Inspiration for Outdoor Entertaining

Go beyond the backyard barbecue

Summer is here! Transform your outdoor space into an entertainment zone for parties large and small. Go beyond the backyard barbecue and invite friends and family over for a sit-down meal under the stars. Need some ideas beyond burgers for an evening soiree? Looking to host a boozy brunch? We’ve got you covered. We’ve featured some unique cookbooks that might inspire you to up your outdoor entertaining game. Select recipes for the whole meal – or choose some creative sides to give a little flair to your grilling standbys.

Is This a Cookbook? 

Adventures in the Kitchen by Heston Blumenthal

Creative home cooks can enjoy accessible recipes from a three-time James Beard Award-winning and Michelin-starred restauranteur and chef. The 70 recipes include twists on salads, breakfast staples, and classics like fish and chips and popcorn chicken (with actual popcorn). Some inspired meal ideas perfect for outdoor entertaining include a Steak with Pan Jus and Barbecue Vegetable Salad. Or host a Mexican fiesta with homemade tortillas and three street taco recipes: Prawn Tacos with Pico de Gallo, Steak and Refried Beans Taco, and Vegetable and Guacamole Tacos.

Company by Amy Thielen

The Radically Casual Art of Cooking for Others

Allow another James Beard Award–winner to offer twenty menus for rethinking how you entertain. Plan a big sprawling summer bash with recipes like Wood-fired Rib-Eye w/ Fava Butter and Smoky Tomato Terrine. Home cooks can plan dinner parties that are less formal, more frequent, and as fun for the cook as for the guests. With an eye toward making food in advance, Company encourages a return to the habit of casual cooking for family and friends.

Bliss on Toast by Prue Leith

75 Simple Recipes

Want to host a boozy brunch but not a fan of elaborate breakfast fare? Let a Great British Baking Show judge help transform sourdoughs, focaccias, baguettes, and flatbreads into a mid-day fete. Recipes are great for busy foodies who want guests to enjoy a full and balanced plate but don’t want to stress in the kitchen. Some recipes include tomatoes, shallots, and oregano on black olive toast; grilled chicken tikka with yogurt on naan; smoked salmon, wasabi, and avocado on multigrain bread; and bananas and ice cream with brandy syrup on panettone.

Instant Pot Indian by Anupy Singla

70 Full-Flavor, Authentic Recipes for Any Sized Instant Pot 

Impress your friends with an outdoor Indian feast. This Instant Pot cookbook offers 70 classics you can make in minutes and serve outside family style. Easy-to-follow recipes include favorites like butter chicken, palak paneer, and aloo gobi. Or choose some inspired sides to go with whatever you’re grilling outside. The “Indian Spices 101” chapter introduces readers to the mainstay spices of an Indian kitchen, as well as how to store, prepare, and combine them.  (Unsure of where to get spices? You can buy them locally at Patel Brothers in Nashville.) 

Mostly Veggies by Brittany Mullins 

Easy Make-Ahead Meals for Healthy Living 

Plan for make-ahead meals for easy entertaining, where the hosts can enjoy maximum time with guests. Mostly Veggies focuses on wholesome ingredients and prioritizes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins as the foundation of healthy, filling recipes that guests will love. Recipes include Butternut Squash Enchiladas, Pesto Gnocchi sheet pan dinners, and a veggie-forward Cobb Salad. The cookbook includes four weekly meal plans based on seasonal produce.

Pour Me Another by J.M. Hirsch

250 Ways to Find Your Favorite Drink 

Looking to add some libations to your menu? This creative cocktail collection, from a James Beard Award-winning mixologist, takes a “choose your own adventure” approach that begins with cocktails you already like to help discover new ones you’ll love. Bourbon drinkers can try a gin Bijou, which brings in Manhattan-like notes. If a Gin & Tonic is more the speed, veer into tropical territory with a gingery Lime in de Coconut. This is an essential handbook for cocktail lovers that expands sipping palates to help discover new favorites.

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