Sunday, May 31, 2020

A Make-Ahead Menu for Summer Entertaining

I’1000 sharing a Make-Ahead Menu for Summer Entertaining – consummate alongside appetizers, the primary grade, drinks, and dessert! I’k including exactly how I prep each recipe to brand your get-together equally low-stress as well as every bit fun every bit possible! With these tips, yous’ll be able to pass fourth dimension amongst your guests, and non inwards the kitchen! And every bit a bonus, yous will appear similar the entertaining goddess I know you are.

Shot of two women smiling and opening a bottle of wine

Probably the nigh requested subject for this Summer Entertaining Series has been “How do I prepare everything (or virtually of the carte) ahead of fourth dimension, then I can take fun alongside my guests and not live in the kitchen constantly?!” And that’s precisely what this mail is ALL virtually. From appetizers, to dinner, to dessert (& cocktails also!) – these are the recipes and methods that will salve the stress of throwing a party.

Shot of a tablescape in a garden

As long every bit y'all’re willing to pose in a niggling go the solar day before and forenoon of, you lot will be a pro at throwing a summer party.

And whatsoever party, for that thing! This goes for modest parties, bigger parties, and truly whatever variety of entertaining y'all desire to make. Whether it’sec having your sis over, a few friends, or hosting a bigger political party! All of these tips tin aid yous when throwing whatsoever type of gathering.

Shot of a woman pouring wine into a glass with a plate of strawberries and chocolate in front

The biggest affair for me, is making certain to keep everything equally unproblematic together with low-stress every bit possible. The recipes inward this menu are generally assembly-based. H5N1 little flake of chopping, marinating, too grilling, only well-nigh of it is but a matter of putting things together.

Everything is super fresh, in addition to exactly the kind of food y'all crave inwards the summer, from the best peach caprese, to super simple five-ingredient flank steak, to the nigh delicious make-ahead brûléed banana peanut butter pie.

Can you lot fifty-fifty?!

Shot of a smiling woman sitting at a beautiful tables cape in a garden holding a can of beer

H5N1 go-down of the carte du jour:

(in addition to allow me simply preface this past proverb, you tin make every bit many and as few of these recipes as y'all want, depending on the type of gathering!)


  • Influenza A virus subtype H5N1 Summer Cheeseboard

  • Peach Caprese with Mint, Pistachios, in addition to Honey

  • The Best Summer Gazpacho

Main Course:

  •  five-Ingredient Flank Steak

(alongside grilled vegetables too roasted potatoes)

  • Mediterranean Chopped Salad with Lemon Garlic Shrimp


  • Mango Dark Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

  • Brûléed Peanut Butter Banana Pie


  • iii Pitcher Cocktail Recipes (+ a pitcher mocktail as well!)

So basically, you could selection one from each category if y'all wanted, brand ALL of it, or maybe just brand a duo of the appetizers for more than of a happy hour/casual go together! It’sec 100% up to you lot, simply I want to demonstrate you lot guys how to make everything ahead of time!

Let’sec get started..

with appetizers!

Overhead shot of a colorful summer cheeseboard

How to Build a Summer Cheeseboard

For this i, I become super inward depth in the post on how to pose this together, merely I will outline it hither also. You tin can definitely brand this ahead of fourth dimension, as well as stick it in the refrigerator (minus crackers as well as nuts), if your fridge is big plenty, depending on the size board yous’re using.

Another affair I’ve done, if it’s as well big to agree inwards the refrigerator, is assemble the entire board, then twine it inward plastic roll, and place water ice packs over the cheeses together with fruit/veg to proceed it cold! This plant really well.

And if neither of those options go for yous, something to brand prep a lilliputian easier, is:

  • wash + cut veggies together with fruit the morning time of

  • spoon jams, preserves, condiments, mustards into ramekins/bowls (this can be done the solar day earlier)

  • piece your baguette

  • accept a general design of the mode yous’re going to arrange your cheeses then yous aren’t scrambling final minute! (one’ve fifty-fifty sketched it out on a piece of paper in a diagram sort of fashion, if you lot’re more than of a visual mortal!)

I mean, who doesn’t love a cheeseboard?! This is something I ALWAYS serve at whatsoever form of go-together, because #ane, who doesn’t beloved cheese? And #two, at that place’second something for everyone, together with your guests tin can selection at it equally they please. And it’sec a showstopper!

Peach Caprese with Mint, Pistachios, and Honey

Although I take made this one completely ahead of time as well as stuck it in the refrigerator, I wouldn’t recommend doing it that manner, because the mint as well as pistachios become a piddling soggy.

This is how I’d prep it ahead:

  • piece your fresh mozzarella as well as stick it back inward the refrigerator (tin be done the twenty-four hour period earlier or morn of)

  • chop your pistachios together with fix them aside

  • if yous want to, you tin measure out out your champagne vinegar, olive petroleum, in addition to love likewise!

  • i’d relieve your peach-slicing for the rattling concluding infinitesimal, since they tin can brownish in addition to oxidize if you lot slice them besides early

  • get together around thirty minutes before guests arrive – it tastes best if it comes downwardly to room temperature a trivial scrap!

Overhead shot of a bowl of orange gazpacho topped with tomatoes, corn, basil, chives, and olive oil, with another bowl of gazpacho peeking out in the top left

The Best Summer Gazpacho

This is more than of an appetizer class, merely to make it more happy hour & party-friendly, yous tin can serve them inwards shot glasses! I as well take a shot drinking glass gazpacho recipe inward my cookbook that I cannot WAIT to part alongside you lot guys.

This recipe is SO proficient together with it tastes only similar summertime. I can’t go plenty of it! This is perfect for a super hot twenty-four hour period or outdoor political party.

You can 100% make this ahead of time, chill it in the refrigerator (but keep it inwards the blender that you blended it inwards!), together with pour it into shot glasses or piffling bowls when you’re make to serve, too lastly, garnish it alongside corn, tomatoes, chives, basil, and olive fossil oil!

I definitely recommend doing the shot spectacles though – they’re and so cute in addition to fun!

And directly, on to the main form!

Overhead shot of a platter of flank steak, grilled vegetables, and roasted potatoes

five Ingredient Flank Steak

I love this steak so much and it’sec such a crowd pleaser. And it’s EASY. You tin can make it literally 24 hours ahead of time, and and then but grill it when you’re make! (And grilling is e'er something you can go people to aid you alongside!)

The marinade is five elementary ingredients, too I notice it tastes best when you marinate it for 24 hours. If 12 hours is all you take time for, that’sec totally fine besides!

I beloved serving this with grilled vegetables, and roasted potatoes. But if you lot’re looking for tardily sides, these balsamic thyme grilled peppers and lemony farro arugula salad would be awesome alongside the steak likewise! And if you don’t heed turning on your oven, these mexican sweetness murphy fries with avocado aioli are fabulous.

Overhead close up shot of a mediterranean chopped salad with shrimp

Mediterranean Chopped Salad amongst Lemon Garlic Shrimp

This recipe makes a huge salad, and then it’sec perfect to feed a crowd at a smaller political party, or you lot tin go far to serve amongst the flank steak for a surf & turf variety of meal at a larger party!

One thing I’d do to brand things a little easier, is skewer as well as grill the shrimp if you’re already making the flank steak. If you’re simply making this for the entrée, y'all tin can totally but follow the recipe as-is, and prepare the shrimp on the stove peak!

To make this salad ahead of time, I’d first here:

  • make the vinaigrette upward to 3 days inward advance

  • marinate the shrimp the twenty-four hour period of, in addition to merely go along them inwards the refrigerator (as well as skewer them if you lot’re grilling instead of sautéing)

  • clean too chop your greens in addition to vegetables upwardly to a 24-hour interval in advance, or the morning time of

  • ready/grill the shrimp once y'all’re fix to serve, in addition to y'all’re at that place!

This salad is the salad I’one thousand craving constantly. It’sec SO GOOD.

And immediately for the sweet material..


Mango dark chocolate ice cream cone in a glass jar with another behind it

Mango Dark Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

I sympathize that making ice cream from scratch mightiness not be the real kickoff thing on your to-do list when hosting guests. I totally get it! I will order that this is the EASIEST water ice cream recipe. It’second isn’t no-churn, only it’sec as tardily every bit it gets when it comes to existent-deal water ice cream. And there’s no custard making or eggs required! Which tin live super fussy. The water ice cream base is made totally in the blender!

To make this ahead of time:

  • you tin arrive a few days ahead of fourth dimension, in addition to simply continue it inwards the freezer, tightly covered

  • or, yous could pause upwardly the prep, and brand the ice cream base of operations a few days ahead of time, continue it chilled inwards the fridge, too then just churn in addition to freeze your ice cream the twenty-four hour period earlier! Either way would function perfectly.

Plus, you lot’ll totally impress everyone that yous made it from scratch!

Overhead shot of a brûléed banana pie against a white background with pink tulips in the bottom left

Brûléed Peanut Butter Banana Pie

This i is a showstopper likewise. And it’second amazingly delicious. Like, tin’t-finish-eating-the-filling-together with- mightiness-not-be-able-to-brand-the-pie delicious.

To make this ahead of time:

  • make the crust, too make full with the filling 24-hour interval earlier, cover amongst plastic wrap as well as freeze for at to the lowest degree 12 hours, or overnight

There are 2 options for creating the brûléed tiptop. One requires your broiler, and the other, uses a kitchen torch!

  • If yous’re using the broiler to brulée the acme, two hours before y'all’re make to serve, withdraw the pie from the freezer. Then, follow the broiler instructions inwards the recipe, so home back into the freezer to re-freeze for at to the lowest degree 2 hours.

  • If you’re using a kitchen torch to brulée the summit, one time yous’re ready to serve, take away the pie from the freezer. Follow the recipe instructions, in addition to use a kitchen torch to caramelize the carbohydrate until it’s deeply gold brownish. If the pie seems to take melted a scrap, you tin home it back into the freezer for a few minutes to house dorsum upward.

  • You tin can also make either of these methods ahead of fourth dimension, completely freeze the pie once again, too let it thaw when you’re ready to serve, just ideally, you lot don’t want to freeze it more than than ii hours – whatsoever longer, too just about of the brûléed season starts to get away!

shot of a plate of strawberries and chocolate

close up shot of a plate of strawberries and s'mores chocolate

Chocolate as well as Fruit

If y'all want to serve something more on the simple side, you tin do chocolate bars in addition to strawberries! I institute those super cute second’mores chocolate bars at Trader Joe’second, only y'all tin can role whatsoever your faves are! Sometimes I observe that “snack desserts” like this are super fun for summer. Especially if people are likewise busy drinking cocktails in addition to rosé!

Which brings me to the final category – drinks!

Forward facing shot of 4 pitcher cocktails

iii Pitcher Cocktail Recipes (+ a pitcher mocktail too!)

We’ve got:

  • Classic Pitcher Margaritas

  • Strawberry Lemonade Basil Fizz

  • Peach Elderflower Gin Cocktail

  • Watermelon Mint Mojito Mocktail

And the best function is, all of the recipes tin live made ahead of fourth dimension! You tin make all of the cocktail pitchers upwardly to iii hours ahead of time, as well as chill them in the refrigerator. Then, simply add together ice right earlier serving, or only add together ice to the glasses themselves, too serve it upwardly!

Close up shot of a bucket filled with bottles of rosé Shot of someone dropping strawberries into glasses of champagne

And in addition to cocktails, approximately vino and beer as well! AND on Friday, I have the virtually fun post for yous guys – as well as it has to do with all of my favorite adult drinkable picks for summertime! So stay tuned. 🙂

If you brand any of these recipes during the series, or if I inspire you lot host whatever form of political party or become-together, be sure to tag me, @spicesinmydna, too hashtag #summerentertainingseries on Instagram or Facebook! I absolutely LOVE seeing what yous guys make!

All of the lifestyle photos were taken by the super talented Brittany of Brittany Dunbar Photography.