Sizzle and Save: How to Host a Summer Cookout on a Budget

Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue or a lakeside picnic, is there anything more satisfying than a delicious summer cookout?

Yes, there is—a great-tasting and cheap cookout is even better! But with the price of groceries rising, what’s a thrifty entertainer to do?

As these recipes show, treating friends and family to wonderful food outdoors doesn’t have to wreck your budget. So stick to the Baby Steps and get to grilling!

Chicken Kebabs With Tomato Salad

by realsimple.com

Ingredients

1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 ears corn, husks removed
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
4 scallions, chopped
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
8 skewers, soaked in water

Instructions

Heat grill to medium-high.
In a bowl, toss the chicken, garlic, thyme, 1 tablespoon of the oil, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Thread the chicken on the skewers.
Grill the chicken and corn, turning occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the corn is charred, 7 to 10 minutes for both.
In a bowl, toss the tomatoes, scallions, orange zest, remaining tablespoon of oil, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
Serve the tomato salad with the chicken and corn.

Watermelon Salsa

by eatingwell.com

Ingredients

3 cups finely diced seedless watermelon, (about 2 1/4 pounds with the rind)
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced (see Ingredient note)
1/3 cup chopped cilantro, (about 1/2 bunch)
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup minced red onion, (about 1/2 small)
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Instructions

In a bowl, stir together the watermelon, jalapenos, cilantro, lime juice and onion.
Season with salt.
Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Tips and Notes

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day

Tip: Melon selection and storage: Look for symmetrical unblemished melons, without flat sides, that have a creamy yellow spot on the bottom indicating ripeness. At 92% water, this fruit should feel heavy when you heft it. Precut melon flesh should be dense, firm and appear moist. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or keep in a cool, dark spot. Cover the cut surface of melon with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Ingredient Note: The seeds and surrounding membrane are the spiciest part of the chile pepper. To increase the heat of the salsa, use some or all of the seeds, depending on your preference, along with the flesh of the pepper.

Creamy Potato Salad

by bettycrocker.com

Ingredients

1 ½ pounds round red or white potatoes (about 6 medium), peeled
1 ½ cups mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 medium stalks celery, chopped (1 cup)
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
4 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
Paprika, if desired

Instructions

In a 3-quart saucepan, place the potatoes and add enough water to cover.
Cover and heat to boiling; reduce heat to low. Cook covered 25 to 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender; drain.
Let stand until cool enough to handle.
Cut potatoes into cubes.
In a large glass or plastic bowl, mix the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper.
Add potatoes, celery and onion; toss.
Stir in eggs.
Sprinkle with paprika.
Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours to blend flavors and chill.
Store covered in refrigerator.

No-Bake Layered Cakes

by kraftrecipes.com

Ingredients

1/2 cup hot fudge ice cream topping, warmed
1 tub (8 oz.) whipped topping, thawed, divided
1 package (3.9 oz.) chocolate flavor instant pudding
16 Oreo Cookies, chopped (about 2 cups), divided
12 vanilla ice cream sandwiches

Instructions

In a medium bowl, whisk fudge topping and 1 cup whipped topping until blended.
Add dry pudding mix; stir 2 minutes.
Stir in 1 cup cookies.
Arrange 4 ice cream sandwiches, side-by-side, on 24-inch-long piece of aluminum foil; cover with half the whipped topping mixture.
Repeat layers.
Top with remaining sandwiches.
Frost with remaining whipped topping; press remaining cookies into top and sides of dessert.
Wrap loosely with foil.