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Create a cool menu of hot items using these summer barbecue ideas.

Food, Drinks and Sweets for a Family BBQ

Summertime birds singing — and relaxing in the sun, especially while planning a family BBQ with a little "something, something" to please everyone's palate.

Create a cool menu of hot items using these summer barbecue ideas.

Finger Snacking

Your barbecue should satisfy the taste buds of all your guests, from the little ones and teens to adults and guests with specific dietary needs. Cure everyone's hunger by serving a mix of traditional snacks, such as chips and dip, trail mix and peanuts. Healthy snacks, including baby carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, fresh fruit, cheese and crackers, and deviled eggs, are also great to have around.

The Main Dish

Make sure to include burgers and hot dogs, warm buns, and various toppings such as grated cheese, diced onion and bacon. Oh, and don't forget about the chili.

Guy Fieri

Then turn to the stars of the Food Network for grilling specialties and light, tasty side dishes. Guests will love to sink their teeth into zesty, grilled fish tacos with lime and tequila (by Guy Fieri from "Guy's Big Bite"). Line warm tortilla shells with a cilantro and lime-based creme sauce. Add tequila-marinated grilled mahi-mahi fillets, and top with the tangy, shredded red cabbage mixture. Add additional sauce and crumbled cheese.

Rachael Ray

Rachael Ray's Red Cabbage Slaw also provides zesty and refreshing flavors that tantalize the palate. Taking only minutes to prepare, shred a stock of red cabbage. Add a grated, Granny Smith apple, sugar, vinegar, olive oil, red onion and salt and pepper for taste. For more grilling hits and to perfect your cooking skills, is a wonderful resource or upgrade your cable package with deals from your local satellite provider like DirectTV so you'll never miss an episode of Rachael Ray, Guy Fieri, Giada De Laurentiis or Ina Garten. Call yourself “the best chef” as you take on the kitchen and impress your guests!

Cool Beverages

With summer sweat at its peak, hydrate your guests first and foremost. Offer bottles of water or pitchers of iced water accented with lemon or cucumber slices.

Cooler options also include the following beverages:

Soft drinks and diet cola

Sweetened and unsweetened tea

Fresh lemonade

Packaged fruit juice

Some beer

Skinnygirl Cocktails

And Dessert

For your special soiree, try to go above and beyond assorted cookies, apple pie, fruit cobbler and layered cake. Add a touch of southern sweetness to the list with this luscious dessert from Paula Deen.

Orange Brownies

Guests will die as they bite into the moist and chocolate goodness of brownies with citrus hints of orange. Orange brownies take approximately 40 minutes to mix and bake the ingredients of all-purpose flour, sugar, salt, butter, eggs, orange extract and orange zest. Sweeten the brownie pieces with orange glaze after cooling.

For backyard parties where there is access to the refrigerator and freezer, arrange a special "ice cream and yogurt station" for the kids. Serve a variety of flavors on the kitchen counter or dining table inside the home where it's cooler. Display an assortment of toppings, including sprinkles, nuts, bananas, cherries, blueberries, crushed pineapple, whipped topping, fudge and caramel.

Food, Drinks and Sweets for a Family BBQ


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