Heyyy guys!  How’s your week going?  Are you doing anything for Cinco de Mayo? I am so excited for this weekend! It is my dear friend’s bridal shower this weekend in California, and I get to travel there sans kids. Kudos to the man of the house who stays behind to wrangle the 2 kiddos while I’m away. This is a first time I’ll be flying solo and I know it’s going to be strange not having to worry about entertaining little ones or sneaking in restroom break at the airport 🙂

Normally, I hate packing but today is exciting! As a Maid of Honor, I am bringing bridal shower games, decorations, gifts and… PARTY HATS!  Seriously 🙂 The theme of our party is high tea and I realized there was not a single fancy hat in my closet. As always, Amazon came to the rescue! Quite reasonable priced afternoon tea hats have been delivered in these cute and – fortunately – small boxes: one for me and one for the bride. Can’t wait to get all fancy pants with my girls!!!

Meanwhile, I wanted to share with you what we ate at the bbq last weekend. Temps are rising in most parts of the country and you may be thinking of spending more time outside with the fam. As much as I love having company over, the preparation part can be stressful. I always want to make sure there is enough food and that it looks presentable. In the past I’d make a bunch of dishes to please everyone’s taste but it took such a huge toll on me!  It took some trial and error but I finally figured it out how to get it right:)

Tips for an easy successful backyard BBQ:

  • Prep as much as you can in advance and store in the fridge
  • Choose simple meals that don’t require lots of prep time and elaborate cooking
  • Serve 2 choices of meat, 2 side dishes and a salad.  Yummy dessert and an appetizer dip+chips are a bonus.
  • Be aware if kids will be present and offer kid-friendly options

So for our BBQ party last weekend, I knew there were going to be both kids and adults so I went with a few options that both would enjoy.  I also wanted to keep it relatively healthy with fruit and salads. After some brainstorming, here’s the menu I came up with:

Black peppered marinated chicken breast

Hot dogs for the kids

Greek quinoa salad

Homemade rosemary smoke Gouda mac and cheese

Grilled corn on the cob

Fresh strawberries, watermelon and grapes

Crackers and chips for snacks

Cake by Charlie’s Cupcakes

It all worked out perfect!  I put together mac and cheese in the morning and popped it in the oven 30 minutes before guest arrival. All the party supplies and decorations were set aside, so I didn’t have to run around looking for things before the party. Cake was delivered by my talented friend Beth and it was a huge hit! While my husband grilled the chicken and corn, we chatted outside and watched the kids play. When it was time to eat, kids sat down for a picnic style meal right on the grass

tips for a healthy bbq

Check out the convo between these kiddos. SO cute!

For my plate, I went with grilled chicken, Greek quinoa salad, grilled corn and fruit.  It was perfect.

The Greek quinoa salad was everything.  Inspired by this recipe,  I tweaked it a little and came up with a glorious combo that was both healthy and full of flavor.

Greek quinoa salad

I kind of eye balled the measurements, but here’s an what I used for the salad:

  • white quinoa (about 1 cup uncooked), cooked according to instructions
  • 1 chopped cucumber
  • 1 container halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 jar chopped kalamata olives
  • chopped fresh parsley

For the dressing I whisked together extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and oregano in a separate bowl.

Pour the dressing over the salad, mix it all the ingredients and let it sit in the fridge for an hour.  You may also add crumbled Feta cheese for an extra punch of flavor!

Tell me friends, what do you like to cook for your backyard BBQ?  Any favorite recipes?  Please do share 🙂




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