This post is sponsored by NABISCO. As always, all ideas and opinions are entirely my own.
I’ve always looked at Memorial Day as the unofficial kick-off to the summer season. And since Memorial Day is now in our collective rear-view, it’s time to start planning some fun summer activities! And you can’t talk about summer activities without mentioning barbecues!
Outdoor barbecues and cook-outs are a mainstay summer activity in my family. Generally they’re pretty low-key and food-focused, but this year I’m inspired to shake things up a bit. I want to throw an outdoor barbecue that incorporates new flavors and traditions, and encourages people to socialize and have fun. I’ve put together a list of ideas to share with you today, in hopes that this summer we can all throw our best barbecue ever! :-)
Fabulous Finger Foods
Mingling and socializing are hallmarks of any great gathering or party. One easy way to encourage your guests to mix and mingle is by offering a variety of tasty, easy-to-carry finger foods. That way, your guests will be able to eat, walk, and carry on conversations without being tied to a chair or table.
If “finger foods” sound like a lot of work, never fear! I’ve got 3 different snack-able finger food ideas to share with you, and they all start with tasty NABISCO snacks. NABISCO is encouraging people to “remix” their backyard barbecues this summer by incorporating their delicious snacks into their favorite recipes. My first recipe is inspired by fresh coastal Mexican cuisine, and is sure to be a crowdpleaser!
Baja Shrimp Bites
These portable snacks feature fresh grilled shrimp served on a TRISCUIT Cracker for a tasty bite that your guests are sure to love.
Start by grilling up your shrimp and a few ears worth of corn on the cob. (Canned corn will work in a pinch!) Using one of our grill mats makes cooking both of these a cinch! You can use any sort of seasoning you want, but we chose to use a simple mix of cayenne pepper, paprika, and lemon juice.
Next, prepare the guacamole. In a mixing bowl, combine the flesh of an avocado with 1/2 of a red onion (chopped), one chopped tomato, the juice of 1/2 of a lime, and a handful of roughly chopped cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste, and stir.
Now for the assembly! Take a TRISCUIT Cracker and top with a dollop of guacamole. Add a piece of grilled shrimp, a small spoonful of grilled corn, and a sprinkle of cotija cheese over the top. Yum!
Smoked Sausage Snacks
These tasty bites were inspired by my nephew Cameron who serves something similar at his barbecue restaurant and everyone loves them!
Grill up a few of your favorite sausages, then let them cool completely. Cut the sausage links into thick slices.
Gather your RITZ Crackers, cheese, barbecue sauce, and sliced sausages. Place a piece of cheese on a RITZ Cracker, then top with a piece of sausage and a generous drizzle of barbecue sauce. Repeat until you have enough for a crowd!
Frozen Frosting Sandwiches
These tasty treats from my childhood are the perfect low-maintenance dessert to round out your barbecue! You can even save yourself time on the day of your barbecue by making these the day before. To get started, gather HONEY MAID Grahams, a batch of homemade frosting (or store-bought if you’re in a pinch), and a small bowl of melted chocolate.
Smear a generous amount of frosting onto a graham, then top it with another graham to form a “sandwich.” Dip one end of the graham sandwich in the melted chocolate, then place it on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
When you’ve assembled and dipped all of your sandwiches, place the tray into the freezer for at least an hour. Remove the sandwiches from the parchment paper and serve!
These are honestly one of my favorite treats in the summertime! :-)
These are just a few of the possible ways you can incorporate NABISCO snacks into your outdoor barbecue menu. If you have a favorite recipe that features a NABISCO snack, or if you whip up one of the recipes in this post, I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment here on the blog, or post it on social media using the hashtags #NABISCO and #BBQRemix.
Once you’ve planned out your menu for your perfect outdoor barbecue, you can start thinking about all the other stuff that makes for a great party, like seating and entertainment!
Different Dining Options
We’ve all attended a backyard barbecue where we sat on plastic chairs and ate off the paper plates in our laps. While there’s nothing wrong with keeping it casual, we thought it would be fun to get a little creative with our seating and dining options!
I love the idea of cocktail tables for facilitating conversation between my guests, but buying or renting cocktail tables can be really expensive! So instead, I combed through my house for items that I could use to create a tall “table.”
We ended up setting up my ironing board, then I tossed a pretty tablecloth over the top. And voila, I had a big, tall “cocktail” table that encouraged people to mingle and chat, and gave them a place to set down their food.
Look around your own house for items that you can stack and arrange into tall tables. You’ll love the elevated feel that a few tall tables will lend to your barbecue! (If you’ll have kids at your barbecue, you can make a special kid-height table just for them, too!)
Unique Games & Activities
I’ve always believed that a party isn’t really a party without something fun to do! And a backyard barbecue is the perfect occasion for a few fun outdoor games! Lawn games are a great way to take advantage of great summer weather, and my family loves them. (It’s a good excuse to get competitive in the name of “family fun.”) ;-)
Our favorite lawn games can be found in beautiful wooden game sets. Not only do wooden lawn games last forever, but they also look a bit more sophisticated than your average plastic game sets. Check out Kubb (a “viking” bowling game), cornhole, bocce, lawn twister, or giant Jenga!
With these tips and ideas, you’re well on your way to throwing a reinvented and elevated outdoor barbecue party. It’s sure to be an event that your guests remember for a long time to come!
For more information on NABISCO’s “Remix Your BBQ” campaign, including remixed recipes and inspiration, head to NABISCOBBQ.com. There you can enter to win a trip for 4 to see Lady Antebellum perform in Nashville, TN! For full rules and guidelines, visit NABISCOBBQ.com.