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Throw a Kickin’ Cookout

Oh yeah… it is cookout season in New England. Just driving around town, you can smell the grills grilling from backyards up and down Main Street. Burgers, linguica, hot dogs, veges, chicken, seafood, we do it all in the north. I love trying to explain what linguica actually is to people who have never heard of it. What is in there anyway?

Cooking out daily is common around here, but what if you need to throw a backyard bash this weekend and don’t know where to start? I am a seasoned party thrower so here are some tips and tricks for making a fabulous cookout!

1. Theme – Yes you need one. You don’t need to go crazy and cut your food out in shapes, but you should have something to play off of.  Luau, Red Sox, patriotic, beach, or midsummer are just a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

2. Food – Decide on a main dish. Are you going traditional? Hot Dogs, Burgers? Seafood like baked fish and grilled shrimp? Chicken on a stick or grilled chicken and steak kabobs? Either way, decide on a base dish and work your way out from there.

3. Drinks – You of course need the traditional waters, sodas, etc… But, you should also make a signature brew for your bash. My personal fav is Sangria. It is light, fruity, and super easy to make. I’ll include my favorite recipe below.

4. Play – You don’t want a bunch of people just standing around. Yard games are easy to set up and most don’t need a ton of space. Horseshoes, bocce, ladder golf, volleyball, badminton, and bean bag toss are all great choices.

5. Music – This is essential! Playing the perfect summertime mix in the background completes your party. See below for some party favorites of mine.

Throwing a party is super easy and should be fun. Don’t stress it. Put on some James Taylor and just enjoy the good life.

Peach Sangria – Oh yummy
sangria

1 (750-milliliter) bottle rosé wine
3/4 cup vodka*
1/2 cup peach nectar
6 tablespoons thawed frozen lemonade concentrate
2 tablespoons sugar
1 pound ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
1 (6-oz.) package fresh raspberries
2 cups club soda, chilled

1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a pitcher; stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in peaches and raspberries. Cover and chill 8 hours.
2. Stir in chilled club soda just before serving.
*Peach-flavored vodka may be substituted. Omit peach nectar.

Summer Cookout Party Mix

James Taylor – Summer’s Here
The Beatles – Here Comes The Sun
Eddie Cochran – Summertime Blues
James Taylor – How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)
Beach Boys – Surfin USA
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Summertime
Violent Femmes – Blister in the Sun
Vampire Weekend – Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa
Superchunk – This Summer
Bananarama – Cruel Summer
The B-52’s – Rock Lobster
The Drifters – Under the Boardwalk
Jan & Dean – Surf City
The Go-Go’s – Vacation
Ramones – Rockaway Beach
Beach Boys – California Girls
Alice Cooper – Schools Out
and of course – Martha and the Vandellas – Dancing in the Street