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Easy Summer Dinner Party Menu

Come Party With Me: Anniversary — Menu

On Saturday, Aug. 22, my parents will celebrate their 33rd year of marriage. I hate to say it, but I've never thrown them an anniversary party — until now! I've invited over a bunch of my parents' friends for a pool party and barbecue. The event will be festive, but casual, so I'm selecting a menu that reflects this vibe.

Things will kick off with mini peach and pesto pizzas. For the main course, I'll serve what they had at their wedding: chicken, grilled and stuffed with fresh tomatoes and basil. A huge helping of antipasto pasta salad is the ideal side because it serves a crowd and can be made in advance. For these scrumptious recipes, read more.

Mini Peach and Pesto Pizzas

Mini Peach and Pesto Pizzas

Peach Basil Pizza Recipe

Ingredients

1 clove garlic
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
One 13.8-oz tube refrigerated pizza dough
2 tomatoes, sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
2 small peaches, sliced into 1/2-inch wedges

Directions

  1. In a food processor, chop the garlic. Add 1/2 cup basil, the pecans, 1/2 cup olive oil, the parmesan, vinegar, salt and pepper and puree into pesto.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°. Roll out the pizza dough on a floured surface into a 14-inch square.
  3. Cut into 8 squares and prick each one several times with a fork. Place on a lightly floured baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Bake until golden, 12 minutes. Let cool.
  4. Spread 1 teaspoon of the pesto on each square and top with overlapping tomato and peach slices. Slice the remaining 1/2 cup basil into thin strips and sprinkle on the pizza. Season with salt.

Serves 8.

Grilled Chicken Stuffed With Basil and Tomato

Grilled Chicken Stuffed With Basil and Tomato

Grilled Caprese Chicken Recipe

Ingredients

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 6 ounces each)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
12 fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
2 beefsteak tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

Directions

  1. Butterfly chicken breasts: Put halves on a cutting board, smooth sides down, with the pointed ends facing you. Starting on one long side, cut breasts almost in half horizontally (stop about 1/2 inch before reaching the opposite side). Open cut breasts like a book.
  2. Sprinkle each piece all over with 1/8 teaspoon salt; season with pepper. Transfer to a plate, and coat both sides with garlic and oil. Let stand 30 minutes.
  3. Heat a grill or grill pan until medium-hot. Place 3 basil leaves on the bottom half of each opened chicken breast; top each with 2 slices tomato. Fold over other half of chicken breast, and secure with two toothpicks or short skewers.
  4. Grill chicken breasts, turning once, until golden brown on both sides and no longer pink in the center, about 15 minutes.
  5. Place on a clean serving platter; garnish with basil. If desired, remove toothpicks or skewers before serving.

Serves 4.

Antipasto Pasta

Antipasto Pasta

Antipasto Pasta

Ingredients

12 ounces linguine
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 large (5-inch-diameter) portobello mushrooms, stemmed, dark gills removed, caps sliced 1/4 inch thick
6 ounces 1/8-inch-thick slices Genoa salami, cut into thin strips
1 cup sliced vegetables and 6 tablespoons marinade from 16-ounce jar antipasto salad with olives
2 cups grated Asiago cheese, divided
2 cups chopped fresh basil, divided

Directions

  1. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid.
  2. Heat oil in same pot over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; sauté until tender and brown, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add salami; toss 30 seconds.
  4. Add pasta, 1/2 cup cooking liquid, sliced vegetables, reserved marinade, and 1 1/2 cups cheese; toss until liquid thickens and coats pasta, about 3 minutes. Mix in 1 1/2 cups basil.
  5. Season with pepper. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup basil; serve with 1/2 cup cheese.

Serves 4.

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