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  • Writer's pictureNikki Glekas

Top 10 Items for Outdoor Entertaining

We entertain outdoors all the time in the summer! It’s so nice to have friends over, have them swim in the pool, and enjoy their company. Over the years I’ve gotten very familiar with outdoor entertaining and today I’m going to share my essential tips for making it happen. These items make it so much easier on you, the host, which makes it all that much more fun for the guests. If you have more questions about outdoor entertaining simply leave a comment and I’ll answer!

Top 10 Items for Outdoor Entertaining

  1. Room temperature recipes: Always turn to recipes for food that can served at room temperature. This includes salads, fruits, grilled items, and grain salads. I recommend staying away from anything with mayonnaise or ingredients that spoil easily.

  2. Keep the Protein simple: These occasions are perfect for grilled chicken, steak, or vegetables. These are items both kids and adults enjoy. This is not a great time for sushi or delicate food that must be served piping hot.

  3. Cocktails in a pitcher: Serving one signature cocktail in a pitcher is ideal. This saves you from having to individually mix drinks for every single guest – because you might end up doing that all night!

  4. Use unbreakable dishware: I don’t use anything glass outdoors. It breaks too easily and could cause accidents. Instead, use melamime or plastic plates that won’t shatter if dropped. Much safer for everyone!

  5. Serving platter nets: Position nets over your food platters to keep bugs away. These nets are not expensive and make a huge difference!

  6. Use lots of fruit: Fruit is hydrating which is nice when you are out in the sun. I recommend using it in both sweet and savory food.

  7. Stock up on ice: There is no such thing as too much ice! You can use it for serving drinks, chilling food, and more. Stock up on a few bags before each event, you’ll be glad to have it on hand!

  8. Keep it simple for kids and adults: Outdoor entertaining does not require a wide variety of foods. Keep the menu simple so both kids and adults will eat it, and don’t go overboard with ingredient-heavy recipes. I find it easiest to choose recipes that have similar ingredients so the menu is cohesive and manageable.

  9. Mark drinks: I always have drink markers nearby at the bar and coolers so people can mark their drinks. This is a really great practice so people don’t end up swapping glasses!

  10. The 4 Hour Rule: Having been in the restaurant business for over 20 years I’m a big believer in following the 4 Hour Rule. By that I mean, food that’s left out for 4 hours or more should be thrown out. This is for food safety purposes and I apply this to the food safety in my own home as well as my restaurants.

I hope you all have a ton of fun entertaining this summer. This is the best season to have people outdoors and enjoying the wonderful weather. If you have any questions or need recipe ideas for outdoor entertaining simply leave a comment below and let me know!

Nikki Glekas is the owner of Nikki Glekas Events, a full-service catering and events company located in Stamford, CT. She is currently operating with COVID-safe procedures and is happy to discuss your event and catering needs with you. To discuss further please contact or call 203.658.8659.

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