28 Awesome Recipes to Eat Outside

28 Awesome Recipes to Eat Outside

28 Awesome Recipes to Eat Outside

The time has come for dining al fresco. For picnics, potlucks, backyard barbecues, cookouts at the beach, and all other kitchen free eating. Today I’ve got a round up for you of recipes that you can cook or prep ahead. These are all things that are easily transportable and either don’t need to be refrigerated or could fit in a small cooler. The next time you’re invited to a party, you won’t be at a loss for what to bring. It’s gonna be awesome.

Starters, Snacks & Sides

Everybody wants something to snack on while their waiting for the main meal to come off the grill. And of course, a hot dog on a plate all by itself is just sad. Here are some things to get you started, fill out that epic cheese plate, or accompany your burgers and dogs.

Dill Potato Salad | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Easy Peanut Butter Hummus – serve with veggies or chips to keep people from lurking around the grill

Fancy Pants Sauage Rolls – These are great hot or cold, so pack them in your picnic for sure

Southwest Pasta Salad – Mayo-free and full of flavor

Blue Cheese Crackers – That’s right, you made your own crackers

Picnic Cheese Plate – Be a hero and bring a simple, affordable, and totally delicious cheese plate for the gang

Dill Potato Salad – This is potato salad with a dash of elegance

Loaded Baked Potato Salad – This is that trashed up potato salad that you’ve been dreaming of

Homemade Oat Cakes – Another option to serve with some really great cheese

On the Grill

Because we’ve all decided that frozen burgers are the worst, I want to make it easy for you to always have the best burgers. Make your patties ahead of time, pack them on ice, and throw them on the grill when you’re ready.

Jalapeno Cream Cheese Stuffed Burgers | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Jalapeno Cream Cheese-Stuffed Burgers – A burger with a spicy surprise

Cuban Burger – Add pickles if you’re into that because they really should be there

Spicy Southwest Burgers – You won’t be able to keep your hands off them

Basic Burgers – My tips for making awesome burgers with whatever’s in your kitchen

Sweet Treats

So this section is the longest because, let’s face it, I’m gonna ask to bring dessert. But you have to plan properly if you want people to eat something delicious instead of sad and melty. All these recipes are very easy to transport and serve outside and don’t need to be refrigerated.

White Chocolate Raspberry Blondies | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Classic Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies

White Chocolate Chip Brownies

White Chocolate Raspberry Blondies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Kahlua Brownies

White Chocolate Cranberry Macadamia Nut Cookies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Blossoms

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lofthouse Cookie Bars

Giant Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mexican Brownies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

S’mores Brownies

Go eat outside while you can, kids!

Southwest Pasta Salad | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
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Awesome in June
Chocolate Mint Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’m supposed to be writing about life and chocolate cupcakes. I’ve been staring this computer for a good fifteen minutes trying to conjure up some words. My husband is out drinking with work friends, and my animals are both asleep on separate sofas. Old episodes of Friends are playing in the background, and I’m just sitting here so happy it’s Friday. It’ll already be Saturday when you read this. You will be well and truly sunk into the weekend by now, and I hope you’re absolutely reveling in it. 

I think the older I get, the more precious weekends become. Especially when I think about how I probably won’t be able to retire until like a week before I die. I suppose that’s all the more reason to take the time to make and eat cupcakes. Let every weekend be a celebration. You survived another week, and you deserve chocolate.

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes stay moist for days, and the combination of tender chocolate cake and creamy mint frosting is unbelievable. They also have a lovely light texture because of the addition of ground almonds. If you have a hard time finding them, you can always throw some skinned almonds in into the food processor. 

The mint frosting is sweet and refreshing. I promise it doesn’t taste like toothpaste. Though if you could eat it from a tube, I’d be cool with that. These are definitely from scratch cupcakes. There are no clever shortcuts. But there’s absolutely nothing fiddly about making them. You’ll be nice and relaxed, and the smell is absolutely heavenly.

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

You work hard. You deserve a cupcake.

Mint Chocolate Cupcakes
Serves 24
Chocolate Mint Cupcakes stay moist for days, and the combination of tender chocolate cake and creamy mint frosting is unbelievable. 
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
25 min
For the cake
  1. 100 grams chocolate chips
  2. 175 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
  3. 275 grams brown sugar
  4. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  6. 150 ml buttermilk
  7. 200 grams all-purpose flour
  8. 1 tsp baking powder
  9. 1 tsp baking soda
  10. 100 grams ground almonds
For the frosting
  1. 200 grams unsalted butter, room temp
  2. 250 grams powdered sugar, sifted
  3. 1 tsp peppermint extract
  4. green food coloring, or not, whatever you like
For the cake
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 and prep 24 cupcake papers. If you only have one pan, stash the batter in the fridge between batches. It’s not the end of the world.
  2. Boil some water, then measure out your chocolate into a bowl. Pour 120 ml (1/2 cup) of the boiling water over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smoothish. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
  3. With your mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the vanilla to your beaten eggs.
  5. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the egg mixture.
  6. Add the chocolate. Make sure to get it all.
  7. Add the buttermilk and mix until combined. If you’ve been using a stand mixer, you can abandon it at this point.
  8. Sift the flour, baking powder, and baking soda over your wet ingredients, then add the almonds.
  9. Fold the wet and dry ingredients together.
  10. Divide your batter between the 24 cups. I use my cookie scoop. Each one gets two generous scoops. Fill them about two thirds full.
  11. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until they spring back when touched.
  12. Let them cool in the pan for about 2 minutes, then cool them completely on a wire rack if you have it. Or the counter is totally fine, too.
For the frosting
  1. Beat the butter and powdered sugar together with your mixer on medium high for about five minutes. It should be light and fluffy.
  2. Turn the mixer down to low and add in the peppermint extract and food coloring for your desired effect.
  3. Marry your cake and frosting in whatever way you see fit. I used a Wilton 1m tip straight above the cupcake. Just squeeze it for about three seconds. Easy!
Adapted from How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
Basic Burgers | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
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Eating Out: Max's Bar & Grill
Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Blossoms | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Blossoms

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Blossoms | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’m constantly waffling back and forth about whether or not to continue with this blog. It never became successful, and I understand why. My photos are fine but not extraordinary, and the food I like doesn’t fit in with what’s popular. I’ve learned to accept that I won’t ever be a professional blogger. It’s not even close to my biggest failure. But I do keep asking myself, what’s the point? You’re probably sick of hearing about it. 

I recently got some encouragement to continue blogging from one of my all time favorite bloggers. This is someone who’s work I’ve admired since I first discovered food and baking blogs back in 2011. The fact that she even knows my blog exists is a certain level of success. It absolutely gave me a huge hit of encouragement to continue being myself and putting it out there.

So now that that decision is made, I’ve got a new problem. I’ve suddenly got the urge to completely redesign my site and give it a fresh new look. This could get messy. Stick with me, friends.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Blossoms | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

While we work through our midlife blogging crisis, let’s eat cookies. But not just plain old chocolate chip cookies, but really tasty chocolate chip cookies with a totally awesome surprise in the center, a mini peanut butter cup. Apparently this was a complete revelation in Glasgow because I brought these to school for an event I was hosting, and I got compliments for a week. I thought they seemed pretty basic, but non-bakers seem to find them quite impressive.

They’re super simple to make. The firs time I made them, I had two friends in my kitchen, so they don’t even require all your attention. You can put your friends to work unwrapping the peanut butter cups. Just make sure they don’t eat all of them before you actually put them into your cookies. And how do we get those peanut butter cups into the cookies, you ask? Simply press one into each cookie as soon as they come out of the oven. Your cookies will continue to bake and set up for a few minutes after they come out of the oven, and once they’re cool, they will have set up perfectly.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Blossoms | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

It may be a bit untidy around here for a while, but it’s gonna be delicious. Have a cookie and just relax. Everything’s gonna be awesome.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Blossoms
Yields 24
Beautiful chocolate chip cookies surrounding a peanut butter cup are so delicious and so impressive.
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Prep Time
20 hr
Cook Time
13 hr
Prep Time
20 hr
Cook Time
13 hr
  1. 8 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  2. 3/4 cup sugar
  3. 3/4 cup brown sugar
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. 2-1/4 cup all purpose flour
  7. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1 teaspoon salt
  9. 12 ounces chocolate chips
  10. 24 mini peanut butter cups
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 and fish out your muffin pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and both kinds of sugar together with an electric mixer until combined and fluffy.
  3. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined.
  4. Add flour, baking soda, and salt, and mix on the lowest speed until just combined.
  5. Add chocolate chips and mix briefly to incorporate them into your dough.
  6. Use a medium scoop to fill each muffin cup about a third full. You want there to be enough to cover the bottom of each muffin cup, but the dough will spread and rise a bit as it bakes.
  7. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until the cookies just start to turn golden on top. They will still be a bit soft inside, but they'll firm up as they cool.
  8. As soon as your cookies come out of the oven, press a peanut butter cup into the center of each cookie. Allow them to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan before removing to a rack to cool completely. Get on with your second batch if you don't have another muffin pan.
  9. If you have any leftover cookie dough, obviously you can just make cookies with them.
Adapted from Circle of Friends Cookbook - 25 Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes
Awesome in April
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Creamy Sausage Dip | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
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