Outdoor Entertaining

Sensational summer sides

By Jennifer Ruple

It’s time to take the party outdoors. Get out of the kitchen, and spend some time relaxing on the patio and enjoying a little al fresco dining. Nothing says summer better than that freshly grilled taste of your favorite burgers, steaks and seafood. But don’t forget the sides. Here are three delectable dishes that will complement anything you happen to throw on the barbecue.

Caprese Salad
I absolutely love Caprese Salad which usually consists of sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese and basil. The only problem is…my husband doesn’t like raw tomatoes. So I just add extras like sweet Vidalia onions, bell peppers and spring lettuces so we can both enjoy it. 4 servings
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4 cups spring lettuces, loosely packed
¼ cup Vidalia onion, sliced
2 large tomatoes, thickly sliced
8-ounce ball of fresh mozzarella, thickly sliced
8-10 fresh basil leaves, sliced in thin strips
Kosher salt and freshly
ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil and
balsamic vinegar or glaze for drizzling

On a large platter, spread lettuces and onions. Arrange the tomato and mozzarella slices over the top. Sprinkle with basil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Potato Salad with Bacon and Sour Cream
Every family has their own recipe for potato salad, and mine is no different. My grandmother, Lucy Ries, added bacon, sour cream and paprika to hers making it the best in the whole world. I could be a tad bit biased.
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5 pound bag of red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
6 pieces bacon, crispy cooked and crumbled
1 medium Vidalia onion, diced
1 ½ cups light sour cream
1 ½ cups light mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Paprika for sprinkling

Cook potatoes in boiling water. Drain and allow to cool. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, bacon, sour cream, mayonnaise, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Generously sprinkle with paprika.

Orzo Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing
Rice-shaped pasta, grape tomatoes and bell peppers are bathed in a flavor-packed dressing. The addition of a little sugar balances the tartness of the lime juice.
Makes 6 servings
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8 ounces orzo pasta
2 limes, juiced
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
½ cup cilantro, chopped
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook orzo according to package directions. Rinse with cold water and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, olive oil, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt. Stir in cilantro and pour over orzo. Add green onions, bell pepper and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until chilled and/or ready to serve. (Recipe adapted from thestayathomechef.com)