This post is sponsored by Hebrew National.
I grew up in New York so winters were long and tough. The minute the snow melted and the temps shot up, people came running out of their houses like it was 100 degrees outside even though it was only 60. It was such a joyous occasion to finally get out of the house that you’ve been cooped up in all winter long. These first days of summer are some of my most precious memories as a child as it was pure joy.
We really took advantage of the warm weather because we knew it would only last for a few short months. Our first summer bash usually happened soon thereafter. My parents always threw a casual cook out with friends and neighbors to celebrate. It was low stress but lots of fun. As an adult I want to keep those memories going, so I’m sticking to my mom’s entertaining plan.
- Serve only a few dishes. When you are cooking for a crowd, I’ve found that it’s easier to cook only a few dishes. It can be difficult to cook a dozen different dishes. You’ll end up in the kitchen all day long, which isn’t fun when your guests are outside enjoying themselves. If you’re only going to serve a few dishes, then they need to be the best. Use tested and beloved recipes that can be made in advance. No experimenting in the kitchen when guests are coming over. I’ve included the recipe for my favorite Mojito Watermelon Salad below. It’s a staple on our dinner table during the summer months and very easy to make.
- Use the best ingredients. Since you’re only making a few dishes, you’ll want to use the best ingredients like Hebrew National All-Beef Franks and the fresh local produce. This ensures that your guests will be full and happy.
- Cook out on the grill. The point of a summer cookout is to be outside and enjoy the weather. I try to cook as much of the meal outside as possible, which means grilling. Obviously you are cooking your hot dogs on the grill but you can also grill pineapple, corn, watermelon, peaches, onions, asparagus, bell peppers, jalapenos, avocados, zucchini, bread and artichokes. I could go on and on, but you get the point. It’s super easy to grill amazing side dishes and dessert to go with your hot dogs.
- Have fun and easy activities. Growing up we always had fun activities, like Frisbee or volleyball, going on while some the adults were cooking. Sometimes a few adults would join us for a game of bocce ball or croquet. It’s a great way to keep kids of all ages entertained until dinner is served.
- Make a bonfire. As the sun starts to set, throw a few logs into the fire pit and sit around the fire. Sip on your favorite cocktail or some iced tea and just relax. It’s a nice way to catch up with your friends and neighbors.
- 1 Watermelon (about 5 pounds)
- 1 Lime
- 1 bunch Mint Leaves, chopped
- ¼ cup White Rum (optional)
- Chop the watermelon into bite size pieces and put them in a large bowl.
- Zest the lime and then add it to the watermelon.
- Cut the lime in half and then add the juice to the watermelon mixture as well.
- Next add the mint leaves and the rum (again, optional).
- Mix to combine and let sit in the refrigerator for about 1 hour before serving.
What makes a Hebrew National kosher hot dog premium? It’s all about what makes the cut (And what doesn’t). We’re choosy about what goes into our franks – we use only premium cuts of 100% kosher beef from the front half of the cow and then choose the best from that. No artificial flavors, colors, fillers or by-products. When your hot dog is Kosher, that’s a hot dog you can trust! For more summer fun with Hebrew National, visit facebook.com/hebrewnational.
*Please not that some ingredients listed here may not be kosher