Last week, our Monday Night Dinner Party included six children and five adults, and I wanted to set a fun and festive, yet cheap and simple, summer table. It’s been unusually cool here in Seattle, so when the weather finally warmed up, I wanted summer fare! Here is what we served:
- Hot Dogs, Brats, and Vegan Dogs
- Whole Wheat Buns
- Cole Slaw
- Corn on the Cob
- Ice Cream with Fresh Berries
- Condiments (Ketchup, Mustard)
It doesn’t get much more summer-traditional than hot dogs, watermelon, corn on the cob, and cole slaw! To keep things really simple, my husband cooked all the dogs/brats on the grill, and I put the buns in a basket on the table. I bought pre-shredded cabbage and carrots and a jar of cole slaw dressing (I like to mix slaw myself, because I used much less dressing than most recipes call for). I boiled a huge pot of water, shucked the corn, and put it in for about four or five minutes right before we sat down to eat, then drained it, cutting it in half (for all those little hands) and putting it in a shallow serving dish on the table (along with our beloved ButterBot!) The ice cream I almost always serve is Tillamook’s Vanilla Bean, and I love to top it with fresh strawberries and/or blueberries and some cacao nibs.
The whole meal took less than an hour to prep and present. I set the table with our everyday outdoor dishes (HD Designs Outdoor Round Dinner Plates in Cool Multi-Colors) and some adorable peacock napkins I found at Dollar Tree a few weeks ago. The centerpiece was just a few tea light candles in small canning jars down the center of our huge table.
To make serving drinks simple, I keep an acrylic beverage dispenser on a table in our sun room filled with water, and I always have a stack of plastic cups next to it so the kids can get water whenever they’re thirsty. Our younger guests always love getting their own drinks and serving their parents!
It was so simple and I was totally relaxed as we sat for hours chatting while the children ran around the back yard. The whole meal cost around $40, which comes out to less than $4 per person. Not bad for dinner! And since tomorrow is the 4th of July, this might be a great menu for a fuss-free backyard holiday celebration. (Just substitute red, white and blue decorations and have sparklers on hand!)
What’s one of your favorite go-to quick and easy summer meals? I’d love to hear your tips in the comments!