Article from Monthly Specials and eNews ()
April 17, 2012
Spring BBQ Ideas
Make your next BBQ the best one yet.

A BBQ is as much about food as it is a social gathering. What’s not to like about sampling other people’s cooking while your kids play in the fresh air? If you’re tired of making your tried-and-true potluck dishes, perk up your repertoire with the following spring BBQ ideas.
 
Bring a versatile chopped salad
What’s really great about chopped salad is how easy it is to serve and eat. This type of salad also gets extra points because you can use whatever vegetables are in season or on hand. Because it’s always good to avoid dairy-based dressings when the weather heats up, whisk together a vinaigrette using the following:
  • Olive oil
  • Regular white or balsamic white vinegar
  • A dried herb like oregano
  • Minced garlic
Chop your favorite greens and mix in colorful vegetables such as red bell peppers, red onion, cucumber and tomatoes. Add a little protein like canned chickpeas (drained), your favorite cheese (crumbled feta is delicious) and even a few kalamata olives for a Mediterranean flair. You can also turn your chopped salad into an entree by adding grilled shrimp or chicken.

Kick up your potato salad
Even if your all-star potato salad is always a hit, try Southwestern ingredients this year for a new twist. Cook whatever amount of red potatoes you need and add a few ears of fresh-cooked corn kernels, chopped celery, red onion, bell pepper and cilantro. Fold in drained black beans and a chopped, spicy jalapeno pepper to taste. Drizzle the following zesty dressing over the top, mix it in and then chill for at least one hour.
  • Chopped chipotle chiles to taste
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Canola oil
  • Salt and pepper
Try a new potluck favorite
If you’ve never heard of oriental fumi salad, you’re in for a treat. Not only is it easy to make, you can prepare most of it up to a day ahead. Chop Chinese cabbage and green onions, add a couple packages of crushed ramen noodles, toasted slivered almonds and toasted sesame seeds. The dressing is best if made a day ahead. Whisk the following ingredients until smooth:
  • Rice vinegar
  • Canola oil
  • Sugar to taste—the dressing is supposed to be sweet
  • Salt and pepper
The nuts, noodles and dressing should not be added until immediately before serving. Super “crunchy” is your goal because soggy ingredients will ruin the salad.

Experiment first on your family. You can increase or decrease amounts to suit your personal preferences. With these spring BBQ ideas for side dishes, you’re bound to be asked to share the recipe.

Published by Metro VW Ma
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