BBQ ideas you — and your wallet — will love

Throwing a barbecue is one of the joys of summer, but it can get pricey.

The secret to backyard entertaining without breaking the bank is to build the meal around foods that are good values or sale items. Pantry items and ingredients that add multiple flavors with one stroke complete the package.

This impressive, yet easy to prepare Mediterranean-inspired meal can comfortably serve 10 people for around $3 a person. Plus, most of the dishes can be prepared ahead, leaving you with more time with your guests.

Tomato-balsamic barbecued chicken starts with chicken thighs and drumsticks, which cost little and tend to be the most flavorful parts of the bird.

A flavorful, tangy glaze takes advantage of pre-seasoned tomato paste and the complex sweet acidity of balsamic vinegar. For this recipe, inexpensive balsamic works as well as more pricey kinds because a bit of sugar is added to the mix.

Mediterranean orzo salad marries perfectly with the flavors of the barbecued chicken. The main ingredient is the traditional rice-shaped pasta, which usually cost around $1 for a 1-pound box.

And because the salad includes a good amount of feta cheese, the dish is substantial enough to serve as an entree for any guests who are vegetarian.

To finish off the meal there is an indulgent treat that is made with just four ingredients. A simple brown sugar shortbread is layered with rich and tangy jarred lemon curd to make sweet little sandwiches that are both crunchy and chewy.

To make this tangy dish even easier to prepare, make the tomato-balsamic glaze and par-cook the chicken ahead of time. Refrigerate both and when guests arrive, you can finish the chicken on the grill about 15 minutes before serving.

Start to finish: 1 hour (30 minutes active)

Tomato-balsamic barbecued chicken
Servings:

Serves 10

Ingredients

    • For the sauce:
    • 6-ounce can basil-garlic flavored tomato paste (or a 6-ounce can of tomato paste mixed with a teaspoon of prepared pesto)
    • 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
    • 2 teaspoons sugar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • For the chicken:
    • 5 pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Mediterranean orzo salad
Servings:

Serves 12

Ingredients

    • 1 pound orzo pasta
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 pound tomatoes, diced
    • 1 seedless cucumber, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    • 1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
    • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Lemon curd shortbread sandwiches
Servings:

Serves 12

Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 12 tablespoons butter, room temperature
    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup lemon curd

Preparation

Baking Directions:

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