WCL: Farewell-to-Summer Backyard Barbeque

Celebrity Party Planner Debi Lilly, shares her tips and trends in 3 easy Do It Yourself steps for a fresh and fast backyard barbeque.

Step 1: Set the backyard scene for no cost at all by pull your living room furniture outside to create a chic, clubby backyard lounge. Sofa, chairs, coffee table and more can sit right on the deck or in the grass for a high design conversation area.

Step 2: Dress your table with my farm fresh Debi Lilly bouquets at Dominick's - designed to simply chop the stems and drop right into your own vases.

Step 3: Create a colorful, healthy, easy menu with 5 ingredient, 5 minute recipes:

I love serving a fun, clever themed cocktail, and nothing says summer like an ice tea bar. I set pitchers filled with infused tea, and guests can splash in vodka and garnish their chilled canning jar "cocktail glass."

Spiked Sweet Tea
-Sweet Tea
-Lemon, sliced into rounds
-Fresh mint
In pitcher, fill 2/3 with Sweet Tea, 1/3 with Vodka, lemon slices and fresh mint. Pour over ice, into glasses. Garnish with fresh mint sprig and lemon slice on rim.

Make the party easy on yourself by setting a summer buffet - so you can spend time with guests instead of in the kitchen. All of these are bright, beautiful, and easy to serve at room temperature, allowing setup in advance before the first guest arrives.

Grilled Salmon with Summer Salsas
-Fresh Salmon Filets (one per person)
-Schmear of Butter, left to soften at room temperature
-1 bunch Fresh Dill, chopped
-Black Pepper
-1 Lemon, cut in half

Heat Grill to high. Sprinkle fresh black pepper onto each side of salmon. Place salmon filets directly onto grill about 5 minutes, until opaque. Mix butter with chopped dill, let set at room temperature. Flip carefully with a spatula onto other side, place small schmear of dill butter ontop of each filet on grill while cooking finishes. When filet is opaque remove from heat onto platter, and squeeze with fresh lemon juice. Serve with a trio of summer salsas - avocado jalapeño, spicy corn black bean, and pico de gallo.

Stuffed Caprese Bombs
-Roma Tomatoes (one per person)
-Fresh Burrata
-Fresh Basil and Mint
-Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar

Accordion slice Roma tomato, leaving bottom in tact. Slice Watermelon and Burrata into thin slices, and tuck inside folds of tomato. Rip Basil and Mint into small pieces, tuck inside folds of tomato. Drizzle with Olive Oil, Balsamic and Black Pepper.

Spicy Succotash
No cook recipe, packed with protein, and as easy as thawing frozen veg from the freezer aisle.

-1 bag frozen Edamame, thaw
-1 bag frozen White Corn, thaw
-1 can Black Beans, drained
-1 can White Beans, drained
-1 bottle Garlic Expressions Dressing, available in grocery store
-optional - fresh grated black pepper to taste
In a bowl, mix all ingredients together, and toss with dressing to taste.

Baked Bean Pots
Tiny pots, in French called Cocottes, are the hot food trend in Paris and keep food warm to boot.
By adding texture and color to canned baked beans, you have a fast and fancy party favorite.

-Canned Baked Beans
-Canned Black Beans, rinsed and drained
-Canned White Beans, rinsed and drained
-Cooked Bacon, chopped
-Cooked Italian Sausage, crumbled
Mix all together, let bake in oven to warm at 300, for an hour.

Pickle Board
Dress up jars of pickles and pickled vegetables in the grocery aisle in old fashioned canning jars, with labels printed or handwritten to dress them up.
Pickles, Cornichon, Pickled Asparagus, Pickled Garlic, Pickled Green Beans, and more are all in your grocery ready to pop open and serve.

Deviled Egg Bar
This summertime classic is even more fun reinvented with customized toppings like Truffle Pate, Tomato Tapenade, Bacon Herb.

-6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut in half lengthwise

-1/4 cup Mayonnaise
-1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
-1/2 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
-1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Remove egg yolks to a small bowl, mash with a fork. Add mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, and pepper and mix together. Fill each egg white "shell" with the mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Optional Toppings:
-Tomato Tapenade
-Truffle Pate
-Crumbled Bacon and Fresh Chopped Herbs


Cake Jars
Cake Jars are the hot new trend from Paris - simply fill canning jars of all sizes with layered cake, fresh fruit, whip cream, chocolate mousse and more.
Truffle Truffle designed this Cake Jar Tower in summer flavors: Strawberry Shortcake, Neapolitan, Lemon Raspberry and more. truffletruffle.com http://truffletruffle.com

Prosecco Floats
-Prosecco, chilled
-Fruit Sorbet
Scoop sorbet into small juice glasses. Fill with Prosecco. Serve with mini straw or demi spoon.

Cheers to Summer's End - and your backyard celebration!

Debi Lilly is a nationally renowned event-planning expert based in Chicago. She is the founder and president of A Perfect Event (www.aperfectevent.com) - Chicago's most successful special event company with a faithful (and famous) following, including Oprah Winfrey