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Easy Summer Dinner Party - Focus on Seasonal Flavors

Let Summer's Best Ingredients Do the Work for You

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Brie Beach Bruschetta

Brie Peach Bruschetta Appetizer

Linda Larsen, About.com Guide to Busy Cooks

It's never more true than in the summer that, when entertaining, we want to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with our friends. The ideal recipes for this season can be prepared in less than fifteen minutes, using the best of summer ingredients and flavors.

This easy summer menu uses herbs, lemons and summer fruit, resulting in maximum color while requiring minimal time and effort. You're left with plenty of time to chill on the patio with your guests and savor the laziness of the season.

Setting the Stage

Use your tablescape to showcase the flavors of this menu:

Set your table using a bright green cloth, topped with crisp white napkins.

Place small pots of fresh herbs down the length of your table.

Fill tall, clear glass vases with shiny yellow lemons. Arrange as many as will be needed to place them 1 - 1.5 feet apart down the length of your table.

The Menu

Brie Peach Bruschetta - This beautiful appetizer is quick to assemble and cook, and combines the best of fresh summer flavors. Slice your bread base into small pieces for two-bite size portions. Enjoy this recipe from Busy Cooks Guide, Linda Larsen.

Grilled Salmon Recipe - Herbs and lemon luice add refreshing flavors to an easy grilled salmon recipe from Stephanie Gallagher, Guide to Cooking for Kids. This recipe can be prepared either outside or on an indoor grill, just in case an unexpected summer thunderstorm should pop up.

Tortellini Pesto Toss - Convenience ingredients like frozen tortellini and prepared pesto will save you time in this recipe from Linda Larsen, Guide to Busy Cooks. But if you already have pesto in your freezer that you harvested from your own garden, feel free to use that too. Bright avocados and grape tomatoes add color and texture to this dish.

Chocolate Trifle - This is the perfect dessert for combining ease with maximum impact. Your guests will think you worked hours to put it together. Carroll Pellegrinelli, Guide to Desserts and Baking, shows us how we can keep our cool while preparing a showstopping dessert for our guests.

Lynchburg Lemonade - Follow the directions in this recipe from Cocktails Guide, Colleen Graham, for making this into a summer punch, that way you don't need to fix a cocktail when each new guest arrives.

An assortment of other refreshing summer beverages including beer, iced tea, lemonade, and cold water.

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