Sunday, July 24, 2016

Fabulous Do Ahead Al Fresco Dinner Menu

Hope you had an awesome weekend and are savoring these summer days.
One of my favorite things about summer is having friends over
 to dine Al fresco on our deck. A simple do ahead menu is a must! Don't get me
wrong, I love a simple juicy burger on the grill, but I wanted to serve something
 more unique. It's no fun having to slave in the kitchen once your guests arrive so I
 always look for recipes that can be prepped ahead of time, I think these are winners!
 I'm sharing a yummy summer menu I served recently, along with my tips and
 timeline for having it all together ahead of time, so you're free to enjoy your guests.
I've noted where I deviated from the recipes, and how I prepped everything prior to
our get-together for a smooth stress-free dinner.  

~ menu ~    

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail w/ Tortilla Chips

Chili Lime Chicken

Mandarin Orange Salad w/Sugared Almonds

Grilled Corn with Spicy Cilantro Lime Butter

Key Lime Pie

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
Recipe from Elise @ Simply Recipes

Served as an appetizer with drinks before dinner. 
I use fresh tomatoes instead of canned and pre-cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp. 
I didn't chop the shrimp, but instead put a few on top of each individual serving.

Chili Lime Chicken
Recipe from Bee @ Rasa Malaysia

I grill the chicken a couple hours before our guests arrived, let sit for 15 min before slicing,
pile on large platter and serve at room temp.
I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs.

Mandarin Orange Salad with Sugared Almonds
Recipe from

I use organic mixed greens from Costco.

Grilled Corn with Spicy Cilantro Lime Butter
Recipe from Megan @ Pip & Ebby

I use 1/4 cup butter in place of the mayo. 
I like to serve smaller pieces of corn, so I cut the cobs in half. 
Boil corn for 2 minutes then transfer to hot grill for a short time to get char marks,
 turning once or twice. 
Pile on large platter and serve with lime wedges.   

Key Lime Pie
Recipe from Leigh Anne @ Your Home Based Mom

Use homemade graham cracker crust! 
Delete sour cream, decrease Nellie & Joe's Key Lime Juice to 1/2 cup.
Add whipped cream (I used Reddi Wip) to individual slices at time of serving. 


Salad - Prepare Sugared Almonds, store in plastic container.
Corn - Prepare Cilantro Lime Butter, refrigerate in plastic container.
Pie - Crush graham crackers and mix in sugar, store in plastic container. 

Salad - chop celery, slice onion & prepare dressing - refrigerate. 
Husk corn & cut in half - refrigerate.
Make Key Lime Pie & refrigerate.
Shrimp Cocktail - Thaw shrimp in refrigerator if frozen.


Chicken - Prepare Marinade
Mexican Shrimp Cocktail - Prepare and refrigerate (Do not add shrimp or avocado)
Salad - drain mandarin oranges and refreigerate.


Grill chicken
Put salad together, except dressing
Chop avocado and add to shrimp cocktail.
Cut Pie

Dish Mexican Shrimp Cocktail into individual ramekins and top with a few shrimp,
serve on plates with forks and tortilla chips.

When you're ready for dinner:
Grill corn over high heat just till charred, heat prepared lime butter in microwave,
transfer corn to platter and slather with butter.

Dress salad and sprinkle with sugared almonds.

That's it friends, it really is a fresh, easy to put together menu that appears much
more time consuming. I always a happy hostess if our guests ask for recipes,
and they did! :)

Here's to Al fresco dining with friends!


Linda Darling said...

What a great post! Full of good looking recipes and helpful planning tips. Looking forward to trying this soon. Thanks.

Vel Criste said...

I must try that chicken and salad recipe! wiSH i could come over and dine with you there !!!! Thank you Pam!

Patti said...

Love, love this post! Thank you for the great recipes, etc.

Splendid Market said...

Love all of this lime!!

Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...

This menu sounds delish Pam! I can't wait to try it exactly as you described!!!!

Jennifer @ Dimples and Tangles said...

These all look SO good, wish I could have hung around for the BBQ! Pinned away and definitely trying that chicken!

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