The New American Grill

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Using the grill is the ultimate way to serve an impromptu backyard party. A casual cook-out can fit right into your busy schedule while serving up hamburgers, steaks and even more creative fare. For your next celebration, try these ideas to dazzle guests—without the traditional hassles of hosting.

Burgers, Brats and Beyond

Hamburgers and brats are a mainstay for grilling. Look to the Hy-Vee Meat Department for premade burgers to make hosting easy. Condiments can be as simple as ketchup and mustard. Or consider transforming your burgers into backyard stars with these taste-pleasing gourmet topping combos: Swiss cheese, bacon and guacamole; Gruyère, barbecue sauce and sautéed mushrooms; jalapeño peppers and Colby-jack cheese; or barbecue sauce, French-fried onions and blue cheese.

Brats can be served in buns piled with shredded cabbage and onions drizzled with vinegar and oil and cracked pepper; chopped precooked bacon, sweet pickle relish and sweet onions; or the more traditional mustard and sauerkraut. For both burgers and brats, try sweet pickle or corn relish or ready-made salsas.

Pizza is an inexpensive party food and takes little time to grill. Start with a premade pizza crust, such as Boboli. Top the crust with purchased pizza sauce, your favorite toppings and shredded mozzarella cheese. Grill until hot and bubbly.

Quesadillas make fun appetizers or light meals. Brush one side of a large tortilla with cooking oil. Place tortilla, oil side down, on a large baking sheet. Top one half of tortilla with shredded cheese, chopped rotisserie chicken and refrigerated fresh salsa from the produce section at Hy-Vee. Fold the tortilla over the filling; carefully place on the grill. Grill until tortilla is light brown and cheese melts. Cut into wedges and serve with sour cream and additional salsa.

For a luscious fruit dessert, grill pitted nectarine halves or thick slices of fresh pineapple until light brown and tender. Top with a spoonful of sweetened ricotta cheese, honey-roasted cashews and a drizzle of warm caramel sauce.

Fuss-Free Parties

A party should be fun for everyone, host included. To enjoy your get-together as much as your guests do, grilling is the way to go. Cleanup is easy, your kitchen stays clean and cool, preparation is quick and you aren’t stuck inside cooking. Try one of these stress-free ideas for your next backyard bash.

Bring It! When everyone brings a side dish or dessert to share, all you have to think about is the meat. Turn to Hy-Vee for hot dogs, premade hamburger patties, bratwurst and chicken breasts. Ask a guest to bring paper products and plastic eating utensils.

BYOM Grill Out. Asking guests to bring their own meat helps you trim the cost of hosting a gathering. Offer to furnish sides, desserts and drinks. The Hy-Vee Deli is loaded with side-dish options, such as coleslaw, potato salad, fruit salad and pasta salad. Mouthwatering pies, cookies, cupcakes and dessert bars are made daily at the Hy-Vee Bakery.

Multiple Deck Party. Enlist two or three adjacent neighbors to cohost the party. Bring out the grills and set up yard games at each house, allowing guests to meander between parties. Serve simple foods, such as hamburgers, a pitcher of smoothies, chips and Whoopie Pies from the Hy-Vee Bakery. Check out Hy-Vee for great outdoor games, too.

Entertain with Finesse

Practicality and ease are in order when entertaining on the deck. Rely on disposable plates, cups and eating utensils. Hy-Vee carries a variety of patterns and colors to choose from. Also check the Hy-Vee Floral Department for an eye-catching centerpiece. To keep the celebration going, make sure to have plenty of ice and extra munchables on hand. Mixed nuts, fresh veggies for dipping, dips, deli olives, cheeses, crackers and ice-cream bars will satisfy lingering guests or latecomers.

Source: Hy-Vee Seasons Garden 2010.

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