire pit going full blaze once the sun sets. If you are busy and not in the mood to cook or prepare a dish, then I would highly recommend being the cool parent and bringing yummy essentials that are necessary to make S’mores. Adding different ingredients for S’mores is a way to really up this campfire treat’s game. It is also a nice twist to the simple S’more sandwich.
My mother-in-law is great at being creative with a S’more recipe. One of her favorites includes using Keebler Fudge Stripes cookies instead of regular graham crackers. This way a person does not even have to buy chocolate.
- 1 package Keebler Fudge Stripes Cookies
1 package of Regular or Jumbo Marshmallows.
Another Smore’s twist allows for altering the regular old chocolate bar. My kids have enjoyed roasting marshmallows and then squishing them onto a graham cracker with a Caramello Candy Bar, Rolos, or Heath Bar. The addition of caramel or toffee makes for an even more deliciously gooey bedtime snack.
I know some people can not get away from a traditional S’more, and that is okay. A parent is still awesome for supplying the regular shopping list of marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate squares. If a person wants to keep it real, they could get adventurous by providing Stacker-Mallows. They are square shaped marshmallows that fit perfectly on a graham cracker and get fire roasted to perfection over an open flame. Kiddos think they are the coolest, and they pretty much are when it comes to making the perfect S’more.
The Best Summer Cocktail
I don’t mind cooking and baking, but sometimes it is fun to bring a cool cocktail to the party for some adult enjoyment. My in-laws and I discovered this drink one weekend while we were all spending quality time together at the river. It is refreshing and easy to make. Plus, it does not require a lot of ingredients, time, or energy. Also, if you want to make it kid-friendly just lose the vodka. My children always enjoy this mocktail on hot days with friends and family.
- 1 can of Squirt or Diet Squirt (based on preference)
1 shot of Vodka
2 cups crushed or shaved ice
1/4 Fresh Lemon
Pour Squirt over ice into large tumbler. Add vodka. Squeeze lemon into the drink, then drop it into the concoction. Stir well. Lots of ice is the key, because this drink is so good cold especially during a very humid day. It would be great served in a Yeti insulated container, or the off-brand, Ozark Cup, they sell at Walmart. (*I hear these tumblers are just as good at keeping liquid cold, and not as expensive as the original Yeti cup.)
Do you have a side-dish that accompanies you to every gathering? What is your favorite summer cocktail? Let us know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or leaving a comment.