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June 2, 2010

6 Easy Outdoor Dinner Recipes

Prepare this simple, seasonal menu plan — complete with appetizer, entrée, sides, and dessert — at your next party.

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woman grilling food

Photo Credit: Tetra Images

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Ready for some outdoor eats, but not too confident with the grill? Have no fear: Food Network’s health-conscious star, Ellie Krieger, dishes out an exclusive Marie Claire menu plan from her new book, The Food You Crave.

"There's an effortlessness about entertaining and dining in the summer," says Krieger. "It’s the season of bounty."

Here, simple, seasonal dishes that dazzle:

APPETIZER
Grilled Zucchini Roll-Ups with Herbs and Cheese

  • 3 small zucchini (about 1/2 pound each), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 ounces fresh goat cheese, preferably reduced-fat
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 ounces baby spinach leaves (2 cups lightly packed)
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves

1. Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium heat.

2. Discard the outermost slices of zucchini and brush the rest with the oil on both sides. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Grill until tender, about 4 minutes per side. You can make the grilled zucchini a day ahead and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

3. In a small bowl, combine the goat cheese, parsley, and lemon juice, mashing them together with a fork.

4. Put 1/2 teaspoon of the cheese mixture about 1/2 inch from the end of a zucchini slice. Top with a few spinach leaves and one small or half of a large basil leaf. Roll up and place seam side down on a platter. Repeat with the rest of the zucchini slices.

5. You can make these up to a day before you are ready to serve and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


For enticing entrées, go to the next page.


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