Awh, summer! …or as Dan keeps reminding me ‘late spring.’ He’s super analytical, but I consider anything from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Summer.
This time of year, for us, is the craziest, it’s wedding season and hay season, and somewhere towards the end of June it finally stops raining long enough in Kentucky to accomplish all the major farm and yard projects we’ve been anxiously awaiting. This time of year is a megaplex of get-togethers — holidays, family reunions, church picnics — and impromptu cookouts.
If you’re like me, and summer is one busy blur, then you probably don’t have time to put much planning into the dish you show up with for said events. You need something that is easy to throw together and guaranteed to win you friends.
So below I have complied my top six favorite dishes to bring to summer events. All have been tested on and have received rave reviews from Dan’s big, happy Catholic family. None of which, are no way, no how, potato salad, because LAWD knows there is already going to be at least two of those at any function.
If for whatever reason you haven’t already made these, stop what you’re doing and make them right MEOW. These apple dumplings will win over even the hardest of hearts. The men in my husband’s family tend to be anti-sweets, but they will clear a pan of these faster then you can say apple.
Not only are they a numba one stunna, they are SUPER easy to throw together and also inexpensive. All around win.
That recipe here: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/apple_dumplings/
I threw easy and inexpensive at you first, these aren’t hard by any means, but they do take some time and if jalapenos aren’t in season, can be a little more pricey. BUT, this is totally worth it. I used to make these all the time, and when I moved on to other dishes, people in both my family and Dan’s picked up the slack and started making them instead. Because a family function without them, is really no function at all.
That recipe here: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/bacon-wrapped_j/
Have you ever seen a flock of pigeons descend on a bread crumb? Accurate description of what happened when I set the Rubbermaid container, holding these cookies, on a picnic table at Memorial Day. The container was empty in 5 minutes, and this recipe makes A LOT of cookies.
That recipe here: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/malted-milk-chocolate-chip-cookies/
I lied to y’all when I said every recipe in this list is tested by all of Dan’s, very large, family. This one has just been tried by DaniSquared. But, that doesn’t make it any less fantastic. I made this one just to test out for future functions, and we ended up eating solely it for several meals that week. Neither of us complained one bit.
What I love about this dish is that it has a little more pizzazz than a typical pasta salad. It’s also incredibly fresh tasting — like summer in a bowl.
That recipe here: http://www.chelseasmessyapron.com/easy-tex-mex-pasta-salad/
My mother-in-law told me I wasn’t allowed to show up at Easter unless I brought this. (She’s joking, of course. …I think.) She means business when it comes to this dish. What I love about it is it’s not the traditional fruit salad you think of with a white cream and jello. It’s just fruit, plain and simple in a vanilla-orange sauce. It’s gorgeous and heavenly.
That recipe here: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/pretty-fruit-salad/
6. Ugly Dip
You know that point of desperation when a dip is finished so you’re using crumbs of tortilla chips to scrape any last morsel from a bowl? No? Just me? Well, me and apparently some of my cousins, because that is what I witnessed the last time I made this dip. It may be ugly, but it makes up for it in taste.
*Disclaimer: I heart you, Potato Salad. Apologies for the shade thrown your way in this post.