A Perfect (and Affordable) Soirée

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It’s that time of year when you just want to be outside in a summer dress — flipping burgers and sipping a refreshing drink with your friends and family.  Setting up a summer BBQ party can be easy on your wallet AND stress-free so you can enjoy your party with your guests.  Here are my top 5 tips for planning your fabulous summer soirée:

 1)  Buy party decorations off-season. The best time to buy colorful and affordable party table items is after a holiday or summer season when the items are on sale and clearance.  Pick up some reusable (plastic) glasses from your local party goods store.  They won’t break and are dishwasher safe, making for easy clean up.  Often you can find the glasses in a variety of colors and use them for parties year-round.  You can even set up the glasses as centerpieces and add some flowers.

Acrylic Stacking Double Old-Fashioned Glasses from Crate and Barrel

2)  Use what you own. If you already have paper plates and plastic utensils in your home, use them up before buying new supplies.  Take a bright-colored paper napkin, wrap it around a plastic fork, knife and spoon, tie it up with another color ribbon and display the finished utensil sets in a basket with your paper plates.   

Courtesy of The Hip Hostess

3)  Buy a grill pan.  For those of us living in NYC, it’s often a challenge to find an outdoor area to BBQ.  To get the full summer dinner experience, I turn to my handy, non-stick grill pan to do the trick. Most grill pans cost less than $40 and will last forever (or close to it).  The grill pan cooks food quickly, requires little clean up and is a healthy way to prepare food.

 

 

4)  Don’t spend hours cooking food for your party.  Grill up some sliders, chop up some burger toppings, grill some veggies (like asparagus) and buy a few prepared items, i.e. potato salad, cole slaw and chips.  Just throw a few small burger patties on the grill pan next to a few thin slices of onion and you’re on your way to a delicious meal.  You can even toast the buns on the pan!  Set up the dinner items buffet or family style and let your guests dig in!  If you are looking for some yummy grilling recipe ideas, check out Cooking Light’s “Budget-Friendly Grilling Recipes.”  

Courtesy of MyRecipes.com

5)  Make a party drink.  You can often save on costs if you mix up a large pitcher (or a clean vase!) with an icy cold drink. It’s fun to pick a signature drink for your party… and you can even name your drink, i.e. Pink Party Punch or Sunny Summer Sangria.  You don’t need to go out and buy a full selection of drinks if you have a signature drink and some wine and beer available for guests.  One of my favorite restaurants, Parlor Steakhouse, makes an Arnold Parlor, part iced tea vodka, part lemonade.  You can make your own at home!  Just mix up a pitcher of sweet tea vodka,  lemonade and ice to go with your summer dinner.  Then sit back and enjoy… 

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3 Responses to “A Perfect (and Affordable) Soirée”

  1. wendyhustonwehaveasolution Says:

    Love it! I’m ready for a bbq party right now – and it’s finally hot enough in the Pacific NW!

  2. Xavier's Mom Says:

    I’m already planning my next get together with friends. These tips are going to make it much easier. Thanks BamBam

  3. Dan Says:

    I can attest to the grill pan – I wasn’t a believer until my girlfriend bought one. OR, the panini press. Definitely an awesome addition to any kitchen, and great for parties!

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