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8 Simple Recipes for a Brilliant Backyard Bash

Why should you slave away in the kitchen while everyone else sips their cocktails? This year, enjoy your party (and be the star of it) with these easy and delicious recipes.
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Why should you slave away in the kitchen while everyone else sips their cocktails? This year, enjoy your party (and be the star of it) with these easy and delicious recipes.

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This dazzling, delicious trifle can be made in under 30 minutes--just be sure to plan ahead as it needs to sit in the fridge at least 8 hours before serving. GET THE RECIPE

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Light, crunchy and refreshing, this cucumber salad makes a great side dish for any summer BBQ. GET THE RECIPE

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This satisfying salad is full of bright Southeast Asian flavor -- perfect to spice up the night! GET THE RECIPE

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There are endless ways to use pesto, but this has to be one of my favorites. Whether you serve the dish as a party appetizer or a main course, the shrimp will disappear in a flash. Trust me, no matter how much you think you'll need, make extra! GET THE RECIPE

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If ever there was a cake for lemon lovers, this is it! Lemon zest and lemon juice are added to the batter, which lightly perfume the cake with lemon. Then, after the cake is baked, it's doused with lemon syrup drizzled with a tart lemon glaze. GET THE RECIPE

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This homemade popcorn tossed with garlic butter, spices and Parmesan cheese is adapted from Crazy Good Italian by D.C. Chef and Top Chef All-Stars runner-up Mike Isabella. It's insanely addictive (yes, crazy good) and perfect to serve with cocktails. GET THE RECIPE

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Nothing says summer like Peel n' Eat Shrimp, and they're as easy to make as they are fun to eat. Here, I've prepared them Maryland-style: simmered in beer and Old Bay with homemade cocktail sauce on the side. GET THE RECIPE

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Fruit and fizz make a wonderful warm weather cocktail. Instead of adding ice cubes to the pitcher, chill the sangria with frozen grapes: they look beautiful and won't water the drink down. Cheers! GET THE RECIPE