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A Menu for an Easy Weeknight Barbecue — Tips from The Kitchn

Weeknight get-togethers are always a bright spot in a regular week, which makes them even more charming and fun. Looking forward to hosting friends or family for dinner during the week is all about planning an easy menu with help from a few make-ahead dishes and as few dishes as possible.

The grill is a great tool in executing both. You can marinate proteins or vegetables in advance and then cook most of your dinner on the grill, which cuts down on sides considerably. Here's my menu for an easy weeknight barbecue, plus some tips and tricks for pulling it off with ease.

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A Family-Friendly Menu for Your Summer Pool Party — Family Vacation

If I learned one thing about growing up with a pool in the backyard, it's that your house will almost always be the spot for get-togethers with friends and family all summer long. And that is just fine, because pool parties are one of the very best ways to spend those steamy summer afternoons.

Of course, with any good pool party comes a spread of simple yet delicious food that will satisfy everyone from the young to the young at heart. This menu feeds six to eight people comfortably and most everything is prepped the day before, so all that's left are a few finishing touches before everyone arrives. We've even included a timeline on exactly how you can pull this together in advance.

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A Make-Ahead Menu for a Rustic Bridal Shower Lunch — Tips from The Kitchn

A bridal shower is mostly about showering the bride-to-be with gifts and love and playing silly games — but that doesn't mean the food should be an afterthought. In fact, I don't think there is a better way to show your affection and support for the bride than to also shower her, and her closest family and friends in attendance, with good food and drink.

This menu will help you do just that, and do it with ease. Planning a shower can be a lot of work, but if you follow this make-ahead menu, it can actually be quite simple. We've even provided a timeline so you can line up everything you need to do in order to throw a shower your favorite bride is sure to love.

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Recipe: Summer Squash Risotto — Quick and Easy Vegetarian Dinners

(Image credit: Christine Han)

A creamy, comforting bowl of risotto can be yours for the eating even on a weeknight. Add grated zucchini for a healthy helping of summer vegetables; chop some fresh, fragrant basil; and, of course, throw in a few handfuls of Parmesan cheese and you have a delicious vegetarian dinner to enjoy. Yes, there's some stirring involved, but pour yourself a glass of wine and put on a podcast or some music, and let the repetition be a relaxing meditation on the deliciousness to come.

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Throw a Laid-Back Cocktail Party with This Easy-to-Make Menu — Tips from The Kitchn

Text all your friends immediately and tell them you're throwing a cocktail party. With this easy menu, it's possible to host a festive one just a few days from now without breaking a sweat. The key is to lean on simple sips and bites whose components can be made ahead or even bought straight from the store. That makes the last-minute scramble not much of a scramble at all.

This laid-back menu starts with a refreshing rhubarb cocktail that's sure to be a crowd-pleaser (especially because it can also be made as a mocktail). Snacks like cheesy polenta bites, spicy carrot hummus, and hearty beef tenderloin sliders are sure to keep your friends satiated, and there are a few sweet treats to round out the occasion. There's no better excuse to host a gathering than this one.

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A Last-Minute Mother’s Day Brunch That You Can Throw Together in the Morning — Mother’s Day

So you're hosting Mother's Day brunch and, for whatever reason, you're down to the wire with barely a plan in place. Mom is coming over in just a few hours and you haven't put one thought into what to make. Don't worry — you still have time to pull this off. And there's no need to run out for a dozen doughnuts and a box of joe — you can do this just the way you pictured. This menu will help you put together a fast, fancy, and celebratory brunch together in little to no time. This menu feeds six people and can be made before mom arrives. We've even included a timeline on exactly how you to can pull this off. You've got this!

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