Summer entertaining was never easier than with this make-ahead menu, including healthy and tasty Spiced Chicken Skewers with an Avocado Chile Coconut Sauce. Thank you to California Avocados for helping me to share these ideas with you.
Every summer we eat as many meals "al fresco" as we possibly can. We're lucky that our back patio is shaded in the afternoon and evening so that we can enjoy dinner in relative coolness while gazing at the Wasatch Mountains.
When entertaining, I prefer to serve everything family-style so that our guests can help themselves and go back for seconds and thirds whenever they like. And honestly, it's a heck of a lot easier than serving everything from the kitchen, plate by plate.
With the help of California Avocados, we whipped up an avocado-focused meal. Really, I don't need any encouragement to cook with avocados. What's not to love about the creamy, healthy fruit?! That being said, I have to admit that the avocado-colored napkins, avocado table runner and the awesome California Avocado-branded Weber grill definitely got me in the mood.
It's been pretty hot here, so we wanted to keep the meal really light, with dishes that could mostly be made ahead of time. I've learned over the years that the less that I have to cook when my guests arrive, the less stressed I am...that means that EVERYONE has more fun.
This was the menu:
- Mini Avocado & Hummus Quesadillas (these are great for afternoon snacks, too)
- Water flavored with lemon, lime and peach slices + other beverages
- Spiced Chicken Skewers with Avocado Chile Coconut Sauce (see recipe below)...the sauce can be made a few hours ahead of time
- Ultimate Summer Salad with Dill Buttermilk Dressing
- Shrimp, Corn & California Avocado Pasta Salad...I used cheese tortellini this time
- Grilled Corn
- Tart Cherry & Coconut Milk Popsicles (our favorite Blueberry Swirl Ice Cream Pie with Hazelnut Crust would be another great option)
What could be made ahead? Virtually everything!
- Quesadillas: Assemble ahead of time; cook just before serving
- Flavored waters: Cut the fruit and place in carafes ahead of time; pour in water and ice before serving
- Spiced chicken skewers with avocado sauce: Place the chicken on skewers and make avocado sauce ahead of time; cook chicken before serving
- Ultimate summer salad: Make everything ahead of time; dress the salad before serving
- Pasta salad: Make the entire thing ahead of time; chill until ready to serve
- Grilled corn: Remove silks ahead of time; cook before serving
- Popsicles or Blueberry Ice Cream Pie: Make ahead of time
So, let's talk about these skewers and the sauce (oh, the sauce!). I actually stole the idea for the sauce from my own Chilled California Avocado Soup with Coconut Milk recipe. "Lite" coconut milk is such a great way to add extra creaminess to a sauce or soup without going overboard on the fat content (and there are plenty of "good" fats in California avocados...did you know they're cholesterol-free?) I happened to have a can of diced green chiles in my pantry and thought they might be happy to be blended all together with some avocado and seasonings. They were!
For the chicken skewers, I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs because they always stay juicy and tender when grilled. Cut into pieces, toss with olive oil and spices and thread on skewers until it's time to cook. Easy peasy!
If you have any tried-and-true summer entertaining tips, I would love to hear them in the comments below!
Spiced Chicken Skewers with Avocado Chile Coconut Sauce Recipe
- Place 8 wooden skewers in a large baking dish filled with hot water. Soak for at least 30 minutes.
- In a blender, combine the avocado, chiles, coconut milk, water, garlic, lime juice and salt. Puree until smooth.
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
- Place the chicken into a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper.
- Thread the chicken pieces onto the skewers.
- Place on the grill and cook until the chicken is just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.
- Serve the chicken skewers with the avocado sauce.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by California Avocados, plus they provided me with an entertaining pack and some gorgeous avocados. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.