A Backyard Dinner

A Backyard Dinner
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Late spring and summer is such a wonderful time to entertain. Use your backyard as a dining room and you are all set! Everyone can visit while you cook on the grill. The kids end up playing in the sand box later, while the adults talk. This menu is a good one:
Savory Bruschetta


2 ripe tomatoes

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

6 fresh basil leaves, chopped coarsely

1/2 loaf of sourdough or Italian country bread, sliced

2 cloves garlic

Using the coarse side of a grater, grate tomatoes into a bowl or use food processor. Discard remaining skin. Add oil, salt, pepper, basil, and mix. Grill bread over coals or on gas grill until very brown. Before bread cools, rub garlic clove over the entire surface of one side (each slice should use up about 1/4 clove of garlic). Just before serving, spoon tomato mixture over bread.

Grilled Pita Breads


4 pita breads

2 tsp. fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/3 cup coarsely crumbled feta cheese

2/3 cup coarsely chopped mushrooms

1 tablespoons fresh oregano

Place a large piece of foil on the grill rack. Crush the rosemary in the oil. Place pitas on foil, brush liberally with the rosemary oil, and top with cheese, mushrooms and oregano. Grill on low heat with the cover down until cheese melts. Cut into sections, as you would for pizza.

Chicken With Lemon & Rosemary


3 sticks butter, softened

2 tablespoons chopped rosemary

6 tablespoons finely diced onion

1 1/4 cups fresh bread crumbs

1/4 cup dried lemon peel, or fresh zest

Salt and ground black pepper

5-6 pounds of bone-in chicken pieces

6 tablespoons olive oil

Combine butter, rosemary, onion, bread crumbs, and lemon in a bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Separate the chicken skin from the poultry, and stuff the in-between so the meat is covered. Brush the skin of the chicken with the oil, then season with salt and pepper. Heat the grill to medium-high. Place the chicken pieces on the grill skin-side down, and cook until the skin is browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the chicken, close the grill hood or cover with thick pieces of foil, and cook for 15 minutes. Test for doneness--juices should run clear.

Spicy Grilled Shrimp


1/2 cup butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground peppercorns--hot or mild mixture

1 teaspoon olive oil with dash of red pepper flakes added

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1-1/2 pounds raw medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper

In small saucepan, combine butter, garlic, peppercorns, and the oil with red pepper. Simmer over low heat until butter is melted and the just garlic begins to sizzle. Remove from heat; stir in the fresh parsley. Thread shrimp on four or five skewers. Brush with olive oil. Place the shrimp in center of cooking grate. Grill 4 to 5 minutes until pink, and no longer white. Turn once during grilling. Remove shrimp from skewers; toss with butter mixture. Serve hot. Makes 4 servings. NOTES: If you have a grill pan with holes in it you can toss the shrimp in there instead of using the skewers. You may have to grill half at a time. Serve as an appetizer, or on top of pasta.

Grilled Marinated Vegetables


1/2 cup thickly sliced zucchini

1 cup sliced red, yellow or green bell pepper (or mixed)

1/2 cup sliced yellow squash

1/2 cup sliced red onion

16-20 large fresh button mushrooms

16-20 cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup garlic soy sauce

1/2 cup lemon juice

Place the zucchini, bell pepper, squash, red onion, mushrooms, and tomatoes in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, soy sauce, and lemon juice. Pour over the vegetables. Place in a covered container and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour. Preheat grill, then turn down to medium heat. Remove vegetables from marinade, and place on the grill. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, brushing with marinade, until tender.


About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.


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