Jon and I have decided to throw a Summer Solstice party this year. We are finally settled back into our new life in Maine, finally settled into our home and jobs, and oh yeah… the sun and warmth have finally graced us with their presence! It feels like the perfect time to reunite with our old friends from the area, meet the families they have grown since we moved away, and just celebrate the coming of summer!
The wonderful thing about Summer Solstice is the lack of themes. There are no Summer Solstice decorations needed when throwing this kind of bash. The green lawns, trees full of leaves, and blooming flowers are decoration enough. No color scheme is required, just a tub full of cheap bubbles for the kids, and plenty of ice cold beverages for the adults, maybe even the lighting of a bon fire as the night settles in and the air cools down. There are only a few essentials that you must not overlook. Plenty of seating (picnic table, lawn chairs, blankets on the ground, etc.), ice, music, and amazing food! The bottom line is that unless you are buying food pre-made, cooking for a party does take some effort. There is simply no getting away from that, but it doesn’t have to take as much effort as you may think, the food can be amazing, and you can serve up a clean and healthy dish to an army of partygoers in under an hour! Send out your invites, suggest every family bring a side, and let’s celebrate summer!
When I cook for a party I need it to be something that doesn’t need babysitting during the cooking time (no constant stirring!), it needs to be able to suit all dietary needs (meat eaters, vegetarians, non gluten goers, etc.), and it simply needs to wow my guests! Oh and not creating a huge mess in my kitchen at the same time would be great, it’s bad enough I have to try to keep my kids clean! Oy! On this summer solstice we are feasting on my Greek Chicken Burgers with OPA Greek Yogurt Kalamata Feta Dressing. Chicken breasts are quartered and pounded thin for insanely quick and juicy cooking, a mountain of vegetables are left alone in the oven to roast, and it is all slapped together on a whole wheat bun with fresh lettuce and plenty of creamy Kalamata Feta Dressing to top it off. I even had time to make a quick and easy cucumber dill salad, throw some of that right on the burger if you please, it is amazing! This dish checks off every box on my party cooking checklist. Meatlover? Slap two chicken pieces on that bad boy! Vegetarian? Roasted veggie sandwich is the way to go! No gluten for you? Create a salad with the lettuce, veggies, chicken, and dressing (yes this dressing is gluten free too!). Calorie counter? This is pure clean chicken breast and veggies! Everyone wins and no one will be missing the typical burgers and hot dogs. I can whip this all up in an hour, set it out on the table, and forget about it. It is just as good at room temp as it is piping hot, and this means I am celebrating with my guests instead of fussing over food. That is exactly how I like to party!