Summer Entertaining- Simple Dinner Party Ideas

Today’s post will cover ideas for summer entertaining with seafood! As I mentioned several times in my Guide to Summer Parties, Keep It Simple! That is a surefire way to be sure that you enjoy your dinner party as much as your guests do, and trust me, with these recipes, they will!

hello little shrimp friend

hello little shrimp friend

First we’ll start with the appetizer, Homemade Shrimp Cocktail. Say hello to my little shrimpy friends!

Homemade Shrimp Cocktail
What you’ll need:
1 2 lb bag of raw, devained, peel-and-eat frozen shrimp, 21-25 count per pound (this will indicate what size the shrimp are) 
1 onion, peeled and halved
1 clove of garlic, chopped in half
1 bay leaf
Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

What you’ll do:
1. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaf, salt and pepper to a large pot of water, about 4 quarts, and bring to a boil- the smell is absolutely amazing already.

2. Once the water is at a rolling boil, add in the shrimp and cook for about 4 minutes, until the shrimp turn pink and start to float to the top. Strain the shrimp and place into a bowl to cool.

3. Set the shrimp aside for an hour or so, to speed this up, you can cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.

4. Once the shrimp have cooled, begin to peel them, this is where the peel-and-eat factor comes into play, the process will be so much easier if you pick up this type of shrimp.

5. Place all peeled shrimp on a platter and serve with the cocktail sauce of your choosing, and garnish with lemon wedges. Enjoy!

Snap tip:
*You can defrost the shrimp ahead of time or toss them right in from the freezer, I have done it both ways and it has worked out fine. The cooking time is extended just a bit for frozen shrimp. The main thing to be sure of is that the shrimp are still in their shells (close up above), that is where all of the flavor is!

Our fave cocktail sauces, extra hot and plan for the sissys ;)

Our fave cocktail sauces, extra hot and plan for the sissys 😉

crab plates skitter into use again

crab plates skitter into use again

We served some delicious Old Bay potato chips to compliment the shrimp and add that extra bit of salt that works so well with a seafood dish!

Next up was a delicious salad comprised of romaine lettuce, chopped campari tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, blue cheese, chopped walnuts and dried cranberries. I served a delicious vinaigrette alongside the salad as a light and tasty compliment!

The main dish was a delightful packet of tilapia with white wine, chopped garlic, lemon juice, lemon slices, olive oil and salt and pepper. We placed the packets on the grill for 8-10 minutes and served them piping hot. Our guests really enjoyed each getting their own packet of fish, lemons and delightful juices. I didn’t manage to get a photo, but the Food Network site has a great guide to grilling in foil.

Alongside the fish we served these amazing grilled veggie kabobs. I took some help from the supermarket and picked up super fresh pre-cut and loaded kabobs, and added olive oil spray, salt and pepper to them prior to grilling. Easy Peasy

Snap Tip:
* The grocery store has some amazing vegetables that are pre-cut and ready to go, and can really save you time and stress when having a dinner party!

For dessert we served a Patriotic salute to America, a flag fruit and pretzel tray! This is an idea I picked up from Pinterest, of course! What great idea doesn’t come from Pinterest nowadays?!

Anywho, I have made this dessert before, and by made I mean opened up a bag of Flipz white fudge covered pretzels and arranged them on a platter with fresh strawberries and fresh blueberries. I picked up the ceramic berry container at Home Goods and have gotten such use out of it already! This dish can be made on a much larger scale, just pick up a few more pints of berries and an extra bag of Flipz and use a larger tray. Trust me, there won’t be leftovers.

Please feel free to share your favorite Easy Summer Dinner Party recipes in the comments, I would love to read them!

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