Whatcha Makin' Now?: Lazy Days and BBQ's - Super Easy Appetizers


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Monday, May 20, 2013

Lazy Days and BBQ's - Super Easy Appetizers

Plan the perfect BBQ this summer! All the tips, tricks, and recipes from 6 great bloggers! #lazydaysbbq

I'm taking part in a blog series to help you plan and throw the best BBQ this summer. Follow the below links for the all the tips, tricks, and recipes!

Step 1: Planning {Dawn of Joyful Scribblings}
Step 2: Decor / Tablescapes {Cathy of Creations by Cathy}
Step 3: Appetizers {Chelsea of Whatcha Makin' Now?}
Step 4: Main Dishes and Sides {Nicole of Daily Dish Recipes}
Step 5: Desserts!!! {Katie of What Katie's Baking}
Step 6: What to wear {Ginny of My New Favorite Outfit}

Now to my section....

Plan the perfect BBQ this summer! All the tips, tricks, and recipes from 6 great bloggers! #lazydaysbbq

Let's talk appetizers. A lot goes into planning and throwing a party and people always come hungry. The appetizers don't need to take you days to make; the simplest recipes can bring loads of flavor and keep your quests satisfied until the main dish is served!

I choose these 3 appetizers because of the simple ingredients and ease of preparation. The majority of the the prep work can be done a couple days in advance. Then recruit a family member, friend, or one of your kids to assemble the day of the party.

Plan the perfect BBQ this summer! All the tips, tricks, and recipes from 6 great bloggers! #lazydaysbbq

Mini BLT's with Sweet Sauce

1 lb cooked bacon
8 or so lettuce leafs (iceberg or romaine)
2 medium tomatoes
16 or more slices of bread (1 slice makes 2 sandwiches)
1/2 cup mayo
2 tbsp thousand island dressing
1 1/2 tbsp sweet pickle relish
pinch of salt
decorative tooth picks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place slices of bread on a cookie sheet. Bake for 3-4 minutes, remove from oven and flip each slice of bread to the other side, return to the oven and bake another 3-4 minutes or until 'toasted'. Set toasted bread aside.

Meanwhile, in a small dish combine the mayo, thousand island dressing, sweet pickle relish, and pinch of salt.  Set aside.

Using a knife or a pizza cutter to cut each slice of bread into 4 square pieces.

Time to make the sandwiches! Spread sauce on each square of bread. Place 1/2 a piece of bacon, 1/2 a tomato slice, and a piece of lettuce on one side of the sandwich. Top with another square of bread. Secure layers by sticking a decorative toothpick down the center of the sandwich. Continue process until all of the sandwiches are made.

Makes about 32 mini sandwiches.

Helpful Hints:
~Prepare the sauce, bacon, lettuce, and slice tomatoes a day or so in advance to save time.
~I would not toast your bread until the day of the party to prevent it from being too dry.

Plan the perfect BBQ this summer! All the tips, tricks, and recipes from 6 great bloggers! #lazydaysbbq

Cold Veggie Pizza

2 cans (8 oz) refrigerated crescent rolls
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli
1 1/2 chopped cauliflower
1 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1 cup shredded carrots

Remove crescent rolls from packaging and break into the pre-cut sections. Use a knife and cut each triangle into 3 pieces. (They won't all be the exact same size, but you're going for appetizers so small is okay!) Bake dough according to packaging, but subtract 3-4 minutes from the recommended baking time. Remove from the oven when golden brown. This will give a nice little crust but keep the middle soft. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, use your electric mixer to combine the cream cheese, sour cream, dill weed, and garlic powder until smooth.

Spread a nice thick layer of the cream cheese mixture on each piece of cooled bread. Sprinkle with a variety of the chopped veggies and press down so they stick.

Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Makes about 32 little pizzas.

Helpful Hints:
~All components of this appetizer could be made a few days in advance and then just assembled on the day of the party.
~There might be leftover chopped veggies; add those to a salad you're serving so they don't go to waste! ~You could really use any type of veggie; tomatoes, radishes, etc so feel free to put your won twist on it!

Plan the perfect BBQ this summer! All the tips, tricks, and recipes from 6 great bloggers! #lazydaysbbq

Ants on a Log, 2 ways (kid friendly!)

10-15 celery stalks
4 oz cream cheese*, softened
4 oz creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup craisins

Clean celery stalks and cut each stalk into 3 to 4 inch sticks.

Fill 1/2 of the sticks with cream cheese (as little, or as much as you'd like) and and then top with craisins.

Fill the other 1/2 of the celery sticks with cream peanut butter (as little, or as much as you'd like) and top with raisins.

Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Helpful Hints: 
~You could use other flavored cream cheeses too. I'm a fan of pineapple cream cheese and strawberry cream cheese in celery.
~These could be made a day before the party and would still look and taste great.

Ways to Serve: 
  • Place 6-8 of each appetizer on a variety of platters (different shapes, sizes, and colors) and place throughout the backyard. This will allow people to visit and snack while waiting for the main dish. 
  • 3-Tiered Dessert Pedestal or something similar would also be fun! You could wrap in colored ribbon to match your other decor. 
  • If it's super hot outside, these Freezable Serving Platters would work great! 
  • But this might just take the cake! It's an Inflatable Salad Bar - fill with ice and place serving bowls right on the ice. Genius. It's under $10.00 too! 

  • Maybe you could even use a pool inflatable the same way! Place a baby pool on a round table, fill with ice, and then place bowls and beverages on the ice.  

Plan the perfect BBQ this summer! All the tips, tricks, and recipes from 6 great bloggers! #lazydaysbbq

I hope you enjoy this series! We'd love you feedback - should we do more of these in the future? What topics would you enjoy? 


  1. Great post Chelsea! These all look delicious!

  2. OK - Great post, Chelsea! I love the way you gave us suggestions on what to do ahead of time, and what NOT to do ahead of time! Great variety, including some kid-friendly options for the wee ones. The fact that everything is served @ room temp... brilliant! So much easier! Thanks for all of the great tips AND the dee-lish recipes!!

    1. Thanks, Cathy! A party is no fun if you're in the kitchen the whole time! :)

  3. Love the adult version of ants on a log and mini BLT's. I love BLT's and will have to try your special sauce recipe. I also love your examples of ways to serve appetizers. I haven't seen the freezable serving platers, very cool! I'm ready for a BBQ! Thanks for being a part of this series!

    1. Thanks, Dawn! I'm ready for a BBQ too. Thanks for thinking up this fun idea! :)

  4. Chelsea, I just love all these awesome appetizers, which happens to be my favorite course of any meal!
    Your mini BLT's might be my favorite! Love the sauce!
    I am in love with your adorable pink platter and need one ASAP.
    Great, great post! So happy to have made a new friend! :)
    Nicole @ Daily Dish Recipes

    1. I'm with you - all I really need are appetizers and dessert. :) I found the platter at Tuesday Morning. It's a heavy plastic. I'm a sucker for bright colors.

  5. This all looks really great.
    I love BBQ.

  6. I love the BLT recipe, and especially appreciate the tips on what to do ahead, and SERVING tips. I LOVE veggie pizza, but have always made it all one big pizza and cut it into squares. I like it so much better the way you have done it. It is easy for people to pick up without getting their hands messy. That inflatable salad bar??? MUST HAVE!

    1. I LOVE that inflatable salad bar - I found it and was like WHAT!?!?! I really think I need to order it, like yesterday.

  7. Hey Chelsea, I think I need some of your cold veggie pizzas. What a great idea...I am really enjoying the whole series. you have all done a great job and all of us in blog land can now throw the best party ever! Thanks so much for sharing.

  8. I really like the Cold Veggie Pizza as an easy appetizers especially that it can be made for the kids.


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