Weekend Special – Casual Family Spring Entertaining

It occurs to me that we are heading into the final stretch of the school year. It’s that time of year when family parties abound. Graduations, dance recitals, confirmations and sports tournaments all provide ample excuses for families and friends to celebrate.

It’s a busy time so keep it casual and keep it easy. Roll out the grill (a little smoke will keep the black flies away), let everyone relax in shorts and sneakers and enjoy the afternoon or evening.

Here are a few ideas!

To Start:
Everyone loves salsa, so start the party with Avocado, Black Bean, Corn & Tomato Salsa. If you like add some of the Simplest Salsa Ever and Guacamole.

The Main Event:
Throw some hot dogs on the grill for the little ones but treat the adults (and the kids with grownup tastes) to Not Your Ordinary Burgers. Goat cheese, Sundried Tomato Aioli and arugula turn an ordinary cookout into something special. Add some lovely salads and dinner is done. My favorites include Couscous Salad, a simple Green Salad and Asian Slaw.

Sweet Treats:
A favorite with kids, Peanut Butter Brownies or Triple Threat Brownies will end your cookout on a strong note.

Have a fun and festive feast! Bon appétit!

Avocado, Black Bean, Corn & Tomato Salsa
Makes 5-6 cups

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon (or to taste) jalapeno pepper, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice or red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1 cup cooked black beans rinsed and drained
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 red or yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
2-3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro leaves
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped

Put the garlic, jalapeno, hot sauce, lime juice and olive oil in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Let sit for at least 10 minutes to combine the flavors.

Add the tomatoes, black beans, corn, bell pepper, scallion and cilantro to the bowl. Season with salt and pepper and gently toss to combine. Let sit for about 10 minutes, add the avocado and gently toss to combine. Serve immediately with tortilla chips.

Is your spring crammed with family parties? What will you be cooking? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going. To make a comment, just click on Comments below. I’d be delighted to add you to the growing list of blog subscribers. To subscribe: just scroll back up, fill in your email address and click on the Sign Me Up button. You’ll get an email asking you to confirm your subscription … confirm and you will automatically receive a new story and recipe every week.

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus! In addition, I hope that you will take a minute to learn about my philanthropic project Eat Well-Do Good. © Susan W. Nye, 2011

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