Tips for Summer Entertaining from Healthy-Living Experts
Summer is the season for outdoor entertaining, and while the weather may he hot, there’s no reason to sweat over what to serve your guests. Keep things light and simple and make party time a breeze with tips, tricks and ideas from our healthy living experts.
Chef Mark Allison, Director of Culinary Nutrition at Dole:
"The traditional barbecue is always a summer entertaining option, but that means someone is stuck manning the grill. I keep things easy and casual with a DIY sandwich bar. Arrange sliced turkey, chicken and smoked salmon on one platter and vegetable toppings like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles and sliced peppers on another. Put out the condiments, toss some whole wheat buns in a basket, and you are ready to go! Guests can have fun creating their favorite sandwiches with all the trimmings. I’ll also put out a few salads that I’ve made the day before: mixed greens, seasonal fruit, potato and whole wheat pasta salads are favorites. Finally, a large galvanized tub full of ice with a selection of cold drinks will round out a casual summer menu. Make summer entertaining easy and your party is sure to be a hit with family and friends."
Paulette Lambert, RD CDE, Director of Nutrition at California Health and Longevity Institute at the Four Seasons Westlake Village:
“Summer means quick, simple, delicious dinners off the grill made from the freshest food possible. I grill everything from little Gem romaine for a delectable salad to fresh. One food that hits the grill more than any other over the summer is chicken. One of my favorite ways to grill chicken is to pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs, season with a variety of dry rubs or marinades such as a brush of olive oil, lemon, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes. Thinly pounded chicken cooks in very few minutes and you get that smoky grilled flavor without over cooking or drying out the chicken. The increased surface area really makes each mouthful pop with flavor!”
Chef Amy Tobin, Culinary Director of the Event Center at the New Riff Distillery:
“Summertime and outdoor entertaining go hand in hand, yet fresh summer foods really don’t like the heat. Little is a very big thing! Serving small portions of your favorite party foods ensures food stays fresh and beautiful from beginning to end. Keep extras of everything you’re serving stashed in the fridge, making it easy to refresh as needed. Portion your favorite guacamole or spinach dip into smaller servings bowls so you can replace the old one when it becomes “past its prime.” Instead of one big bowl of fruit salad, thread berries, pineapple and grapes on small wooden skewers and display on a tray with fresh mint and basil leaves. For dessert, tuck fresh strawberries dipped in dark chocolate into mini muffin papers. Display them on a cake stand and watch them disappear—everyone loves a little sweet treat.”
Jenn LaVardera, MS RD, Registered Dietitian at Dole:
“I make sure plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables are on the menu whenever I host—everyone appreciates a healthy option. Keep produce exciting by preparing it on the grill. Grilled mushrooms, squash, eggplant, broccoli, carrots and cauliflower are hearty enough to make a vegetarian main dish, plus the colors look beautiful when displayed on a large platter. For dessert, try grilled bananas. Simply put unpeeled bananas on the grill for a few minutes per side. When the peel turns black, slit them open to reveal a sweet, custard-like filling. Add mini dark chocolate or peanut butter chips for a little extra fun.”
Firing up the grill for your party? Try our Grilled Bananas & Greens Salad made with juicy DOLE® Blackberries, crunchy walnuts, and crisp DOLE Romaine Lettuce.
Published July 1, 2016