Summer may be coming to an end, but we can’t let it pass without one last cookout for the books. Labor Day gives us the perfect excuse to break out our fire pit (if your camping knowledge is rusty, check out one of these easy fire starters to get the party going!). Whether you’re hosting a summer soirée of your own or just looking for a dish to bring to your bestie’s, these unique recipes won’t disappoint. Pick a party theme, crank the music, and gather up your nearest and dearest. It’s the unofficial end of summer and it’s time to have fun!
Mango Salsa: Chips and salsa might not seem like anything riveting or inventive but there is nothing like homemade salsa. This special version is loaded with strawberries, avocado, and, of course, plenty of mangoes. Serve with tortilla or baked pita chips.
Grilled Tomato Lollipop Toasts: If you plan on firing up the grill, consider this simple appetizer. Fire roasted cherries meet ricotta-slathered grilled bread. Use the sweetest cherry tomatoes you can find.
Avocado Dip: You can expect for this dish to be consumed quickly. Luckily this recipe requires five ingredients and five minutes to make. That means you’ve got time for another round of cornhole.
Cantaloupe Panzanella: Cantaloupe is SO good right now and adding it to a panzanella sweetens the deal.
Herbed Red Potato Salad: Potato salad is always a crowd pleaser and pairs well with so many dishes. This version swaps mayo for a flavorful herb and olive oil dressing, helping it stand up to hot summer afternoons.
Tomato Mozzarella Salad With Balsamic Reduction: This salad is very simple to throw together, travels well, and makes for a show stopping side. Consider the balsamic reduction a new life skill — it’s delicious on everything from grilled peaches to ice cream.
Elote Corn: Take advantage of corn season with elote, a classic Mexican street food dish. Sweet corn gets charred over an open fire and seasoned with all kinds of yumminess
Zucchini and Fresh Corn Farmers’ Market Salad With Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette: Hurray for no-cook sides! They’re fresh, delicious, and keep you from sweatin’ up a storm in the kitchen on warmer days. This one gets a flavor boost with goat cheese and pine nuts.
Garlic Brown Sugar Flank Steak With Chimichurri: If you’re looking for a steak recipe that’s also easy on the wallet, flank is your friend. This dish has an option for broiling the meat, so you can still get that cookout vibe even if you don’t own a grill.
Sweet Tea Oven-Fried Chicken Sliders With Jalapeño Cheddar Corn Slaw and Crispy Onions: If the name alone hasn’t convinced you, consider the fact that almost everything can be prepped in advance.
Easy Grilled Lemon Garlic Shrimp: Sometimes, the simplest recipes are the best ones. We think this is a perfect example. A buttery sauce of garlic, lemon, and herbs is all you need to transform juicy shrimp into a stunning entrée.
Beer and Honey BBQ Chicken Skewers: This BBQ recipe hits all the salty, sweet, crispy, charred, tender notes we look for in a good kebab.