Summer Entertaining Make Ahead Menu Ideas

Summer Entertaining Make Ahead Menu Ideas

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There are times that it’s just too hot to cook! However; it’s also fun to entertain in the summer because everything seems to be just a bit more casual, and a bit more fun.  One of my biggest tips for summer entertaining is a make-ahead menu!

Make Ahead Menus

Menus that allow you to take a little time ahead of your party day cut the stress in at least half.  They also allow you to enjoy your own party – which is always a priority!  Before you take a look at the menu ideas, take a look at this post on Summer Entertaining Essentials! Together – you’ll be ready to rock your summer get-together!

Check out this beautiful melamine serving bowl – I’m adding it to my party ware today!

Main Dishes

Making food ahead can take much of the stress of entertaining away.  It wasn’t until I moved south that I counted on my slow cooker as much as I do for summer meals.  I had always used it almost exclusively for mid-winter comfort food like pot roast.  That was a mistake!  Using your slow cooker all year is an entertaining tip that can be used all year.

Prepare one of these slow cooker recipes as the main dish for your summer party:

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork by Delish

Slow Cooker Ranch Chicken Tacos by Creme De La Crumb

Slow Cooker Hatch Green Chile Verde by Foodie Crush

Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs by Dinner Then Dessert

Quinoa Black Bean Crockpot Stuffed Peppers by Pinch of Yum

Slow Cooker Jambalaya by Better Crocker

Slow Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken on Allrecipes by Carla Joy

Italian Beef Sandwiches by

Lip Smackin’ Ribs by Taste of Home

I love this platter for entertaining as well.  I couldn’t help but share it so you can get yours too!

Summer make ahead meals Recipes for entertaining, for families, for a crowd! Use your slow cooker to keep the heat out of your kitchen and enjoy your party! Sweet Humble Home

The Sides

Sides are usually my favorite part of the meal, and the amount of sides that can be made ahead for summer entertaining is virtually endless!  Many of the sides you can choose from for summer parties can be served cold as well. You can simply pull them out of the fridge and place them on your table!

Prepare one or two of these sides for your summer entertaining menu:

Easy Roasted Stuffed Tomato Side by Sweet Humble Home

Easy Cucumber Salad by Sweet Humble Home

Creamy Dill Potato Salad by Real Simple

Chopped BBQ Chicken Salad by The Kitchen

Watermelon Jicama Salad on Food Network by Marcela Valladolid

Cabbage & Corn Slaw by The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen


On to the best part – dessert.  Summer desserts can generally be made in advance and are always refreshing and fun!

Try a couple of these make-ahead desserts for your summer party!

Rustic Blueberry & Nectarine Tart – from

Strawberry Lemonade Cookies by Gimme Some Oven

Peanut Butter Balls by Sweet Humble home

No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake by The Spruce Eats

Keep It Simple

Whatever you do, keep your summer entertaining menu simple! Make ahead anything you can make ahead.  Throw on that summer playlist and invite your friends over to celebrate the simplicity of the season.


I’m sharing my Easy Oven Baked Ribs for you as well – because, well, they are SO incredibly easy!!

Easy Oven Baked Ribs

Easy Oven Baked Ribs

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes

These easy oven baked ribs are in the oven in just a few minutes and cooked low and slow until they are fall-off-the-bone delicious!


  • 5-6 pounds pork spare ribs
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1.5 tsp kosher salt
  • 1.5 tsp cayanne pepper
  • Chili Powder 1.5 tsp
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1.5 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1.5 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp Grillmates Applewood Rub


  1. Heat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Place ribs on large sheet of aluminum foil.
  3. Mix all ingredients together and evenly spread the rub all over both sides of the ribs.
  4. Wrap up the ribs in the aluminum foil in a package.
  5. Place in the oven and cook for 3 hours
  6. Unwrap the ribs from the aluminum foil and turn on the broiler.
  7. Broil the ribs for 5 minutes to finish them off.
  8. Serve & enjoy!


  • Adjust the cayanne up if you like a little more spice!
  • Make sure to use smoked paprika. It's a great way to get some of that long-term smoke taste into the ribs!



PS: If you have a favorite summer recipe, I’d love to see it (and try it)!  Share it with us in comments so we can give it a try! Also, check out my 5 Tips for Summer Entertaining!

Summer make ahead meals Recipes for entertaining, for families, for a crowd! Use your slow cooker to keep the heat out of your kitchen and enjoy your party! Sweet Humble Home #entertaining, #summerparty, #makeaheadpartyfood, #easysummerfood


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