Appetizers & Dips, Main Dishes, Party

bridal shower & engagement party bbq

My friend Dana (who has her own fabulous blog: eat/see/write) and I were thrilled to throw our friend Adie a bridal shower which then morphed into a let’s invite the boys over and celebrate these two fabulous people getting hitched BBQ. We had a blast planning the menus and I think we executed this somewhat epic entertaining fest without burning anything to the ground or spilling too much punch. Success, huzzah!

decorations shower

For the shower we made lots of finger foods and sweets including cucumber & mint tea sandwiches, strawberry cupcakes, fruit with coconut cream dip, monogrammed sugar cookies, cranberry & pecan chicken salad in pastry shells and a cheese plate with brie, blue cheese, aged cheddar and apricot spread.

Dana also made a delicious punch with homemade lemonade, vodka, thyme and sparkling grapefruit juice. It was perfectly refreshing for a sunny Saturday afternoon with the ladies.

Besides being an awesome co-host, Dana is also a great photographer and she caught the photos below of our festive shower!




The chicken salad ended up being a hit, so I thought I’d share the recipe here for you guys to try out, it’s one of my favorites and is definitely a crowd pleaser. It’s tangy and sweet and is great on crackers or as a sandwich as well.

1 lb cooked and shredded chicken breasts
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tbs honey
2 tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tbs white sugar
dash salt & pepper
2 packages filo dough mini pastry shells


Cook and shred the chicken and thaw the filo pastries. Then just mix all of the ingredients together and spoon out into the filo pastries, it’s that easy!


Also for anyone looking for something cute/crafty to include at a shower – I made this ‘wishing tree’ so guests could leave their wishes for Dave & Adie. Then you send the lovely couple home with the wishes in the little box, sort of an alternative to a guest book.


wishesPhoto by Dana


Next, onto the BBQ! We had to be able to transition from shower to BBQ without spending too much time in the kitchen missing all the fun, so we were able to make a ton beforehand, leaving only the grilling to be done. We made deviled eggs, caramelized onion dip with bacon, pulled pork with coleslaw, baked beans, quinoa salad with black beans, corn on the cob, caramel & chocolate brownies and chicken rubbed with my husband’s now potentially famous dry rub.


If you want to have the tastiest dip in the land at your summer BBQ – this is it. We went through two bags of ruffles scarfing it down! I certainly wish I could take credit, but it was Ms. Martha who provided this awesome recipe. I mean, fried shallots in bacon fat!?! Mmmmmmmmm.


4 bacon strips, chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 pounds yellow onions, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 tbs white-wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 small shallots, thinly sliced into rings
For serving: potato chips, celery, carrots, or other raw vegetables

In a small skillet, cook the bacon until the fat is rendered out. Drain bacon, reserving the fat in the pan. Then heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add onions and salt. Cook onions over low heat, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and deep golden in color, about 1 hour. Add water if needed. Add the vinegar in the last-minute of cooking. Cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, sour cream, onions, and bacon. Last, add the vegetable oil to the skillet with bacon fat. Reheat on medium-high until the oil shimmers. Add the shallots, lower the heat, and cook until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Drain, and garnish dip with fried shallots.

And last, my husband put together a a great dry rub he put on chicken wings, thighs and legs which he grilled. He even garnished with rosemary sprigs! What a guy!

chickenPhoto by Dana

*Note that this recipe coated about 25/30 pieces of chicken, so of course adjust to your needs!
1/2 cup salt
1/4 cup onion powder
1/4 cup garlic powder
2 tbs paprika
2 tbs cayenne
1 tbs dried thyme
1 tbs dried rosemary
1 tbs pepper

Coat chicken with a generous amount of dry rub and then grill until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees.


I had such a blast co-hosting these parties and couldn’t be happier that our two great friends Dave & Adie are getting married. Love to celebrate with good food, cold beer and lots of friends, now if only I could turn celebrating into a full time job!

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