Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Evening Barbecue

Second in Allrecipes’ series of guest bloggers writing about their personal Recipes for Happiness, Michele King is president and the creative force behind the Gaga Goody Company, an online gourmet treat business. Her romance with food inspired her to launch her own blog,, to share her insights into the world of food and entertaining. Allrecipes met her in June 2012 at the BlogHer Food conference in Seattle. In her own words, she says: “I love to cook and enjoy experimenting with new recipes all the time. My original recipes are grounded in the traditional American cuisine I grew up with in Chicago’s western suburbs, meshed with deep Southern influences from Mississippi and Louisiana based on my parents’ background. After becoming an adult, living in three states, and interacting with a multitude of different cultures, these experiences helped shape the cook I am today. I love entertaining, and what better way to do it than with food, drink, and amazing company?”

(Spread more happiness, and help celebrate its 15th anniversary! Share a special moment in your life by posting a photo here of your special #RecipeForHappiness!) 

For me, summertime means backyard barbeques and friends conversing over a glass of wine. In a fast-paced world of texting and instant messaging, it feels good to put technology to rest in exchange for an evening of good old-fashioned face time. I still have ample respect for formal invitations and stationary, but in a universe where everyone spreads themselves so thin, making time to nourish your friendships is vital.

So, on this day, I prepared a menu that included something for everyone. I have friends whom do not eat beef or pork, so I decided to go with chicken as my safety. My one friend Tiffany loves turkey sausage and she pretty much twisted my arm to make sure I grill some. Luckily for her, it was on sale and I wanted to see how it would cook up on the grill, so everyone wins. With it being over ninety degrees the last few days, there was no way in the world I was going to bake anything. Plus, more of my friends are trying to do better with their eating habits, so having barbeque and a heavy dessert was not an option. Although I am decidedly team carnivore, I do enjoy fresh salads loaded with vegetables and wanted to make sure I had some offerings that were meatless so that all my guests could enjoy the evening and leave with a full belly.

Barbequed Chicken
Italian Turkey Sausage
Grilled Corn-on the Cob
Garden Salad
Pasta Salad
White Wine

Turkey sausage in buns ready for guests (Photo by Michele King)

Arrange a festive table to make your evening barbecue even more inviting (Photo by Michele King)
We feasted on delicious fruits such as peaches, cherries, and green grapes in the summer heat. What’s not to love about sweet and juicy peaches? Just rinse and serve for a great way to begin or end your meal. I added a nice leafy salad filled to the rim with vegetables and a homemade poppy seed dressing I found on one of my favorite websites,

For my pasta salad, I kept it simple, using two cups of tri-colored rotini pasta, prepared as instructed by packaging. I then cut broccoli, two celery stalks, and two cups cherry tomatoes into bite-size portions. The broccoli and celery I cooked in water until tender, drained, and then mixed with the cherry tomatoes and pasta. Finally, I added a cup of Italian salad dressing and mixed it in well with a big spoon.

On the grill, I prepared corn-on-the-cob. I drizzled the corn with olive oil and melted butter, and then seasoned it with Northern Italian seasoning and kosher salt. Finally, I wrapped the corn in aluminum foil and grilled it.

For the chicken, I used kosher salt, pepper, lemon pepper, paprika, and Italian seasoning. As you can see by now, I love Italian seasoning for its versatility. It is a kitchen must! I also found a great sauce for my barbeque on It is just such a good resource and you can always mix things up to make them your own.

Barbecued chicken glazed with my favorite sauce! (Photo by Michele King)
Great food, good wine, and the heat is beginning to ease up. What more can you ask for on a sunny day? My advice to any hostess would be to do your grilling and prep work the day before so you can enjoy the evening and really participate in the conversation. Relax and enjoy your food and your guests!

-- Posted by Michele King, Gaga Goody Company


I enjoyed writing this post as celebrates 15th years! All the best and many more!