Summertime is all about getting together with friends, enjoying the sun and beating the heat with cool drinks and time at the pool. Good food adds to the fun, especially when you don't have to spend a whole lot of time and effort on it. Here are a few ideas to consider for your own next pool party.
The Hand-Crafted Fruit Salad
Shapes of Things
Wash, pare, core or stem the fruit as appropriate, and then start cutting. Instead of the usual cubes, use cookie cutters (the kids can help) to make distinctive shapes. Kiwi, dragonfruit and melon are all cookie-cutter friendly, grapes can be halved, and apple or pear slices trimmed into pretty crescents.
Toss the decorative fruit shapes in a pretty serving bowl with fresh mint leaves, and a handful of vividly colorful berries. Sprinkle the finished salad with lemon-lime soda, chill quickly in your fridge while you prepare for all the compliments from your poolside guests.
Everything is more fun when you eat it from a skewer. Grilled Mediterranean-style kabobs are a barbecue-season staple, and cold fruit or veggie skewers are perfect side dishes for hot days, so why not plan your party around doing both?
Chilled and Grilled Skewers
Marinate chicken, pork, beef or lamb in a lemon/olive oil/salt and pepper marinade, and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes. Then, thread the pieces onto skewers for grilling.
Your cold skewers should complement them, so look for Mediterranean-style combinations. For example, you might put mozzarella, basil leaves and cherry tomatoes together as Caprese-on-a-stick, or combine mixed olives, artichoke hearts and prosciutto-wrapped melon as antipasto skewers. Keep cool in one of the Family Hub's many temperature controlled drawers until you are ready to eat.
The Taco Bar
Look up a Mexican-themed layered dip and a few of your favorite taco recipes using the Family Hub's browser or AllRecipes app, then compile the ingredients into a shopping list and sync it to your phone. On the day, shred the lettuce and cheese ahead of time and make up your fresh salsa, guacamole or whatever other toppings and sides you like.
Taco Bar Prep
Slide the divider into your Flex Duo oven, and set one half for keeping warm and the other to 350 degrees F. Wrap the corn tortillas in foil in stacks of four or five, and heat them in the hot oven while you prepare the fillings—shredding chicken, grilling carne asada or fish, or doing interesting things with tofu and black beans—and put them into the warming oven.
Once you've got enough tortillas warmed and more in the oven for seconds, bring out the tortilla chips, dips, sides and fillings and set them out on a poolside table. Then wrap the foil packs of tortillas in a clean kitchen towel to keep them warm, and bring them out as well. Expect to make a lot of trips to the warming oven, because tacos go fast!
Photo Credits: Kris Robertson/Demand Media
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