To bite into a drippy pulled pork sandwich, to gnaw at tender smoked ribs or even to fathom going at a mound of falling-apart brisket without a side of slaw close at hand would be a summertime travesty, up there with never making it to the beach. Though coleslaw is rather unassuming — traditionally nothing more than shredded raw cabbage in a mayo-based dressing — it lends a bright, creamy and tangy crunch to everything it meets, making it a must-have for this summer’s outdoor cookouts, barbecues and picnics. Be sure to whip up these six favorites this summer.
Hot dogs and burgers may be the poster children of summer eating, but there’s another unassuming protein that packs a punch during the warm-weather months: chicken. But we don’t mean just any chicken. Summer is the time when this white meat truly shines, since it can come every which way: grilled, fried, barbecued and more. These six must-make chicken recipes belong on your summer bucket list.
1. Beer Can Chicken
If you’ve ever made beer can chicken, you know that this technique results in the most game-changing, moist chicken ever. For Beer Can Chicken with Cola Barbecue Sauce, simply sit a whole chicken on top of an open beer can and set it on the grill over indirect heat. The can holds the chicken up inside the grill, so it cooks extra-juicy and tender.
When it comes to the glory that is summer picnicking, convenience is key. With make-ahead dishes packed in snappy storage containers on your side, all there is left to do is open ‘em up and dig in once you plop down in the grass. Check out our guide for the Ultimate Packable Picnic, and stock up on easy-to-transport summer recipes that are best devoured while sprawled out on a picnic blanket — no tabletop necessary.
Appetizer: Keep It Quick and Convenient
Begin with a light, bright starter that doesn’t take much time or effort. Not only does Trisha Yearwood’s Watermelon Salsa take just 15 minutes to prep, it is also easy to scoop into and out of a travel container. Throw a bag of tortilla chips in with the rest of your picnic loot and the first course of your picnic is served.
No matter how you choose to spend your Memorial Day, eating red, white and blue foods is a good way to get in the patriotic spirit, especially when you start it off at breakfast. Gather together with family and friends over the long weekend and dig into our favorite flag-inspired dishes all day long.
Repeat after us: You will not buy gloopy, mayo-clad, made-yesterday pasta salad from the deli container this summer. No way. As the most-fun salad of all the salads (seriously), summer pasta salad is the one irresistible picnic side we just can’t wait to make, partly because of how crazy-easy it is to throw together. Taken cold with an array of pasta shapes, the pasta salad genre can take so many different forms, each fresh, satisfying and bound to bulk up your picnic without much effort. Toss these bold summer pasta salads at home for on-the-go eating ideal for any outdoor potluck, low-key picnic or backyard cookout you come across this summer.
Make your first pasta salad of the season extra-special by doing it up with cheesy tortellini. Rachael Ray uses the tender store-bought stuffed pasta for an extra-satisfying Spinach Artichoke Pasta Salad (pictured above) that will be the star of the potluck from the very first spoonful.
The Pioneer Woman says it herself: Fried chicken is the perfect picnic food. Once it’s fried to crunchy, juicy perfection, this classic Southern favorite is just as good at room temperature as it is hot, so pack it up for your very first picnic of the season for on-the-go eating.
Just in time for Memorial Day, the inaugural day of outdoor eating, Ree Drummond’s Fried Chicken recipe gives you the golden, moist fried chicken you crave. By coating buttermilk-soaked chicken in seasoned flour that’s combined with buttermilk and milk, then frying the pieces in oil at the perfect temperature (360 degrees F, that is), you get the most crispiest, most-delicious fried chicken ever. After watching the video above, do it Ree’s way once and you probably won’t take your fried chicken any other way again. It takes just one bite, while you’re sprawled out on a picnic blanket outside, to see why Ree’s fried chicken is the recipe to rely on all season long.
No matter your Instagram following, your filtering prowess or your like-to-minute ratio, nothing truly proves #deliciousness like an old-fashioned, ready-set-go contest. Every other week, we’re coming your way in search of the greatest creations made in your very own kitchen. When we call out the theme on Instagram, put your cooking skills to the test by whipping up your go-to Food Network recipe, snapping a photo and tagging #FoodNetworkFaves for your chance to be featured on FN Dish!
What better way to celebrate the start of May than by throwing up the confetti? We asked you to show us your best rainbow sprinkle-covered dishes, and you snapped photos for us that were #incredible. You didn’t sprinkle just anything, either. The electric-hued, sprinkle-showered confections that filled up our feed were downright creative, not to mention brilliantly delicious looking.
Now let’s get on to the good stuff. We are pleased to introduce our winners for this week’s #FoodNetworkFaves photo contest!
Cheesy does it, cheese lovers. In addition to taking your favorite food by the block, don’t forget that one of the most-splendid ways to use cheese is in go-to side dishes.
1. Mashed Potatoes + Cheese
Mashed potatoes are normally improved upon with a lake of gravy in the center, but they’re even better than that when a little cheese gets involved. Ina Garten stirs garlicky herb goat cheese (as well as sour cream, butter and half-and-half) into her Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes for Food Network Magazine (pictured above). After sprinkling the creamy side with Parmesan, she sets it in the oven so it gets a nice golden-browned top. You might never take your mashed taters without cheese again.
Just like the macaroni necklace and the finger-painted masterpieces you gave her years ago, something homemade is always the key to Mom’s heart, especially on Mother’s Day. Before you place that order for another wilted, mass-produced delivery bouquet, stake out your kitchen to make an opulent homemade gift that will make Mom weep with joy: a cake. Frosted or naked, tiered or single-story, boxed-up or sliced on the spot, each of these decadent cakes is a thing of beauty that shows Mom how you feel with every slice.
Ree Drummond’s Strawberry Shortcake Cake (pictured above) oozes with sweet strawberries, and we can’t cut into this cream cheese-frosted beauty soon enough. Instead of plunging candles in it like it’s her birthday, present it to Mom with plump strawberries nestled in the icing for a most-beautiful celebratory cake. Plus, with a bit of help, even Mom’s little ones can get involved in the creation of this cake. Ree’s girls helped with each of the steps.
For me, frozen spinach is like the little black dress that goes with everything. It makes my scrambled eggs even heartier, brings a little green to my pastas dishes and adds a veggie punch to my main dishes in no time. Unless I plan to eat it raw in a salad, I never buy the fresh stuff because, if you ask me, frozen spinach is the perfect vegetable. There, I said it. It’s always on hand, it works in nearly any dish and it doesn’t shrink into nothing like the fresh stuff does when it’s cooked. Instead of going for the brick, I can’t resist adding one of the plastic, resealable bags of chopped frozen spinach to my shopping cart whenever I make a trip to the supermarket. Thanks to frozen spinach’s versatility and convenience, it is definitely a supermarket staple you need to reconsider.
1. It can take you from morning to noon to night.
Spinach can add a dose of green to anything it touches, and it’s versatile enough for breakfast, lunch or dinner. No matter the hour, get your spinach fix with a homemade frittata, a classic eggy dish that can be devoured whenever. Though Trisha Yearwood’s Spinach Frittata (pictured above) for Food Network Magazine calls for the fresh stuff, thawed frozen spinach will do just fine.