Soaking up the dog days of summer with an al fresco dinner for the gals.
This post has been sponsored by Chambord. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Must be 21 or older to consume alcohol. Please drink responsibly.
I admit it. I didn’t love summer until this summer.
I didn’t love the heat, I didn’t love being outside, and I spent all summer anxiously awaiting the cooler weather that seemed just out of reach.
But, this year, we spent a month of summer in Europe and I fell in love with summer. I loved exploring the beautiful cities no matter how hot it was (yes – some complaining did happen, but it was HOT!), I loved being outdoors as much as possible, and most notably, I fell in love with al fresco dining.
Amongst other things (e.g., a few dresses and prints for our new Atlanta home), I brought home a newfound love for that al fresco dining lifestyle.
How to Throw an Al Fresco Dinner for the Gals
The Summer Sip
Nothing screams summer like a spritz, right? So, to complement our outdoor affair, we whipped up a Summer Berry Spritz with one of my favorite ‘secret’ cocktail ingredients – Chambord. My friends are always surprised and excited to try Chambord when I incorporate it into cocktail recipes.
This one in particular was inspired by our time in Europe. It’s simple to make, and easy on the taste buds. Grab the ingredients below and stir up your own in minutes.
Summer Berry Spritz
¼ cup Chambord
¼ cup orange aperitif
1 orange, sliced
1 bottle of prosecco
1 bottle of club soda or sparkling mineral water (12 oz)
1. Add Chambord and aperitif to a carafe or pitcher, and add half of your sliced orange.
2. Fill with club soda.
3. Pour mixture into red wine glasses, top off with prosecco.
4. Add ice, if you’d like, and garnish with a slice of orange.
This is, arguably, the most important part of your al fresco dinner – the actual dinner! Well, outside of your guests, of course.
Because we picked up this somewhat carefree attitude in Europe, I opted for serving the evening’s dinner family style. We brought everything outside on platters, and the gals were able to pick and choose as they pleased.
We started out with a vibrant Pink Beet Hummus, followed up by a Peachy Summer Salad, and topped the meal off with simple Tomato Burrata Penne.
If you’re ready to host your own al fresco dinner for your favorite gals, here are the recipes for everything we served.
Pink Beet Hummus
1 beet, thoroughly washed
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove of garlic, chopped
½ lemon, juiced
Salt and pepper
1. Wrap your beet in foil and roast at 400 degrees for approximately 40 minutes. Be sure to check on it every 20 minutes, though! If it’s looking dry, sprinkle some water on top.
2. Once a fork can easily slide through your beet, let it cool. Once cool to the touch, peel and chop.
3. Add your beet, chickpeas, tahini, oil, garlic, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to a food processor. Blend until your hummus reaches a smooth consistency.
I started making my own hummus this summer and I can’t stop. My favorite is to make the hummus, then mix it with a savory tomato and eggplant dip. YUM! I love using this hummus recipe as the base, then mixing it up to match my mood. Clearly, my al fresco dinner mood called for a super girly pink hummus.
Peachy Summer Salad
2 peaches, chopped
4 cups spring mix
2 cus peppadew peppers
¼ cup goat cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 sprigs of mint, chopped
1. Toss spring mix in olive oil until it’s distributed evenly.
2. Add peaches and peppers to your greens, and mix.
3. Add goat cheese, mint, and sprouts to the top.
4. Top with balsamic glaze.
Tomato Burrata Penne
1 cup penne
Burrata cheese (one container)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cups mixed heirloom tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
Sea salt and pepper
1. Heat a pot of water until boiling and cook penne 8-10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, sauté garlic in olive oil over medium heat until golden.
3. Add tomatoes to pan with garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
4. Add balsamic vinegar and stir.
5. Add pasta and cook for 2-3 minutes.
6. Transfer pasta to serving dish and top with hand-torn burrata, sea salt, and pepper.
Now that you’ve got your summer al fresco dinner menu ready, it’s time to think about your cocktail.
And just like that, I’m already hungry again. I can’t wait for another evening of al fresco dining with a Summer Berry Spritz in hand. What flavors have you been loving this summer? I might be biased since I’m now a Georgia resident, but anything peachy is right up my alley these days!
Ps. You might know that I technically work in the social media world; if you share the same appreciation, please do yourself a favor and go check out Chambord’s Instagram account – those colors and imagery are simply unmatched. Enjoy!