Meal Planning

The best way to enjoy cooking and entertaining is to be organized and prepared ahead of time. Doing the shopping, cooking and entertaining all on the same day is a good way to overextend yourself and not have a good time. So, create your shopping list and do the shopping at least a day ahead of time. Then determine what food preparation can be in advance and a list of all the other preparations that need to be done. Keep in mind that if you haven’t used your silver in a few months, it might have to be polished. Or if this is your first summer BBQ, the grill and lawn furniture will probably need to be cleaned. Share the tasks with your family, too.

Shopping List

Review your menu and read the recipes for all of your food items so that you know what ingredients and cooking implements are needed. Check your pantry for any staple food items that you might have on hand and your storage areas for items such as candles, napkins, wine, etc.

Prepare a list of all food and beverage items that you need. Organize your grocery list according to the section of the store where the items are found to make it easier to shop. See the example below.

Shopping List

Ingredient

Amount

Produce:

 

 

 

Eggs/Dairy/Butter:

 

 

 

Shelf Stable Items:

 

 

 

Protein:

 

 

 

Beverages:

 

 

 

To Do List

It only takes a few minutes to organize the preparations for entertaining and it is well worth it. Assign tasks to family members and complete tasks over a few days prior to the event.

Do as much food preparation ahead of time as possible. Meat marinades, rubs, and desserts can be made at least a day ahead of time. Vegetables and salads can be prepared in the morning. Some side dishes can be cooked ahead and be reheated before being served. Think through how each dish will be prepared and how to ensure that all warm dishes are ready at the same time. Be sure that you have the proper tools/wares for each dish. See the To Do and Food Preparation List examples:

To Do List

Task

Day

Power wash deck

Wednesday

Make grocery list

Wednesday

Clean lawn furniture

Thursday

Clean grill/check propane

Thursday

Shop for paper goods/beverages

Thursday

Grocery shop

Friday morning

Make brownies

Friday afternoon

Make gazpacho/ guacamole

Saturday morning

Cut vegetables/fruit

Saturday morning

Put beverages on ice

Saturday afternoon

Prepare meat with rub

Saturday afternoon

Set up outdoor space

Saturday afternoon

Set out appetizers

Saturday evening

Guests arrive

Saturday evening

 

Summer BBQ Food Preparation List

Item

Instructions

Timing

Kahlua Cream Cheese Brownies

 

Bake; refrigerate.
Remove from refrigerator

1 day prior
1 hour prior
to serving

Sundried Tomato Guacamole

Prepare in the morning; refrigerate

Morning

Gazpacho Tequilla Shooters

Prepare in the morning; refrigerate
Remove from refrigerator

Morning
1 hour prior
to serving

Certified Angus Beef Kebobs

Cut meat; add rub; refrigerate
Place on skewers

Morning
1 hour before guests arrive

Bell Peppers and Onions

Cut vegetables; refrigerate
Place on skewers

Morning
1 hour before guests arrive

Jicama Cucumber Lime Salad

Cut jicama and cucumbers; refrigerate
Drizzle with lime juice

Morning
Just before serving

Grilled Corn on the Cob

Soak corn husks; drain

1 hour before guests arrive
Grill before meat; keep warm in oven.

Watermelon

Cut into wedges; refrigerate

Morning

 

 

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