Summer has almost come to an end, but it can be an excuse to throw an impromptu party for friends before the cooler weather hits! I shared a few end of summer entertaining ideas in Little Rock today- here are some picks to make your last warm days a hit.
Light Drinks for Hot Days
No one really wants to glug a glass of Merlot on a 90 degree day, do they? Make sure your beverages are light enough that they don’t put your guests to sleep. I love spritzers and seltzers, and they can be lower in alcohol as well as simply more refreshing than a traditional glass of wine.
I also love Sangria- this fruity, light blend of fruit and wine is a crowd favorite among friends. You don’t even need a recipe, you can use pre-made Sangria like this from Fun Wine! With only 59 calories per 5 oz. pour and all natural ingredients, it is the perfect way to send off summer. To make it even more festive, you can freeze fruit juice with pieces of fresh fruit in ice cube trays. This way, it won’t water down your beverage and will add a little extra flavor. Top with an umbrella, of course! They also have Strawberry Rose Moscato, Coconut Chardonnay, and Peach Passion Moscato.
Sweet and Savory Nibbles
No matter how you slice it, most people love cheese. I have been working with Wisconsin Cheese all summer, and every party I throw, every cheese plate I bring to a friend’s house, puts a smile on everyone’s face and is completely empty by the end of the night!
One of my favorite sweet recipes that involves cheese is Caramelized Pineapple Bites! Here is the recipe, found at wisconsincheese.com:
- Warm a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Toast pineapple, in batches, for 2-3 minutes on each side or until brown. Set aside.
- Warm butter and brown sugar in the same pan over medium heat. Cook and stir for 2-3 minutes or until brown sugar is dissolved and mixture is slightly thickened. Add pineapple in batches; toss to coat.
- Remove from the heat. Cool pineapple and sauce slightly. Thread Gouda and pineapple on picks; drizzle with remaining sauce.
A savory recipe that is a sure crowd-pleaser is anything kabob-style. Here is a winner from Wisconsin Cheese- Feta-Brined Grilled Chicken Kabobs:
- Place the water, 1 cup feta, salt and pepper in a blender; cover and process until smooth. Pour brine in a sealable plastic bag. Add chicken; seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.
- Grease grill grate. Heat grill to medium.
- Remove chicken from brine; pat dry with paper towels. Discard brine.
- Thread chicken on skewers.
- Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until a thermometer inserted in meat reads 165°F. Transfer chicken to a platter; keep warm.
- Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Place the arugula, tomatoes and olives in a large bowl; drizzle with dressing. Toss to coat. Add remaining feta; gently toss.
- Transfer salad to serving plates; top with chicken. Serve with lemon wedges.
Little known fact: Wisconsin is the ONLY state that requires a license to make cheese! They have hundreds of varieties of cheese, and are truly a world of cheese in just one state.
Cheers to end of summer bashes that continue long into the fall, because hanging in the backyard is something that never gets old!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are honest and my own, as always!