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The summer is in full swing, which means many of us are spending lots of time outdoors with our friends and family.  You don’t need to spend tons of time over a hot grill to make a yummy meal, though.  I’m sharing a quick and easy recipe for a sandwich my grandmother used to make for me.  But first, here are my tips for outdoor entertaining:

Outdoor Rugs

Outdoor Rugs

Outdoor rugs instantly bring a little of the indoors, out.  Not only are they a great way to add color and texture to an outdoor seating area, they also unify a space and make it feel like an outdoor living room.  And they don’t have to be expensive.  There are versions found at all types of stores including big box and budget shops.  They are easy to clean and are very durable.

Shade

Shade

Everyone likes to feel the warmth of the sun on his or her face.  A good host knows, however, that too much sun will leave everyone feeling a little crispy.  I like to set out my floppy hats for the gals to use but I also make sure to have umbrellas up.  The point is to make your guests feel comfortable and relaxed.  The hot sun is a quick way to make your guests want to wrap the party up quickly.

Sunscreen

Sunscreen

If your family is like mine, my husband and kids spend a lot of time playing outdoors.  That is only magnified when we have other families over.  Neighborhood games of baseball break out and while we often think about putting sunscreen on in the morning, it is important to keep skin protected in to the late afternoon.  I like to set out a variety of sunscreens for my guests to use at their discretion.

Tableware

Tableware

Call me a worrywart but I don’t like to bring my regular plates and glasses outside for dinner.  Melamine is super durable and they make some really cute designs now.  And my kids won’t break them.  Likewise, acrylic cups are the perfect thing for outdoor beverages.  Tons of colors and sizes are available which allow you to go for something a little more dramatic than what you would probably buy for everyday use.  And because wind can sometimes be a factor when eating outside, fabric napkins are a great idea so they stay put.  They can be easily washed and if they get stained you can always do a little DIY with bleach to make them look more tie-dyed.

Lighting

Ambiance

As the sun goes down, it is important to think about the lighting in your backyard.  There are tons of inexpensive, solar options available in stores for you to easily add to your landscaping.  While most won’t provide a ton of light, they will add a lovely glow around the yard.  Candle light on the tables will provide more light during and after your meal.  Citronella candles would be a perfect choice if you are concerned about your backyard getting a little buggy after dark.

Entertaining

Outdoor entertaining doesn’t always have to mean steak and chicken.  Sometimes a simple sandwich and yummy side dishes are just as crowd-pleasing.  This warm salami sandwich is something my grandmother used to make for me.  While she made it in the oven, you can use a barbecue instead to keep the heat out of your kitchen.

sandwich

The ingredients are simple and these sandwiches can be made based on each person’s taste preferences.  While my grandmother used butter on the sandwich roll, I omitted this step due to the inherent butteryness of the King’s Hawaiian Bread.  These can be made on any size bread but I used the KING'S HAWAIIAN Original Hawaiian Mini Sub Rolls for this. 

GRILLED ITALIAN SANDWICHES

Ingredients:  (amounts are personal preference and based on 1 KING'S HAWAIIAN Original Hawaiian Mini Sub Rolls)

1 KING'S HAWAIIAN Original Hawaiian Mini Sub Rolls

4 rounds Sliced Salami 

1 slice Provolone Cheese (halved and put on each side of the Sub Roll

2-3 rounds thinly sliced red onion

Handful sliced pepperoncini

Square of aluminum foil

Build your sandwich to your specifications.  I am not a huge fan of onions but I always put them on my sandwich during heating and remove them after.  This leaves a subtle, delicious flavor without the bite of the onion.  Wrap each sandwich in a piece of aluminum foil.

foil and sandwiches on the grill

Place sandwiches on a preheated grill and cover.  Since the sandwiches don’t need to be cooked, you need to only leave them on long enough to heat and melt through.  Be sure to mark the outside of the foil if anyone makes a special request. 

Another great thing about these sandwiches is that they can be made ahead of time, prior to guests arriving so you aren’t relegated to the kitchen.  And the leftovers keep really well.  Serve with a great green or potato salad and fresh fruit and you’ve got a great meal to share with friends.

Finished sandwich

So from my family to yours, I hope you enjoy these delicious sandwiches and have a great summer!