Entertaining should be easy and fun. And it can be with some simple solutions and fresh recipes.
Start with Simple Recipes
- For this tropical dessert pizza, make the cookie crust the day before. Mix the filling and store it in an airtight plastic container, then cut up fruit and store in individual resealable plastic bags. Be creative and substitute your family’s favorite fruits. Kids will have fun arranging the sliced fruit on this yummy dessert pizza!
- Three ingredients plus three minutes equals one tasty marinade. Let the kids help pour the ingredients into a resealable plastic bag to flavor juicy pork tenderloins with a subtly sweet, spicy marinade.
- The combination of crisp watermelon, juicy tomatoes and fresh basil with balsamic vinegar creates a fantastic and refreshing light salad. Just cut up ingredients and store in separate plastic containers, then toss together right before the party to keep the flavors fresh.
- For picnics on damp ground, placing an inexpensive plastic tablecloth under a blanket helps keep dampness from reaching picnickers—and keeps your blanket cleaner, too.
- Wash, chop, measure and prepare your ingredients 1 to 2 days before an event or party. They can be stored in resealable plastic bags or airtight containers in the refrigerator to make putting together recipes much easier the day of the party.
- Save plastic grocery bags to send guests home with leftovers. Placing an empty plastic grocery bag in a picnic basket is also a great solution for collecting trash after a picnic in the park—it doesn’t take up much room and will act as a waterproof barrier to prevent spills.
- Create a dipping station for barbecue and grill sauces using reusable plastic storage containers with lids. Guests can spoon sauces onto their plates; when the party is over, simply place the lids back on the sauces and store in the refrigerator. They come in all different shapes and sizes and even fun colors.
- Use resealable plastic bags for marinades. Put meat in the bags with marinade and refrigerate overnight. It helps save space in the refrigerator and clean up is easy. This also works for coating and breading.
Watermelon and Tomato Salad
- 4 cups scooped out watermelon balls or chunks
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Salt to taste
- 1/3 cup crumbled reduced fat feta cheese, optional
- In bowl, combine watermelon, onion, tomatoes and basil.
- Whisk together oil and vinegar and toss with salad. Season to taste. Refrigerate until serving.
Makes 10 (1/2-cup) servings
Tropical Fruit Dessert Pizza
- 1 18-ounce roll refrigerated ready-to-slice sugar cookie dough
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 8-ounce package fat-free cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange rind
- 1 cup fat-free frozen whipped topping, thawed
- 1 26-ounce jar mango slices, drained, or 2 fresh mangoes, sliced
- 1 16-ounce can pineapple slices, drained, or 1 fresh pineapple, sliced
- 1 11-ounce can mandarin orange segments, drained
- 1/2 cup apricot preserves
- 2 tablespoons orange liqueur or orange juice
- 2 tablespoons coconut, toasted, optional
- Preheat oven 350°F.
- Press cookie dough into a 12 to 14-inch pizza pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake 12 minutes, cool completely.
- In medium mixing bowl, blend together sugar, cream cheese, coconut extract until well mixed. Stir in orange rind and whipped topping, mixing until smooth. Spread cream cheese mixture on top of cooled crust.
- Arrange mango slices around edge of iced pizza. Then, arrange pineapple slices around edge. Next, arrange mandarin orange slices in another ring to fill center of pizza.
- In small saucepan or in microwave, heat apricot preserves and orange liqueur just until melted. Spoon glaze over fruit. Sprinkle with toasted coconut, if desired. Refrigerate until serving.
Makes 12 servings
Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Terrific Tidbit: Go ahead and grate more orange rind than you’ll need for the recipe—you can grate a whole orange or lemon and freeze the rind in a plastic freezer bag until needed.
3-Ingredient Marinade for Pork Tenderloin
- 2 1-pound pork tenderloins, trimmed of excess fat
- 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup roasted garlic seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Preheat oven 350°F.
- In bowl, combine all ingredients except tenderloins. Place meat in dish or large resealable plastic bag, pour marinade over meat. If time permits, refrigerate overnight, turning meat several times.
- Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the tenderloin registers 160°F. Slice tenderloin, serve.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Quick Tip: Tenderloins come two to a package. If one will be enough for you to serve, halve recipe, freeze other tenderloin in freezable plastic bag.
About Holly Clegg
Holly Clegg, the “Queen of Quick,” is a best-selling cookbook author who knows how to keep things sweet and simple. She’s teamed up with the American Chemistry Council’s Plastics Make it Possible® campaign to offer helpful tips and recipes to make your summer entertaining a breeze.