Great Backyard Dining Recipes

This week we have some recipes great for backyard dining.

Let us know if there is something you would like us to put in our column, or if you have a recipe to share, please submit to

Watermelon and Mint “Agua Fresca”

(Fresh Fruit-Blended Water)


Level: Easy

Total: 10 min

Prep: 10 min

Yield: 8 servings


4 c. watermelon, seeded & cubed (about 3 lbs.)

1/2 c. water

24 mint leaves, divided

8 T. super-fine sugar (adjust if too sweet when using a naturally sweeter watermelon), divided

4 very thin lime slices, halved into half moons, divided

Ice cubes  


Add the watermelon and the water to a blender, and puree until smooth. Divide the mint leaves, sugar, and lime slices among 8 glasses and muddle the ingredients. Add ice to each glass and pour in the watermelon agua fresco. Stir and serve.


Blueberry Lime Slush


Prep Time: 5 min.

Cook Time: 15 min. + freezing

Yield: 20 servings (1 c. ea.)


2 c. sugar

4 c. water

1 can (12 oz.) frozen limeade concentrate

1 can (12 oz.) frozen orange juice concentrate

2 c. blueberry juice or blueberry juice cocktail

2 liters regular or diet lemon-lime soda, chilled

Fresh or frozen blueberries, opt.  


In a large saucepan, combine sugar and water; bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cool 30 minutes.

Stir juice concentrates and blueberry juice into syrup; divide mixture (about 2 cups each) among five 1-1/2-pint freezer containers. Freeze, covered, overnight or until firm.

For each four-serving batch, place one portion frozen mixture into a blender; add 1-2/3 cups soda. Cover and process just until blended. Serve immediately. If desired, serve with blueberries.


Grilled Elote Flatbread


Prep Time: 20 min.

Grill Time: 15 min.

Yield: 12 servings


2 med. ears sweet corn, husked

3 T. olive oil, divided

1 lb. fresh or frozen pizza dough, thawed

1/2 c. mayonnaise

1/3 c. crumbled Cotija (or Feta) cheese, divided

1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro, divided

1 T. lime juice

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/8 tsp. pepper  


Brush corn with 1 tablespoon oil. Grill corn, covered, over medium heat until lightly browned and tender, 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally. Cool slightly. Cut corn from cobs; transfer to a large bowl.

On a lightly floured surface, roll or press dough into a 15x10-in. oval (about 1/4 in. thick); place on a greased sheet of foil. Brush top with 1 tablespoon oil.

Carefully invert crust onto grill rack, removing foil. Brush top with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Grill, covered, over medium heat until bottom is golden brown, 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove from grill; cool slightly.

Add mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons cheese, 3 tablespoons cilantro, lime juice, chili powder and pepper to corn; stir to combine. Spread over warm crust. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and cilantro.


Kentucky Grilled Chicken


Prep Time: 5 min. + marinating

Grill Time: 40 min.

Yield: 10 servings


1 c. cider vinegar

1/2 c. canola oil

5 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

4 tsp. hot pepper sauce

2 tsp. salt

10 bone-in chicken breast halves (10 oz. ea.)


In a bowl or shallow dish, combine the first 5 ingredients. Pour 1 cup marinade into a separate bowl; add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Cover and refrigerate the remaining marinade for basting.

Drain and discard marinade from chicken. Prepare grill for indirect heat, using a drip pan.

Place chicken breasts, bone side down, on oiled rack. Grill, covered, over indirect medium heat until a thermometer reads 170°, about 20 minutes on each side, basting occasionally with reserved marinade.


Green Chile Cheeseburgers


Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 30 min

Total Time: 45 min


6 poblano or Anaheim chile peppers

1 c. mayonnaise

1 garlic clove, finely grated

Grated zest of 1 lime and juice of 1/2 lime

1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 tsp. black pepper, plus more to taste

3 lb. ground beef (80/20)

1 T. Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

6 slices pepper jack cheese

6 potato buns, split and toasted

Romaine lettuce leaves and sliced red onion, for topping


Preheat a grill to medium. Grill the chiles, turning frequently, until the skin is completely blackened, about 10 minutes. Seal the chiles in a large resealable plastic bag and let sit for a good 20 minutes. Remove them from the bag and use a knife to scrape off most of the blackened skin. Pull off the stems, then slice the chiles in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and membranes, then slice the chiles into thick strips.

Mix the mayonnaise, garlic and lime zest and juice in a small bowl. Season with salt and black pepper to taste and set aside.

Combine the beef, Worcestershire sauce, cumin, cayenne and 1 teaspoon each salt and black pepper in a large bowl. Mix with your hands until well combined. Form into six 1-inch-thick patties (about 4-1/2 inches wide). Season each patty with a little salt and pepper.

Grill the burgers until well marked and firm enough to flip, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the burgers, top each with some chiles and a slice of cheese and grill 3 to 4 more minutes for medium rare; cover during the last 30 seconds to fully melt the cheese, if necessary.

Spread the garlic mayonnaise on the buns. Serve the burgers on the buns with lettuce and red onion.


Grilled Corn Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette


Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 30 min

Total Time: 30 min


6 ears of corn, shucked

1 lg. sweet onion, cut into 1/2”-thick rings

1/2 c. olive oil, plus more for brushing

Kosher salt & black pepper, to taste

1/3 c. fresh lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes)

1-1/2 c. fresh cilantro

2 avocados, chopped

2 yellow tomatoes, chopped

1 (15-oz.) can pinto beans, drained & rinsed

1/4 c. pimientos, finely chopped  


Preheat a grill to medium high. Brush the corn and onion rings with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning occasionally, until lightly charred and tender, about 8 minutes for the onion rings and about 10 minutes for the corn. Set aside to cool.

Combine the lime juice and 3/4 cup cilantro in a blender and pulse until chunky. With the blender running, pour in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream to make a thick dressing. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut the corn off the cobs and roughly chop the onion. Combine in a large bowl with the avocados, tomatoes, beans, and pimientos. Roughly chop the remaining 3/4 cup cilantro and add to the bowl. Drizzle with the dressing and toss well. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.


Grilled Jerk Shrimp Orzo Salad


Prep Time: 25 min

Grill Time: 10 min

Yield: 2 servings


1/3 c. uncooked whole wheat orzo pasta

1/2 lb. uncooked shrimp (31-40 per lb.), peeled & deveined

1 T. Caribbean jerk seasoning

1 med. ear sweet corn, husked

1 tsp. olive oil

6 fresh asparagus spears, trimmed

1 sm. sweet red pepper, chopped



3 T. lime juice

1 T. water

1 T. olive oil

1/8 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper


Cook orzo according to package directions. Rinse with cold water; drain well. Meanwhile, toss shrimp with jerk seasoning; thread onto metal or soaked wooden skewers. Brush corn with oil.

On a covered grill over medium heat, cook corn until tender and lightly browned, 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally; cook asparagus until crisp-tender, 5-7 minutes, turning occasionally. Grill shrimp until they turn pink, 1-2 minutes per side.

Cut corn from cob; cut asparagus into 1-in. pieces. Remove shrimp from skewers. In a large bowl, combine orzo, grilled vegetables, shrimp, and red pepper. Whisk together dressing ingredients; toss with salad.


Fruit ‘n’ Cake Kabobs


Prep/Total Time: 25 min

Yield: 8 servings


1/2 c. apricot preserves

1 T. water

1 T. butter

1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

3 med. nectarines, quartered

3 med. peaches, quartered

3 med. plums, quartered

1 loaf (10-3/4 oz.) frozen pound cake, thawed & cut into 1-1/2” cubes


In a small saucepan, combine first five ingredients; cook and stir over medium heat until blended. Remove from heat.

On eight metal or soaked wooden skewers, alternately thread fruit and pound cake. Place on a greased rack over medium heat. Grill, uncovered, until lightly browned and fruit is tender, brushing occasionally with apricot mixture.


Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler


Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 25 min

Cook Time: 20 min

Total Time: 45 min


Strawberry Rhubarb Filling:

1-1/2 lb. rhubarb, sliced into 1/2” pcs.

1 lb. strawberries, hulled & quartered

3/4 c. sugar

2 T. cornstarch

2 T. instant tapioca

1 T. freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tsp. orange zest



1 c. all-purpose flour

3 T. packed brown sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

3 T. unsalted butter, chilled & diced

1/3 c. milk

2 T. sugar


Preheat oven to 375° F.

For the strawberry rhubarb filling: In a medium bowl, toss rhubarb and strawberries with sugar, cornstarch, tapioca, orange juice, and orange zest. Let stand for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.

For the dough: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. With a rigid pastry blender or a fork, cut butter into dry mixture until incorporated and crumbly. Drizzle milk evenly over the top of the mixture and then stir together just until evenly moistened. Do not over-mix. Dough will be thick.

To assemble the cobbler: Transfer strawberry rhubarb filling to a deep baking dish. Using a spoon, drop dough onto top of strawberry rhubarb filling, dividing evenly into 8 dough mounds. Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of sugar evenly over the dough mounds.

Bake, uncovered, for about 40 minutes, until biscuits are browned and filling juices are thickened and bubbling nicely. Remove from oven to a cooling rack. Let cool for about 30 minutes before serving. This is great with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream—or a dollop of whipped cream, or a splash of cream. 


Quote of the Week:

“The strongest, toughest men all have compassion. They’re not heartless and cold. You have to be man enough to have compassion — to care about people and about your children.”    

- Denzel Washington



The Drummer and The Wright County Journal Press

PO Box 159
108 Central Ave.
Buffalo MN 55313

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