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4th of July BBQ

Hosting a bbq this weekend for adults and some kids. Would like to be able to do as much of it ahead of time as possible. Had this group last year and the highlight was an amazing tomato, roasted fresh corn and basil salad with balsamic vinegar. We'll marinade a flank steak and some chicken breasts...but wide open aside from that. Most of my guests will be bringing a dessert, so I think that's covered. But what else would you recommend that is relatively simple, very delicious, and able to be made ahead?

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  1. Red potato salad, tri-color pasta salad, cold slaw, mixed fruit salad. All relatively easy and - I know - standard, but can be quickly prepared ahead of time.

    And I would love your recipe for the tomato, corn and basil salad.

    4 Replies
    1. re: boyzoma

      yep, any potato salad, coleslaw, sangria, pasta salad

      1. re: boyzoma

        Thanks. The corn salad:

        6 ears fresh corn
        2 tbsp olive oil
        6 cloves garlic, minced
        1/4 basil, thinly sliced
        30 grape tomatoes, cut in half
        2 tsp balsamic vinegar
        kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste

        Cut corn kernels from the cobs. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add minced garlic and sautee for about 1 minute--do not brown. Add corn kernels and sautee just until cooked through, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add half of the basil. Season to taste w/ salt & pepper. Transfer mixture to bowl and cool slightly. Stir in tomatoes, vinegar and remaining basil. Season additionally if necessary. Cover and chill.

        It's really as good as the corn and tomatoes are sweet!

        1. re: mom22tots

          the recipe says 1/4 basil, 1/4 of what?

          1. re: roro1831

            Sorry...1/4 cup basil. Enjoy

            Any favoritre sangria recipe for me??

      2. I like this lemony couscous salad. It has lemon juice and lemon zest, olive oil and scallions or chives. Some garbanzo beans and whatever vegies look good. Lately, I've been adding raw corn kernals and snap peas. Could add black olives.

        Very adaptable. Easy to make ahead and tastes best if it sits for a day to let flavors meld.

        Here's the link:

        http://projects.washingtonpost.com/re...

        3 Replies
        1. re: karykat

          Sounds perfect and a little bit different! Thanks

          1. re: karykat

            KK - Do you think that this recipe would work if you substituted orzo for the couscous (DH doesn't like couscous)?

            1. re: masha

              Yes, I think orzo would work great for this.

              Hope you like it.

          2. You might find some suggestions here. We hosted friends last year and we are having them again this year. Our party is Saturday and I am making much of the food tomorrow and Friday, with just last minute preparation/assembly on Saturday.

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6287...

            13 Replies
            1. re: valerie

              Thanks...I was kicking around the idea of making ribs but I've never done it. Your success story inspires me to give it a try. That recipe sounds amazing. I'm having a similar number of people--what quantity of ribs did you do? Also, did the kids end up eating ribs?

              1. re: mom22tots

                Last year I had ribs and roast chicken. I had an insane amount of food left over. It was actually gross. So now I am just making ribs (plus chicken fries/fingers for the kids). Some of the kids had the ribs, mostly the kids on the older side.

                I am so bad at judging the right quantity of food, and I have this constant fear that there won't be enough. So I cook for about 3 times as many people as necessary! Since I am only having ribs and they came in packages of about 9 lbs (I bought them at Costco yesterday) so I bought 27 lbs. I wasn't sure that 18 lbs. was enough. Yes, I am insane, but I wanted to have some leftovers, plus I will give some to my friends to take home....

                1. re: valerie

                  I suffer from the same affliction...paranoia that there won't be enough followed by guilt that I over did it again!! I know you said you are in the NY area--just curious, which Costco did you get the ribs at? I'm in NJ but often go to the Costco in Spring Valley, NY.

                  Also, since we seem to be having parallel bbq's, what do you do for drinks? Was considering sangria along with beer, lemonade, soda, etc.

                  1. re: mom22tots

                    I'm in Westchester and I bought them in Yonkers, but I'm pretty sure they have them at all of them. They are the baby back ribs, not spare ribs. I think they were $2.99/lb. And, as Cherylptw said, you can freeze the leftovers.

                    Regarding drinks, last year I wasn't sure what to do about drinks, so my sister suggested having a "signature drink" in addition to beer, soda, etc. So I made a drink called Palm Vista which was made with Minute Maid limeade concentrate and vodka plus a few other ingredients. It was good, but honestly my friends are not such big drinkers and the drink went mostly unnoticed. So this year, it's just soda, beer, plus a variety of Mike's Hard Lemonades. Sangria is a good idea though. I have a very easy recipe if you'd like it.

                    1. re: valerie

                      Would love the sangria recipes...thanks

                      1. re: mom22tots

                        Here you go...

                        ROSA MEXICANO'S SANGRIA
                        18 oz red or white wine
                        6 oz Triple Sec
                        6 oz apricot brandy
                        12 oz orange juice
                        6 oz Sprite
                        6 heaping T chopped green and red grapes and apples

                        Mix all ingredients in a clear pitcher. Fill remainder of pitcher with ice and stir with a wooden spoon. Garnish each glass with fresh fruit slices (green apples for red sangria or peaches for white sangria). Serves 8.

                        Hope everything turns out well!

                  2. re: valerie

                    Just in case you have leftover ribs, they can be frozen successfully. Just bag them up with a little sauce then you can pull them out, thaw & warm if you get a hankering for ribs. We do it all the time....

                    I'd suggest a nice marinated cucumber & thinly sliced onion salad; goes perfect with anything cooked on the grill. Make a day ahead to meld flavors.

                    1. re: Cherylptw

                      Do you have a cucumber recipes that you'd recommend? Like the idea of that...

                      1. re: mom22tots

                        Not Cheryl, but this cucumber salad is good and easy. Add some thinly sliced red onion.

                        http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                        1. re: valerie

                          Valerie...just wanted to thank you. Made the ribs that recommended and they were a huge hit! My husband LOVED them!! One question...did it take a long time for you to reduce the braising liquid? I simmered it for almost 3 hours and it definitely thickened up, but not completely. Didn't matter b/c we finished them on the grill and brushed the sauce on anyway, but wondering what I did wrong. BTW, went WAY overboard on the ribs at Costco...will definitely attempt to freeze them. Too good to let them go to waste! How did your menu go over?

                          1. re: mom22tots

                            So glad it worked out. I should have mentioned about the liquid...sorry. Last year I had the same problem with the sauce. I kept simmering and simmering it and it would not reduce. Since I cooked them in advance, I cooled it all and then used the sauce when I reheated in the oven and subsequently finished on the grill. But in the end, my husband broke out the BBQ sauce from the closet and all my guests slathered it on the ribs.

                            So this year, after I braised the ribs, I got rid of the liquid. When I reheated in the oven and finished on the grill, I put on some Sweet Baby Ray's sauce. It worked out a lot better.

                            Oh, and most of the kids this year ate the ribs...I was pleasantly surprised! I will post the rest of my results in the other thread regarding my menu...

                        2. re: mom22tots

                          I don't normally use a recipe for the salad, but just sort of put what I like in there. One version uses regular cukes; I halve them and remove the seeds (my preference), thinly slice them and into a bowl. I thinly slice onions and really like them shaved in fact. You can use any onion, sometimes I use red because they look nice or Vidalias because of the sweetness. I add some fresh chopped dill, a little grated garlic, maybe some halved cherry or grape tomatoes.

                          You can use just regular Italian dressing from the store or make a simple vinaigrette with olive oil, red wine vinegar, a little sugar, s & p and if you want, some fresh shredded basil. Another prepared dressing I like to use is Ken's Steakhouse brand sweet Vidalia onion dressing...if it's a little sweet, whisk in some white wine vinegar or cider vinegar. Toss the entire thing together and chill. Simple & delicious.

                2. We always have doctored up baked beans. Am making olive cheese bread on the grill this year as well.

                  1. The current issue of Cucina Italiana has some great recipes for spiedini (kabobs). Chicken, shrimp, lamb, are the ones I remember. There are maybe two more. They looked simple and tasty. They are featured on the cover of the magazine...you can't miss it!

                    2 Replies
                      1. re: ttoommyy

                        My neighbor loaned me that copy of Cucina and yes! They look delightful! It inspired me to make veggie kabobs this year along with the ribs.