If you haven't hosted a fabulous outdoor party yet, you better get on it before the Summer is over! Why not pack up some delicious food and invite friends to join you at the beach for a sunset bonfire? I've got the perfect menu for you. Most of the dishes can be made in advance, and all you'll need is a grill and some charcoal to do the cooking. Landlocked dwellers take note: this meal would be scrumptious nearby any body of water be it a lake, pool, or river, so be sure to check out the menu now.
Cheese and Charcuterie
Stop by a local market and pick up a small selection of cheese, charcuterie, and crackers. I love  salami, but prosciutto, mortadella, and turkey are wonderful choices as well. Choose at least two types of cheese: one soft and spreadable (brie or goat  cheese) and another hard and salty (cheddar or parmesan). When you arrive at the beach, set out the cheese, meat, and crackers first. That way you'll have something to nibble on while you heat up the grill.
Grilled Shrimp Cocktail
Make the cocktail sauce  a couple of days before the bonfire and place in a serving bowl that has a lid. Peel, devein, and season the shrimp at home just before heading out. Grill on site at the party location and enjoy immediately!
Alongside the finger-licking-good shrimp, offer this veggie-packed asparagus panzanella . It  can be made a day in advance; pack in Chinese takeout containers, then pass them around at the bonfire with a bunch of forks.
While everyone is eating the shrimp and panzanella, heat up a giant pot of clam chowder. This New England-style chowder  is full of clams, pork, and potatoes. It  tastes even better the day after it's made, so put it together the night before the party.
A package of milano cookies is a great portable dessert, so surprise guests with an amazing homemade version . Place the crisp sandwich cookies with creamy chocolate  filling in clear cellophane bags. Tie with a ribbon and place them in a picnic basket until it 's time for dessert.
No party is complete without a signature  cocktail, and nothing beats classic red wine sangria. Here's our favorite recipe . Watch out: it 's potent!