For me, cooking and entertaining are other creative outlets I enjoy –  I’m all about easy, simple (but still really tasty) food. I served up the below items at a recent (pre 4th of July) BBQ, among other staples like fruit, salad, fries, etc… but these seemed to be a real crowd pleaser. And since it’s prime time for barbeques, I thought I would share…

Lemon Pasta (made a day in advance and served cold)


1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup chicken broth
1-2 lemons (juice and zest)
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 pound pasta
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
–  ½-1 bag of baby arugula
– 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
– 1 10 oz package of frozen peas, thawed

Cook pasta: Boil water and start to cook pasta according to package directions.
Saute garlic: Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook the garlic briefly (less than 1 minute or so, careful not to burn).
Cook and reduce: Add the heavy cream, lemon juice and zest, chicken broth and salt/pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower heat. Simmer sauce for about 15 minutes. It will reduce and start to thicken.
Combine: Add the sauce to the cooked pasta. Add the vegetables. Add the cheese at the end.
Serve: Serve with extra cheese, if you like.

Mini Sliders  *The key is to serve up your sliders on Hawaiian sweet rolls.

Special Sauce *Inspired by the Shake Shack sauce in New York – A mix of mayo, ketchup and finely minced pickles makes the best burger sauce, ever.

Messy Sundae Bar – For individual ice cream sundaes. I chose vanilla bean ice cream, warm chocolate sauce and an old school cherry. And I couldn’t resist the cool ice cream bowls and mini plastic spoons!

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July 5 2012

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