Is it hot enough where you live this summer? If not, you can CERTAINLY have some of this South Alabama heat! I’ve never been one to love the heat and humidity, but one place that I love to have a little heat is in my food – especially BBQ and all the fixin’s! The 4th of July is coming up in just a few short days, and best believe I’ll be kicking up the heat on my plate this year! I’m anxiously awaiting it’s arrival so I can chow down on some delicious dishes, but one thing I’m not so hot on is all of the time and prep that can go into those dishes.
But fret not my BBQ loving friends! I’m comin’ atcha this evening with 3 quick and easy tips to prepare the best stress-free BBQ dinner this season (and I’ll show you how to spice it up, too!)
Step 1: Don’t feel like you have to make everything from scratch
Did you know that Betty Crocker has some AMAZING pasta salad sides that are perfect for pairing with your BBQ meal? I mean, you know it’s not a BBQ until someone brings a pasta salad, right?! Since I love to pack in some spice, I chose the Suddenly Salad Southwest Grains variety. It has a delicious Mexican-inspired flare that I really love! It isn’t spicy on it’s own, so no worries if you’re more sensitive to heat!
What attracted me more than anything to this particular variety is the fact that it’s packed with some really good-for-you stuff! I love to incorporate quinoa into my meals, and the fact that I can accomplish that much goodness and get it all in just a few short minutes is AWESOME!
In fact, I was really pleased with how many different options of Suddenly Salad there actually are! I stopped by my local Publix store this past weekend and picked up a couple boxes to keep my pantry stocked. Now I’m totally ready for any cookout of potluck that comes my way this summer!
Look at those beautiful southwest grains! To make this dish a little more personalized, I diced up some jalapenos and added just a touch of spicy Italian dressing to amp up the acidity.
2. Utilize the microwave
Friends, did you know you can cook an ear of corn to perfection IN THE MICROWAVE? I’m for real, y’all! No need to shuck, silk and boil or grill it. Save yourself the time and headache and pop it in the microwave!
Step 1: Chop off the stalk-end of the ear of corn with a straight blade knife. You’ll want to make sure you cut off some of the actual ear of corn and not just the husk. (This cuts the silks loose at the stalk end of the ear.)
Step 2: Wrap the ear in a paper towel and dampen it.
Step 3: Place on a microwave safe plate and microwave for 4 minutes.
Step 4: Allow to cool for a few minutes. Remove the paper towel and the ear of corn by simply squeezing the end of the stalk until it pops out! (Think like you’re squeezing a tube of toothpaste – this will remove all of the silks on the corn!)
This is one of my favorite kitchen hacks of all time. It’s works perfectly every single time! In true Southern nature, I sprinkled a little creole seasoning and butter on mine. Mmm!
Step 3: Utilize the Slow Cooker!
I’m a huge fan of BBQ, y’all. In fact, I love it SO much that I served BBQ at my own wedding! This summer season means that everyone is preparing their meat out on the grill or in their smoker, but sometimes you just don’t have the time (or maybe even the skill…I don’t!) to do that sort of thing. That’s where the handy dandy slow cooker comes in to play!
I just pulled out my favorite slow cooker BBQ chicken recipe and tossed it in the pot. I poured my favorite spicy BBQ sauce, a little vinegar and some brown sugar on top and let it do it’s thing. My fabulous BBQ plate was ready to be eaten before lunch time – and I never stressed over it for one second!
So if you’re gearing up for a cookout or potluck this Summer, take the stress out of the planning and enjoy the good things in life! I always keep a box (or three) of Suddenly Salad on hand to help me do just that!
Winner, Winner, Suddenly Salad Dinner!!
One lucky Southern Made Simple reader will WIN $15 Paypal cash so they can pick up a few boxes of Suddenly Salad to help rock their next BBQ or cookout!
Visit Suddenly Salad where you’ll find a sweet money saving coupon! (This is a must)
Come back and tell me in a comment what dish you’ll prepare this 4th of July to go with your Suddenly Salad!