With the arrival of Independence Day comes the height of summer barbecue season. It’s time to dust off those grill covers, break out the charcoal and plan a fun evening in the yard with your friends and family. In addition to all the great burgers and hot dogs, you may want to try a little something new for your next barbecue. Here are three must-try recipes that are sure to add some flavor to your summer party.
Grilled Teriyaki Shrimp And Veggie Kabobs
Adapted from Cooking Light’s recipe, this version boosts the flavor and includes a bit more variety in your vegetable choices. Don’t be afraid of adding some variety to this one, as the sauce works on pretty much anything, and nearly any vegetable goes well with shrimp. Be sure to clean your shrimp well to make it easy for your guests. You’ll also want to soak your wooden skewers in cold water for an hour before you start grilling to prevent the wood from burning during the cooking process.
- 1 ½ pounds large shrimp (peeled and de-veined)
- 1 large pineapple, cubed (can use canned as well)
- 1 red onion, cut into large chunks
- ½ pound cherry tomatoes
- ½ pound button mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed
- ¼ cup water
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sweet rice wine
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
- Combine water, soy sauce, rice wine, both sugars, ginger and garlic in a saucepan on medium heat.
- Heat until the sugar is fully dissolved, stirring often to prevent burning.
- Pull sauce from burner.
- Assemble skewers, alternating vegetables and shrimp.
- Brush kabobs with sauce.
- Grill until shrimp are done, about eight minutes, turning once.
Margarita Pasta Salad
What is a backyard barbecue without some pasta salad? Sure, you could mix up the same old recipe with mayonnaise and some garlic salt, but this recipe has a lot more flavor. Adapted from the Community Table, this version adds the flavor of hearts of palm and capers to really pack a punch. If you aren’t familiar with hearts of palm, you’ll find them in the canned vegetable aisle next to the artichoke hearts. The tender flavor is perfect with the Italian dressing and fresh basil.
- 1 pound ziti pasta, cooked and drained
- 2 cups fresh mozzarella, diced
- ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
- 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 1 can hearts of palm, drained and chopped
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 1 can sliced black olives
- 1 cup bottled Italian salad dressing
- pinch salt and pepper
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Chill in fridge for at least one hour, as the flavor improves when cold.
Barbecue desserts are tricky. You want them to be simple to make, easy to eat and it helps if they don’t make too much of a mess. That’s probably why most people just pick up a box of pre-made ice cream sandwiches and call it good. This simple recipe uses pre-made puff pastry to make the prep simple. You can use any fruit you like, so look for what is the brightest and freshest fruit of the season when you’re at the grocery store.
- ½ cup flour
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 package cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons powdered sugar
- ½ cup strawberries, chopped
- ½ cup blueberries
- ½ cup raspberries
- ½ cup blackberries
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Sprinkle the flour on your working surface then unfold puff pastry and roll to a large sheet.
- Cut the pastry into eight even squares and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Use a sharp knife to trace the border of each square, about ¼ inch from each side, scoring each piece without cutting all the way through.
- Brush the borders you just made with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake until puffed up, about 18 to 20 minutes.
- After the squares have baked, rescore the squares again and press the center down to flatten. It should look like a picture frame.
- Let cool to room temperature.
- While that is cooling, beat the cream cheese until smooth.
- Add the powdered sugar and mix well.
- Spread the cheese and sugar mixture inside the border of each square.
- Arrange fruit as desired on top of the cheese.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar and chill until ready to serve.
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.