The Very First Meal You Should Eat Outside: Springtime Garden Party Menu

As spring begins to set in, throw an alfresco gathering with a menu of fresh, celebratory recipes that are just begging to be taken outside.
Hey, you wanna take this thing outside?

Before you lose your cool, we're not picking a fight with you. In fact, we just really, really want to get outside already. As spring begins to set in, think of this time as an excuse to throw a gathering in the great outdoors and plan an alfresco party anywhere from the garden or your backyard to the park or your patio. As for the menu, we've got that part covered with fresh, celebratory recipes that are just begging to be taken outside.

To start, graze on veggie-topped Spring Pizzas (pictured above) that couldn't be easier to make. Stretch store-bought pizza dough into mini rounds for a fresh take on your usual sauce-and-cheese pizza. Topped with ramps, scallions and other in-season treats, Alex Guarnaschelli's ricotta-and-Parmesan-topped individual pies are invigorated with fresh basil and lemon zest. Cut them into triangles for an easy outdoor appetizer.



Photo by: Tara Donne ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Tara Donne, 2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Toss together Rachael Ray's simple, five-minute Green Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette. With a pint of fresh strawberries scattered throughout, this vibrant salad gets its tangy sweetness from a dressing of whisked balsamic vinegar, strawberry jam and olive oil.

Photo by: Armando Rafael Moutela ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved 2014, Cooking Channel, LLC All Rights Reserved

Armando Rafael Moutela, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved 2014, Cooking Channel, LLC All Rights Reserved

For your main course, make Ina Garten's easy Parmesan Chicken. The chicken is coated in Parmesan-dusted breadcrumbs, then cooked in a skillet with both butter and olive oil until crispy. This six-serving recipe is ready to go in just 30 minutes, so you won't have to stay inside for long.

On the side, tender, in-season spears in Alex Guarnaschelli's  Chilled Asparagus Salad come graced with lemon, vinegar, honey and smooth Dijon mustard. Since it's served cold, this salad is a low-maintenance winner for alfresco eating.



Weekend Brandy Sidecar in a small glass with ice

©Food Styling - Jamie Kimm Prop Styling - Marcus Hay

Food Styling - Jamie Kimm Prop Styling - Marcus Hay

This extra-special  Sparkling Sidecar from Food Network Magazine is shaken with cognac, orange liqueur and lemon juice, then topped with seltzer for a little refreshing effervescence. Rim the glass with sugar for a sweet finish.

With a super-crispy graham cracker base, Tyler Florence's creamy and tart  Lemon-Blueberry Cheesecake Bars have to sit in the fridge for a few hours so the filling can set, meaning they'll be ready for you to grab them from the fridge when it's time for dessert outside.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Should You Eat Bugs?

Insects like crickets, mealworms, ants and caterpillars are being touted as one of the hottest culinary trends. Should these crawly critters be part of your diet?

The European Meal Plan You Should Try

Six simple ideas can help you make healthy food choices for you and the environment.

How Much Fruit Should You Eat?

The serving size for fruit isn't one size fits all; our dietitian explains how much fruit you need each day and what counts as a serving of fruit.

How Often Should You Eat?

Many experts recommend eating small frequent meals throughout the day. However, a new school of thought has emerged which recommends eating larger, less frequent meals. How often should you be eating?

Sunday's Star Menu: Patriotic Eats and Drinks

What does your Sunday Star menu look like? Snap photos of what you're eating, and share them with us @FoodNetwork via Twitter and Instagram using #FoodNetworkStar.

QUIZ: Where Should You Travel for Your Next Meal?

If you're getting tired of the Italian place down the street, take the quiz below to find out which food-filled city will be your ultimate destination for dinner.

Healthy Debate: Should Happy Meal Toys Be Banned?

Whoever came up with the marketing for Happy Meals toys is a genius. Kids are drawn to popular characters and love their trinkets ( more than the food). But with this type of marketing comes a price—especially when you’re talking about high fat and calorie-laden food during a time where tremendous efforts are being put forth to diminish the incidence of childhood obesity.

Three Red Foods You Should Be Eating

Find out why you should eat more cherries, tomatoes and red cabbage.