Four Low-Maintenance Outdoor Dinner Party Dishes

Published: June 14, 2022

Life at The Canyons™ includes breathtaking vistas both inside and outside your beautiful home, and summer is an ideal time to share those moments with friends — especially over a delicious meal. Make these quick low-maintenance dishes for outdoor dinner parties so you can spend as much time as possible with your favorite people and less time in the kitchen. Spoiler: The key is to marinade.


Bring distinctive flavors to the table with shashlik, a shish kebab meat skewer popular in Central Asia. This dish comes together faster than you’d imagine. Make it with almost any kind of red meat — lamb is traditional — and the spices and seasonings of the Russian steppes. The basic recipe combines meat, marinade, and onions. For a simple shashlik, cut meat into two-inch pieces. Combine with four medium sliced onions, four bay leaves ripped in half, salt and pepper to taste, two tablespoons of oil, and — this is the key — one and a half cups of mineral water. Grill over wood charcoal for the most authentic taste.

Summer Produce

Take advantage of delicious combinations of summer veggies straight from the farmers’ market. Try this elegant tomato salad with couscous for a nutritious, filling, and impressive side dish. Combine three tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley, two tablespoons of chopped fresh basil, one tablespoon of sugar, one and a half teaspoons each of garlic salt and seasoned salt, one-half teaspoon of ground black pepper, three-quarters teaspoon of dried thyme, three-quarters cup of canola oil, half a cup of red wine vinegar, and three diced scallions. Add six large tomatoes cut into wedges (or an equal amount of halved cherry, grape, or pear tomatoes). Marinate for at least two hours at room temperature and serve as is or toss with three cups of quinoa cooked in chicken stock. Yum!

Lemon-Herb Chicken Breasts

Rinse and dry three pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast halves. Coat them well in a marinade of one fourth of a cup of olive oil, three cloves of finely-chopped garlic, the grated zest and juice of one lemon, two tablespoons each of chopped fresh thyme and rosemary, and salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours. Grill over medium-high heat, turning once until firm to the touch, for about five minutes on each side. Cut on the diagonal against the grain for serving.

Burrata Fig Pesto Board

Less of a recipe and more of an idea, charcuterie or other themed-food boards are an elegant addition to any meal. While juicy figs are in season, put together a board that sets the natural sweetness of the fresh fruit against the creamy indulgence of genuine burrata — while you can substitute mozzarella, the effect is quite different. Serve with store-bought pesto alongside grilled artisan bread or whip up a quick mint pesto of your own.

If you’re visualizing yourself making these recipes in a gourmet kitchen, now is the time to visit The Canyons™. Here, elegant simplicity is the essence of living and a vital component of our design philosophy. Call us today at 720.344.2900 to learn more!