Unfold that checkered tablecloth, and gas up the grill, because summer is in full-swing and that means it’s time to get your barbeque on! Only this time, let your Recessionista flag fly — because you’re not going to get charred by all the stress (financially and otherwise) that normally comes with hosting a backyard event.
Let’s call it a “Best Of” BBQ, where all of your besties chip in by bringing a dish all their own (and don’t forget the drinks). Whether it’s Mama’s Baby Back Ribs or Chicken Skewers ready for the grill, when everyone pools their culinary resources the result is not only delicious but, more importantly, fun! (Plus, it’s a sneaky way to split the costs).
Let your guests know in advance that it’s a potluck — and one where they should put their best chef forward — for this BBQ, my friends, is a formal “cook-off” disguised as a casual affair. Assign three of your nearest and dearest to judge the tasty competition, choose a Grill Master to fire up the food, and gather a clean-up crew to help clear the deck. This way, everyone has a role and YOU get to enjoy the company you keep.
Once all the invitees have arrived, put your judges to work! Whoever wins the “Best of” at your BBQ gets a Grand Prize chosen by you. Get creative with a homemade pie, a bucket full of ice cold beers, or a $20 gift certificate to your crew’s favorite haunt.
Before the fun and games though, remember that as a hostess, even for a casual affair, you do need to cater to some basic needs. Be sure to stock up on ice, paper and plastic tableware (hello, easy clean-up!) along with a yummy dish or two of your own. Make them easy though, like a salad or a dip with chips, so you don’t get burnt out before the BBQ even begins.
Here’s this Recessionista’s fav Guac’ recipe — so good you might wanna swap the tortillas for a spoon!
6 avocados shelled and mashed
1/2 cup fresh cilantro diced
1/4 cup fresh mint chopped
1/2 cup tomatoes diced
1/3 cup onions diced
2-3 cloves garlic freshly chopped (get your mouthwash ready!)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste (this also keeps the avocados from turning brown)
Salt and pepper to taste
…Oh, and seriously, don’t forget the chips!
Alycia Lane is a morning news anchor for the L.A.- based NBC station. A multiple Emmy, Edward R. Murrow and Golden Mic award winner, she has worked on-air in other major TV markets such as New York, Miami and Philadelphia – before landing in the City of Angels. Her other passions include yoga, cooking, baking, interior design and all things domestic.