It’s summertime; your family and friends stop by, and before you know it, you are hosting a large gathering. You want to eat out but the restaurants have very long wait times. Everyone is hungry, and you have to feed a large crowd. What do you do? Below are few steps to have a lovely summer dining experience in your own back yard.

  • Fast food that’s not fast food. Prepare a meal that takes 20 minutes and can feed up to 20 people. Cook three to four boxes of your favorite pasta, sauté mixed veggies such as colorful peppers and onions, then add a few cooked rotisserie chickens you get from your local grocer. Add three to four cans of pasta sauce of your choice, and let simmer for ten minutes. If you are feeling adventurous, add sausage or seafood when cooking your veggies. Pair with a salad and a few loaves of French bread, and in twenty minutes you have a beautiful meal that is not only delicious but is an affordable alternative to eating out with a large party. 


  • Signature Drinks.  In Texas we are known for our southern hospitality, which includes serving our signature drinks of iced tea or fresh lemonade!Nothing quenches your thirst on a hot summer day like a tall glass of lemonade or iced tea. Add an unexpected surprise to your traditional tea like fresh fruits such as strawberries, lemons, or oranges. Every time I serve my mama’s famous, fresh-fruit tea, I love to watch my guests gulp it down. When that happens, I know I hit a homerun!


  • Bring the indoors out.Grab those pretty place settings that are sitting on your breakfast or formal dining table and actually use them! Enjoy your beautiful dishes, chargers, and linen napkins.  Using your “good” dishes coupled with fresh flowers that incorporates the holiday or season, adds a classy ambiance and kicks the entertaining radar up a notch. 


  • Turn on the lights.If you’ve ever been to City Centre, The Woodland’s Market Street, or Towne Lake’s Boardwalk, then you have to agree that great lighting really sets the mood for an amazing outdoor experience. In fact, outdoor lights are a must have in outdoor entertainment. So hang a few strings of lights off of your house, patio, or umbrella.  Also scatter a few citronella candles throughout the space to deter the unwanted critters from your bistro experience.


  • Enjoy great music.Music paired with food, family, and friends is a recipe for great entertainment. Play a few songs that evoke your favorite memories. If you play, pull out that guitar, drums, or keyboard and go to town. In my family, we love to light a fire and sing and dance the night away