Ina Garten's Best Tip For Easily Hosting Outdoors

Ina Garten smiling
Ina Garten smiling - Noam Galai/Getty Images

As the weather starts to warm up and the days start to get longer, al fresco dinner parties and cookouts are a fun way to spend time with family and friends. The only trouble is that the set-up and serving can be a bit tedious since you'll have to carry things back and forth from the kitchen so you can enjoy a meal in the great outdoors.

To help you get around this problem, take a leaf out of Ina Garten's book and use serving trays to help you transport items in and out of the house. Using multiple serving trays allows you to pile up and carry out your serving dishes, glasses, and ingredients in fewer trips, helping get everything out to your patio or back into the house much faster than if you were just using your hands. You can use one tray for drinks, another for dishes and cutlery, and still another for your main meal. Plus, they look extra elegant and can give your dinner party a swanky feel, elevating your get-together while avoiding the usual disposable plates and cutlery that aren't as good for the environment.

Read more: 11 Of The Best Cooking Tips From Bobby Flay

How To Use Your Serving Boards At Outdoor Events

Person holding a charcuterie board
Person holding a charcuterie board - Hraun/Getty Images

When it comes to using serving boards at outdoor events, one easy way is to use them to bring out multiple toppings and sides at a time, such as bottles of ketchup, pickle relish, and mustard. However, they can also come in handy for moving ingredients to and from the kitchen and as an aesthetic way to serve your food. Lay out meat patties, buns, and burger fixings on a tray and let guests assemble their meals themselves.

You could also use them to bring out snacks and sides. Place some bowls of dips on a serving platter and surround it with pita chips, pretzels, and fresh veggies for an easy appetizer. Or, lay out freshly cut fruit on the serving platter as a ready-to-grab dessert to finish the evening.

Of course, at the end of the night, those now-empty serving platters work well for picking up all the used dishes and silverware and transporting them back to the kitchen. You don't have to worry about going back and forth and staying away from the dinner table and conversation; instead, you can make one quick trip.

Other Ways To Make Hosting A Backyard Dinner Party Easier

Serving tray of iced tea
Serving tray of iced tea - Jupiterimages/Getty Images

If you're going to host a backyard dinner party, using serving trays isn't the only trick to have up your sleeve. For one thing, as stated on Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten tends to "make really easy no-cook appetizers for cocktails and very simple lunches and dinners."

This can help reduce some of the hassle that usually comes with hosting events, especially outdoors. By using simpler recipes, you don't have to spend hours racing back and forth between the kitchen and the grill; instead, you can sit down and enjoy your time with your friends and family.

Another way to help make things less stressful when hosting an outdoor meal is to have self-serve food stations. Perhaps you'll set up a delicious taco station with all the fixings laid out for people to create their own meals, or maybe you'll leave a mimosa bar where people can mix their own drinks. Either way, this saves you time individually plating food or mixing beverages and lets you enjoy your time with your guests instead. With these tips, you can spend less time worrying about the details of your party and more time enjoying warmer evenings with your loved ones.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.