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Find Out What Grill Sauce Celebrity Chefs Are Using This Summer

Find Out What Grill Sauce Celebrity Chefs Are Using This Summer

Grilling season has arrived, and with it the ability to cook in the great outdoors without having to scrub any pots and pans. While throwing something on the grill is easy, more time-consuming is making your own sauce or marinade to accompany your chosen protein. Thanks to suggestions by experts and celebrities on OpenSky.com, there are plenty of gourmet grilling sauces to get you started and keep you busy throughout the summer.

Top Chef head judge Tom Colicchio likes getting his grill on with Rufus Teague. The collection of sauces and rubs turns any home chef into a veritable grill master. Choose your poison from the company's selection of rubs as well as sweet and spicy sauces to get the taste of summer right in your backyard. RufusTeague.com

Grill guru Bobby Flay likes a good hamburger and uses his own line of sauces and rubs for added flavor. Inspired by his burger concept restaurant, Bobby's Burger Palace, BBP Sauces and Rubs include everything you get when you eat out, but in a convenient bottle. BobbysBurgerPalace.com

When it comes time for grilling, Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern reportedly turns to Daddy Sam's for flavor. Daddy Sam's has sauce for grilling everything from meat to fish. If you get tired of grilling steak and burgers, try the Salmon Glaze for your seafood. DaddySams.com

Guy Fieri doesn't just eat at diners, drive-in's, and dives. On occasion he heats up his own grill, and when he does, he just might use his own line of barbecue sauces. These include Carolina #6 BBQ Sauce, which can be used as a marinade as well as a "mop and slip sauce." FoodNetworkStore.com

For a versatile grilling sauce, check out gourmet food purveyors, Dean & Deluca. The gourmet store has their very own grilling sauce, the Dean & Deluca Three Mustard Barbecue Sauce, which can be used on pork, chicken and veggies, making it perfect for hosts with fussy eaters. DeanDeluca.com

— Carly Zinderman, JustLuxe

More From JustLuxe:

• Chef Wolfgang Puck's Mini Prime Cheeseburgers with Remoulade (recipe)

• Ferrari Auction Raises $2 Million for Earthquake Victims in Italy

• Rumfire Sirloin Steak Recipe


Bobby Flay's Party Plan

Flay's love of food comes through when he's talking about it or eating it, and most especially when he's cooking it &mdash that's what has made the 47-year-old New Yorker one of the best-known and best-loved chefs on TV. Since four of his 11 top-selling cookbooks are dedicated to the thrill of the grill, it's easy to guess this season is prime time for prepping simple yet absolutely spectacular meals for friends and family. And, good guy that he is, he's eager to share his best tips for summer entertaining with Good Housekeeping readers.

Each summer weekend, Flay leaves his bustling food empire in Manhattan behind and heads to the Hamptons, where he and his wife, actress Stephanie March (best known for her role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot), have built an environmentally friendly cedar-shingled retreat. An imposing mansion was never in their plans instead, it's a place where the living is easy. "Everyone who visits says, 'Wow, this is the most comfortable house I've ever been in,' " he reports with pride.

On these relaxed weekends, the celebrity chef becomes a typical husband and father. OK, maybe with one exception &mdash while most people would prefer not to work on their days off, Flay just can't stay out of the kitchen. "I know it's very unusual for someone to say that what he does for a profession is also what he does to relax," says Flay, "but I absolutely lovecooking."

So, after a morning workout to clear his head and stay fit (he has run three New York City marathons and is training for a triathlon with Today show anchor Natalie Morales), Flay heads straight for the kitchen. "My whole day is glued together by food," he says. If Texan-born March wakes up craving her favorite Southern breakfast, Flay gets to work making biscuits, gravy, and sausage. If Sophie, his 16-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, has a slumber party, he whips up a brunch buffet (pancakes, eggs and bacon &mdash the works) the next morning for the kids. All the while, he's thinking about soaking wood chips, firing up the grill, and deciding what's for lunch: grilled pizza, or maybe fish tacos?

But the action really starts when Flay makes plans for dinner. The Hamptons may be famous for glitzy celebrity parties, but Flay is happiest when the festivities are at his house and the dress code is swimsuits and sunblock, with him manning the grill.

Flay's Foolproof Party Plan

First and foremost, choose a theme, Flay advises. Though he could easily wing it when guests are heading his way, he likes to give his get-togethers a reason for being. "Creating a theme is really important," he says. "It gets people excited, and it gives me an idea of things to go with the main dishes, like sides, cocktails, and wines. So I don't just think, I'm going to do a chicken dish. I think, I want to make an Argentinean meal. With all of our great information access, I can research it."

Flay will start with the cornerstone of a particular cuisine &mdash in this case, chimichurri, Argentina's signature herb-based sauce. "What do they use the sauce on? Beef, pork, and sausage. And what kinds of side dishes do people in Argentina serve? Roasted potatoes and something called provoleta, which is grilled provolone cheese that could be an hors d'oeuvre, with some bread or chips to go with it. All of a sudden," says Flay, beaming at the thought of putting together a meal, "you start seeing the menu come together."

The recipes he shared with GH don't hail from South America. They are summer favorites rooted squarely in U.S. soil &mdash fried chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, and sliced watermelon &mdash all made with his trademark big, bold flavors and an ease of preparation that makes them party-perfect. When you make these, feel free to tell guests you're serving Bobby Flay's cookout classics.

With a theme in place, Flay's next move is to grab pencil and paper: "I'm a big 'list person.' I make one for shopping and one for prioritizing &mdash from what can be done ahead of time to what can be left for the end, right before the guests arrive." Specifically, that means running through the recipes and meal prep in advance and working backward from the moment the first guest is bound to ring the doorbell, so the step-by-steps are clear. Another smart idea: Flay tapes the priorities list to the cupboard so he can check it as he works and course-correct as needed.

As he does his prep work, Flay's Hamptons house is filled with the sounds of the hip-hop and R&B music he loves. (His wife insists on swapping in a softer soundtrack, like Coldplay, once guests are due to arrive.) Usually on his pre-party agenda: making sauces and rubs, and precooking corn on the cob until it's just cooked &mdash then he'll set it aside to be grilled later. He'll also whip up potato salad: "Actually, sometimes I make a couple of different kinds [see his blue cheese-vinaigrette version]. One might be a whole-grain-mustard-and-scallion potato salad. I'll also do a Southwestern-style kind that has a mayonnaise-based dressing and some chiles, cilantro, and lime juice. But the key to making any potato salad is that whatever you're going to dress it in, you have to have it ready so when the potatoes are done cooking, you can dress them while they're hot. That's the key to life in the potato-salad world. Otherwise, if they're cold, they repel it &mdash it's almost like the potatoes are here, and the dressing is over there!"

Mixing drinks is another pre-guest-arrival activity Flay is adamant that a host shouldn't also play bartender at a get-together. "Make pitchers of drinks instead of individual cocktails," he advises, so guests can help themselves. "But don't add ice that will water the mix down," he says. Instead, put out a bucket of ice near the glassware just before your guests are due.

Sangria is a favorite at Flay's dinner parties. "I like making it with rosé," he says, "because it goes with almost any grilled food &mdash and besides, who doesn't love a pink drink?" (He uses red wine, though, for the Sangria Ice Pops.) Or, depending on the evening's theme, Flay will serve up his super-simple signature margaritas. "They're crisp and clean and taste exactly like the three ingredients I use," he says. "The recipe is two parts tequila, one part triple sec, and one part freshly squeezed lime juice &mdash that's it!"

All About Appetizers

Flay says you don't want to be in the kitchen baking or sautéing appetizers when you could be out chatting with your friends, so he's a big advocate of serving cold hors d'oeuvres. They can be made ahead of time, kept refrigerated, and put out the moment guests come over. Flay personally is mad about chilled seafood, such as oysters, clams, and boiled shrimp, with lots of different sauces &mdash but for those with simpler tastes (or more modest budgets), there are plenty of other options. "I'm a lover of Southwestern ingredients, so there's always some kind of avocado concoction, whether straight-up guacamole or some kind of relish," says Flay. "I made 'avocado-chickpea smash' for an Access Hollywood cooking segment with Katharine McPhee, from the TV show Smash. That guacamole-hummus mix is going to be served in my house all the time now."

His wife often requests queso, which Flay describes as a cheese sauce. He says March grew up on a Velveeta-and-Ro-Tel (canned cooked chile peppers and tomatoes) mixture, but he makes it his way: "I just can't do it her way. So I take chiles and onions, and I roast and cook them, adding some garlic. Then I do my own cheese sauce, and I make queso out of it. That's really good to have with tortilla chips and pita chips."

The Main Event, Made Easy

For the entrée, Flay will aim for dishes he describes as "bold, risky, and impactful."

Built into these delicious dishes is one of Flay's ultimate time-savers and stress-reducers: making the meal a buffet. "I'm big on platters and serving everything family-style," he says. "Otherwise, it's like an assembly line, and not everyone's tastes are the same. With platters, guests can take what they want." Flay's recipes for skirt steak and fried chicken are perfect examples of this simple-to-serve party fare. Another option, says Flay, is to think of big cuts of meat that can be carved, such as leg of lamb, the cooking of which is so much easier than tending to individual chops. Or, try a tenderloin &mdash you can save the smaller cuts of meat for date-night dinners.

There is actually one Flay dish that bridges the gap between dinner for two and dinner for 10. "Stephanie has this crazy recipe for filet mignon that works so well," he says. "It was the most requested recipe on that season of my show Boy Meets Grill." March marinates the filet and broils it under a high heat for about 10 minutes. Then she wraps it in foil and allows it to sit for 45 minutes. "It comes out spot-on perfect," Flay says with admiration. "Stephanie makes that for my birthday every year." And it will wow a crowd as well. (Interestingly, one of the couple's first date-night dinners cooked by Flay didn't turn out quite so auspiciously. The Iron Chef roasted a chicken, but &mdash distracted by March's charms &mdash he somehow allowed the bird to go up in flames.)

Cook Within Your Range

It's standard advice not to prepare new-to-you dishes for a party, but Flay puts his own spin on it: "Do make one dish that's slightly challenging, so you can improve, but cook within your range, so it's enjoyable."

So while the main course may involve a new recipe, side dishes can be kept simpler. Even Flay, who trained at New York City's famed French Culinary Institute, doesn't see the need to get too fancy for guests &mdash especially when he's working with summer produce at the peak of its flavor. His take on tomato salad is a perfect example. "I'll go shopping and buy whatever tomatoes are in season at that moment, like heirloom, beefsteak, or cherry tomatoes," he says. "I just put a whole bunch of them in a bowl tear up some fresh herbs and add vinegar, a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, some cracked black pepper, and some cheese, like blue, feta, or goat &mdash something crumbly and a little dry." Couldn't be easier, tastier, or healthier, which is something he takes into consideration when cooking. Not drenching food in butter, oil, and sauces has helped keep Flay one of the fittest chefs around. "You can eat well and eat plenty, but make good choices," he says.


Bobby Flay's Party Plan

Flay's love of food comes through when he's talking about it or eating it, and most especially when he's cooking it &mdash that's what has made the 47-year-old New Yorker one of the best-known and best-loved chefs on TV. Since four of his 11 top-selling cookbooks are dedicated to the thrill of the grill, it's easy to guess this season is prime time for prepping simple yet absolutely spectacular meals for friends and family. And, good guy that he is, he's eager to share his best tips for summer entertaining with Good Housekeeping readers.

Each summer weekend, Flay leaves his bustling food empire in Manhattan behind and heads to the Hamptons, where he and his wife, actress Stephanie March (best known for her role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot), have built an environmentally friendly cedar-shingled retreat. An imposing mansion was never in their plans instead, it's a place where the living is easy. "Everyone who visits says, 'Wow, this is the most comfortable house I've ever been in,' " he reports with pride.

On these relaxed weekends, the celebrity chef becomes a typical husband and father. OK, maybe with one exception &mdash while most people would prefer not to work on their days off, Flay just can't stay out of the kitchen. "I know it's very unusual for someone to say that what he does for a profession is also what he does to relax," says Flay, "but I absolutely lovecooking."

So, after a morning workout to clear his head and stay fit (he has run three New York City marathons and is training for a triathlon with Today show anchor Natalie Morales), Flay heads straight for the kitchen. "My whole day is glued together by food," he says. If Texan-born March wakes up craving her favorite Southern breakfast, Flay gets to work making biscuits, gravy, and sausage. If Sophie, his 16-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, has a slumber party, he whips up a brunch buffet (pancakes, eggs and bacon &mdash the works) the next morning for the kids. All the while, he's thinking about soaking wood chips, firing up the grill, and deciding what's for lunch: grilled pizza, or maybe fish tacos?

But the action really starts when Flay makes plans for dinner. The Hamptons may be famous for glitzy celebrity parties, but Flay is happiest when the festivities are at his house and the dress code is swimsuits and sunblock, with him manning the grill.

Flay's Foolproof Party Plan

First and foremost, choose a theme, Flay advises. Though he could easily wing it when guests are heading his way, he likes to give his get-togethers a reason for being. "Creating a theme is really important," he says. "It gets people excited, and it gives me an idea of things to go with the main dishes, like sides, cocktails, and wines. So I don't just think, I'm going to do a chicken dish. I think, I want to make an Argentinean meal. With all of our great information access, I can research it."

Flay will start with the cornerstone of a particular cuisine &mdash in this case, chimichurri, Argentina's signature herb-based sauce. "What do they use the sauce on? Beef, pork, and sausage. And what kinds of side dishes do people in Argentina serve? Roasted potatoes and something called provoleta, which is grilled provolone cheese that could be an hors d'oeuvre, with some bread or chips to go with it. All of a sudden," says Flay, beaming at the thought of putting together a meal, "you start seeing the menu come together."

The recipes he shared with GH don't hail from South America. They are summer favorites rooted squarely in U.S. soil &mdash fried chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, and sliced watermelon &mdash all made with his trademark big, bold flavors and an ease of preparation that makes them party-perfect. When you make these, feel free to tell guests you're serving Bobby Flay's cookout classics.

With a theme in place, Flay's next move is to grab pencil and paper: "I'm a big 'list person.' I make one for shopping and one for prioritizing &mdash from what can be done ahead of time to what can be left for the end, right before the guests arrive." Specifically, that means running through the recipes and meal prep in advance and working backward from the moment the first guest is bound to ring the doorbell, so the step-by-steps are clear. Another smart idea: Flay tapes the priorities list to the cupboard so he can check it as he works and course-correct as needed.

As he does his prep work, Flay's Hamptons house is filled with the sounds of the hip-hop and R&B music he loves. (His wife insists on swapping in a softer soundtrack, like Coldplay, once guests are due to arrive.) Usually on his pre-party agenda: making sauces and rubs, and precooking corn on the cob until it's just cooked &mdash then he'll set it aside to be grilled later. He'll also whip up potato salad: "Actually, sometimes I make a couple of different kinds [see his blue cheese-vinaigrette version]. One might be a whole-grain-mustard-and-scallion potato salad. I'll also do a Southwestern-style kind that has a mayonnaise-based dressing and some chiles, cilantro, and lime juice. But the key to making any potato salad is that whatever you're going to dress it in, you have to have it ready so when the potatoes are done cooking, you can dress them while they're hot. That's the key to life in the potato-salad world. Otherwise, if they're cold, they repel it &mdash it's almost like the potatoes are here, and the dressing is over there!"

Mixing drinks is another pre-guest-arrival activity Flay is adamant that a host shouldn't also play bartender at a get-together. "Make pitchers of drinks instead of individual cocktails," he advises, so guests can help themselves. "But don't add ice that will water the mix down," he says. Instead, put out a bucket of ice near the glassware just before your guests are due.

Sangria is a favorite at Flay's dinner parties. "I like making it with rosé," he says, "because it goes with almost any grilled food &mdash and besides, who doesn't love a pink drink?" (He uses red wine, though, for the Sangria Ice Pops.) Or, depending on the evening's theme, Flay will serve up his super-simple signature margaritas. "They're crisp and clean and taste exactly like the three ingredients I use," he says. "The recipe is two parts tequila, one part triple sec, and one part freshly squeezed lime juice &mdash that's it!"

All About Appetizers

Flay says you don't want to be in the kitchen baking or sautéing appetizers when you could be out chatting with your friends, so he's a big advocate of serving cold hors d'oeuvres. They can be made ahead of time, kept refrigerated, and put out the moment guests come over. Flay personally is mad about chilled seafood, such as oysters, clams, and boiled shrimp, with lots of different sauces &mdash but for those with simpler tastes (or more modest budgets), there are plenty of other options. "I'm a lover of Southwestern ingredients, so there's always some kind of avocado concoction, whether straight-up guacamole or some kind of relish," says Flay. "I made 'avocado-chickpea smash' for an Access Hollywood cooking segment with Katharine McPhee, from the TV show Smash. That guacamole-hummus mix is going to be served in my house all the time now."

His wife often requests queso, which Flay describes as a cheese sauce. He says March grew up on a Velveeta-and-Ro-Tel (canned cooked chile peppers and tomatoes) mixture, but he makes it his way: "I just can't do it her way. So I take chiles and onions, and I roast and cook them, adding some garlic. Then I do my own cheese sauce, and I make queso out of it. That's really good to have with tortilla chips and pita chips."

The Main Event, Made Easy

For the entrée, Flay will aim for dishes he describes as "bold, risky, and impactful."

Built into these delicious dishes is one of Flay's ultimate time-savers and stress-reducers: making the meal a buffet. "I'm big on platters and serving everything family-style," he says. "Otherwise, it's like an assembly line, and not everyone's tastes are the same. With platters, guests can take what they want." Flay's recipes for skirt steak and fried chicken are perfect examples of this simple-to-serve party fare. Another option, says Flay, is to think of big cuts of meat that can be carved, such as leg of lamb, the cooking of which is so much easier than tending to individual chops. Or, try a tenderloin &mdash you can save the smaller cuts of meat for date-night dinners.

There is actually one Flay dish that bridges the gap between dinner for two and dinner for 10. "Stephanie has this crazy recipe for filet mignon that works so well," he says. "It was the most requested recipe on that season of my show Boy Meets Grill." March marinates the filet and broils it under a high heat for about 10 minutes. Then she wraps it in foil and allows it to sit for 45 minutes. "It comes out spot-on perfect," Flay says with admiration. "Stephanie makes that for my birthday every year." And it will wow a crowd as well. (Interestingly, one of the couple's first date-night dinners cooked by Flay didn't turn out quite so auspiciously. The Iron Chef roasted a chicken, but &mdash distracted by March's charms &mdash he somehow allowed the bird to go up in flames.)

Cook Within Your Range

It's standard advice not to prepare new-to-you dishes for a party, but Flay puts his own spin on it: "Do make one dish that's slightly challenging, so you can improve, but cook within your range, so it's enjoyable."

So while the main course may involve a new recipe, side dishes can be kept simpler. Even Flay, who trained at New York City's famed French Culinary Institute, doesn't see the need to get too fancy for guests &mdash especially when he's working with summer produce at the peak of its flavor. His take on tomato salad is a perfect example. "I'll go shopping and buy whatever tomatoes are in season at that moment, like heirloom, beefsteak, or cherry tomatoes," he says. "I just put a whole bunch of them in a bowl tear up some fresh herbs and add vinegar, a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, some cracked black pepper, and some cheese, like blue, feta, or goat &mdash something crumbly and a little dry." Couldn't be easier, tastier, or healthier, which is something he takes into consideration when cooking. Not drenching food in butter, oil, and sauces has helped keep Flay one of the fittest chefs around. "You can eat well and eat plenty, but make good choices," he says.


Bobby Flay's Party Plan

Flay's love of food comes through when he's talking about it or eating it, and most especially when he's cooking it &mdash that's what has made the 47-year-old New Yorker one of the best-known and best-loved chefs on TV. Since four of his 11 top-selling cookbooks are dedicated to the thrill of the grill, it's easy to guess this season is prime time for prepping simple yet absolutely spectacular meals for friends and family. And, good guy that he is, he's eager to share his best tips for summer entertaining with Good Housekeeping readers.

Each summer weekend, Flay leaves his bustling food empire in Manhattan behind and heads to the Hamptons, where he and his wife, actress Stephanie March (best known for her role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot), have built an environmentally friendly cedar-shingled retreat. An imposing mansion was never in their plans instead, it's a place where the living is easy. "Everyone who visits says, 'Wow, this is the most comfortable house I've ever been in,' " he reports with pride.

On these relaxed weekends, the celebrity chef becomes a typical husband and father. OK, maybe with one exception &mdash while most people would prefer not to work on their days off, Flay just can't stay out of the kitchen. "I know it's very unusual for someone to say that what he does for a profession is also what he does to relax," says Flay, "but I absolutely lovecooking."

So, after a morning workout to clear his head and stay fit (he has run three New York City marathons and is training for a triathlon with Today show anchor Natalie Morales), Flay heads straight for the kitchen. "My whole day is glued together by food," he says. If Texan-born March wakes up craving her favorite Southern breakfast, Flay gets to work making biscuits, gravy, and sausage. If Sophie, his 16-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, has a slumber party, he whips up a brunch buffet (pancakes, eggs and bacon &mdash the works) the next morning for the kids. All the while, he's thinking about soaking wood chips, firing up the grill, and deciding what's for lunch: grilled pizza, or maybe fish tacos?

But the action really starts when Flay makes plans for dinner. The Hamptons may be famous for glitzy celebrity parties, but Flay is happiest when the festivities are at his house and the dress code is swimsuits and sunblock, with him manning the grill.

Flay's Foolproof Party Plan

First and foremost, choose a theme, Flay advises. Though he could easily wing it when guests are heading his way, he likes to give his get-togethers a reason for being. "Creating a theme is really important," he says. "It gets people excited, and it gives me an idea of things to go with the main dishes, like sides, cocktails, and wines. So I don't just think, I'm going to do a chicken dish. I think, I want to make an Argentinean meal. With all of our great information access, I can research it."

Flay will start with the cornerstone of a particular cuisine &mdash in this case, chimichurri, Argentina's signature herb-based sauce. "What do they use the sauce on? Beef, pork, and sausage. And what kinds of side dishes do people in Argentina serve? Roasted potatoes and something called provoleta, which is grilled provolone cheese that could be an hors d'oeuvre, with some bread or chips to go with it. All of a sudden," says Flay, beaming at the thought of putting together a meal, "you start seeing the menu come together."

The recipes he shared with GH don't hail from South America. They are summer favorites rooted squarely in U.S. soil &mdash fried chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, and sliced watermelon &mdash all made with his trademark big, bold flavors and an ease of preparation that makes them party-perfect. When you make these, feel free to tell guests you're serving Bobby Flay's cookout classics.

With a theme in place, Flay's next move is to grab pencil and paper: "I'm a big 'list person.' I make one for shopping and one for prioritizing &mdash from what can be done ahead of time to what can be left for the end, right before the guests arrive." Specifically, that means running through the recipes and meal prep in advance and working backward from the moment the first guest is bound to ring the doorbell, so the step-by-steps are clear. Another smart idea: Flay tapes the priorities list to the cupboard so he can check it as he works and course-correct as needed.

As he does his prep work, Flay's Hamptons house is filled with the sounds of the hip-hop and R&B music he loves. (His wife insists on swapping in a softer soundtrack, like Coldplay, once guests are due to arrive.) Usually on his pre-party agenda: making sauces and rubs, and precooking corn on the cob until it's just cooked &mdash then he'll set it aside to be grilled later. He'll also whip up potato salad: "Actually, sometimes I make a couple of different kinds [see his blue cheese-vinaigrette version]. One might be a whole-grain-mustard-and-scallion potato salad. I'll also do a Southwestern-style kind that has a mayonnaise-based dressing and some chiles, cilantro, and lime juice. But the key to making any potato salad is that whatever you're going to dress it in, you have to have it ready so when the potatoes are done cooking, you can dress them while they're hot. That's the key to life in the potato-salad world. Otherwise, if they're cold, they repel it &mdash it's almost like the potatoes are here, and the dressing is over there!"

Mixing drinks is another pre-guest-arrival activity Flay is adamant that a host shouldn't also play bartender at a get-together. "Make pitchers of drinks instead of individual cocktails," he advises, so guests can help themselves. "But don't add ice that will water the mix down," he says. Instead, put out a bucket of ice near the glassware just before your guests are due.

Sangria is a favorite at Flay's dinner parties. "I like making it with rosé," he says, "because it goes with almost any grilled food &mdash and besides, who doesn't love a pink drink?" (He uses red wine, though, for the Sangria Ice Pops.) Or, depending on the evening's theme, Flay will serve up his super-simple signature margaritas. "They're crisp and clean and taste exactly like the three ingredients I use," he says. "The recipe is two parts tequila, one part triple sec, and one part freshly squeezed lime juice &mdash that's it!"

All About Appetizers

Flay says you don't want to be in the kitchen baking or sautéing appetizers when you could be out chatting with your friends, so he's a big advocate of serving cold hors d'oeuvres. They can be made ahead of time, kept refrigerated, and put out the moment guests come over. Flay personally is mad about chilled seafood, such as oysters, clams, and boiled shrimp, with lots of different sauces &mdash but for those with simpler tastes (or more modest budgets), there are plenty of other options. "I'm a lover of Southwestern ingredients, so there's always some kind of avocado concoction, whether straight-up guacamole or some kind of relish," says Flay. "I made 'avocado-chickpea smash' for an Access Hollywood cooking segment with Katharine McPhee, from the TV show Smash. That guacamole-hummus mix is going to be served in my house all the time now."

His wife often requests queso, which Flay describes as a cheese sauce. He says March grew up on a Velveeta-and-Ro-Tel (canned cooked chile peppers and tomatoes) mixture, but he makes it his way: "I just can't do it her way. So I take chiles and onions, and I roast and cook them, adding some garlic. Then I do my own cheese sauce, and I make queso out of it. That's really good to have with tortilla chips and pita chips."

The Main Event, Made Easy

For the entrée, Flay will aim for dishes he describes as "bold, risky, and impactful."

Built into these delicious dishes is one of Flay's ultimate time-savers and stress-reducers: making the meal a buffet. "I'm big on platters and serving everything family-style," he says. "Otherwise, it's like an assembly line, and not everyone's tastes are the same. With platters, guests can take what they want." Flay's recipes for skirt steak and fried chicken are perfect examples of this simple-to-serve party fare. Another option, says Flay, is to think of big cuts of meat that can be carved, such as leg of lamb, the cooking of which is so much easier than tending to individual chops. Or, try a tenderloin &mdash you can save the smaller cuts of meat for date-night dinners.

There is actually one Flay dish that bridges the gap between dinner for two and dinner for 10. "Stephanie has this crazy recipe for filet mignon that works so well," he says. "It was the most requested recipe on that season of my show Boy Meets Grill." March marinates the filet and broils it under a high heat for about 10 minutes. Then she wraps it in foil and allows it to sit for 45 minutes. "It comes out spot-on perfect," Flay says with admiration. "Stephanie makes that for my birthday every year." And it will wow a crowd as well. (Interestingly, one of the couple's first date-night dinners cooked by Flay didn't turn out quite so auspiciously. The Iron Chef roasted a chicken, but &mdash distracted by March's charms &mdash he somehow allowed the bird to go up in flames.)

Cook Within Your Range

It's standard advice not to prepare new-to-you dishes for a party, but Flay puts his own spin on it: "Do make one dish that's slightly challenging, so you can improve, but cook within your range, so it's enjoyable."

So while the main course may involve a new recipe, side dishes can be kept simpler. Even Flay, who trained at New York City's famed French Culinary Institute, doesn't see the need to get too fancy for guests &mdash especially when he's working with summer produce at the peak of its flavor. His take on tomato salad is a perfect example. "I'll go shopping and buy whatever tomatoes are in season at that moment, like heirloom, beefsteak, or cherry tomatoes," he says. "I just put a whole bunch of them in a bowl tear up some fresh herbs and add vinegar, a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, some cracked black pepper, and some cheese, like blue, feta, or goat &mdash something crumbly and a little dry." Couldn't be easier, tastier, or healthier, which is something he takes into consideration when cooking. Not drenching food in butter, oil, and sauces has helped keep Flay one of the fittest chefs around. "You can eat well and eat plenty, but make good choices," he says.


Bobby Flay's Party Plan

Flay's love of food comes through when he's talking about it or eating it, and most especially when he's cooking it &mdash that's what has made the 47-year-old New Yorker one of the best-known and best-loved chefs on TV. Since four of his 11 top-selling cookbooks are dedicated to the thrill of the grill, it's easy to guess this season is prime time for prepping simple yet absolutely spectacular meals for friends and family. And, good guy that he is, he's eager to share his best tips for summer entertaining with Good Housekeeping readers.

Each summer weekend, Flay leaves his bustling food empire in Manhattan behind and heads to the Hamptons, where he and his wife, actress Stephanie March (best known for her role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot), have built an environmentally friendly cedar-shingled retreat. An imposing mansion was never in their plans instead, it's a place where the living is easy. "Everyone who visits says, 'Wow, this is the most comfortable house I've ever been in,' " he reports with pride.

On these relaxed weekends, the celebrity chef becomes a typical husband and father. OK, maybe with one exception &mdash while most people would prefer not to work on their days off, Flay just can't stay out of the kitchen. "I know it's very unusual for someone to say that what he does for a profession is also what he does to relax," says Flay, "but I absolutely lovecooking."

So, after a morning workout to clear his head and stay fit (he has run three New York City marathons and is training for a triathlon with Today show anchor Natalie Morales), Flay heads straight for the kitchen. "My whole day is glued together by food," he says. If Texan-born March wakes up craving her favorite Southern breakfast, Flay gets to work making biscuits, gravy, and sausage. If Sophie, his 16-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, has a slumber party, he whips up a brunch buffet (pancakes, eggs and bacon &mdash the works) the next morning for the kids. All the while, he's thinking about soaking wood chips, firing up the grill, and deciding what's for lunch: grilled pizza, or maybe fish tacos?

But the action really starts when Flay makes plans for dinner. The Hamptons may be famous for glitzy celebrity parties, but Flay is happiest when the festivities are at his house and the dress code is swimsuits and sunblock, with him manning the grill.

Flay's Foolproof Party Plan

First and foremost, choose a theme, Flay advises. Though he could easily wing it when guests are heading his way, he likes to give his get-togethers a reason for being. "Creating a theme is really important," he says. "It gets people excited, and it gives me an idea of things to go with the main dishes, like sides, cocktails, and wines. So I don't just think, I'm going to do a chicken dish. I think, I want to make an Argentinean meal. With all of our great information access, I can research it."

Flay will start with the cornerstone of a particular cuisine &mdash in this case, chimichurri, Argentina's signature herb-based sauce. "What do they use the sauce on? Beef, pork, and sausage. And what kinds of side dishes do people in Argentina serve? Roasted potatoes and something called provoleta, which is grilled provolone cheese that could be an hors d'oeuvre, with some bread or chips to go with it. All of a sudden," says Flay, beaming at the thought of putting together a meal, "you start seeing the menu come together."

The recipes he shared with GH don't hail from South America. They are summer favorites rooted squarely in U.S. soil &mdash fried chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, and sliced watermelon &mdash all made with his trademark big, bold flavors and an ease of preparation that makes them party-perfect. When you make these, feel free to tell guests you're serving Bobby Flay's cookout classics.

With a theme in place, Flay's next move is to grab pencil and paper: "I'm a big 'list person.' I make one for shopping and one for prioritizing &mdash from what can be done ahead of time to what can be left for the end, right before the guests arrive." Specifically, that means running through the recipes and meal prep in advance and working backward from the moment the first guest is bound to ring the doorbell, so the step-by-steps are clear. Another smart idea: Flay tapes the priorities list to the cupboard so he can check it as he works and course-correct as needed.

As he does his prep work, Flay's Hamptons house is filled with the sounds of the hip-hop and R&B music he loves. (His wife insists on swapping in a softer soundtrack, like Coldplay, once guests are due to arrive.) Usually on his pre-party agenda: making sauces and rubs, and precooking corn on the cob until it's just cooked &mdash then he'll set it aside to be grilled later. He'll also whip up potato salad: "Actually, sometimes I make a couple of different kinds [see his blue cheese-vinaigrette version]. One might be a whole-grain-mustard-and-scallion potato salad. I'll also do a Southwestern-style kind that has a mayonnaise-based dressing and some chiles, cilantro, and lime juice. But the key to making any potato salad is that whatever you're going to dress it in, you have to have it ready so when the potatoes are done cooking, you can dress them while they're hot. That's the key to life in the potato-salad world. Otherwise, if they're cold, they repel it &mdash it's almost like the potatoes are here, and the dressing is over there!"

Mixing drinks is another pre-guest-arrival activity Flay is adamant that a host shouldn't also play bartender at a get-together. "Make pitchers of drinks instead of individual cocktails," he advises, so guests can help themselves. "But don't add ice that will water the mix down," he says. Instead, put out a bucket of ice near the glassware just before your guests are due.

Sangria is a favorite at Flay's dinner parties. "I like making it with rosé," he says, "because it goes with almost any grilled food &mdash and besides, who doesn't love a pink drink?" (He uses red wine, though, for the Sangria Ice Pops.) Or, depending on the evening's theme, Flay will serve up his super-simple signature margaritas. "They're crisp and clean and taste exactly like the three ingredients I use," he says. "The recipe is two parts tequila, one part triple sec, and one part freshly squeezed lime juice &mdash that's it!"

All About Appetizers

Flay says you don't want to be in the kitchen baking or sautéing appetizers when you could be out chatting with your friends, so he's a big advocate of serving cold hors d'oeuvres. They can be made ahead of time, kept refrigerated, and put out the moment guests come over. Flay personally is mad about chilled seafood, such as oysters, clams, and boiled shrimp, with lots of different sauces &mdash but for those with simpler tastes (or more modest budgets), there are plenty of other options. "I'm a lover of Southwestern ingredients, so there's always some kind of avocado concoction, whether straight-up guacamole or some kind of relish," says Flay. "I made 'avocado-chickpea smash' for an Access Hollywood cooking segment with Katharine McPhee, from the TV show Smash. That guacamole-hummus mix is going to be served in my house all the time now."

His wife often requests queso, which Flay describes as a cheese sauce. He says March grew up on a Velveeta-and-Ro-Tel (canned cooked chile peppers and tomatoes) mixture, but he makes it his way: "I just can't do it her way. So I take chiles and onions, and I roast and cook them, adding some garlic. Then I do my own cheese sauce, and I make queso out of it. That's really good to have with tortilla chips and pita chips."

The Main Event, Made Easy

For the entrée, Flay will aim for dishes he describes as "bold, risky, and impactful."

Built into these delicious dishes is one of Flay's ultimate time-savers and stress-reducers: making the meal a buffet. "I'm big on platters and serving everything family-style," he says. "Otherwise, it's like an assembly line, and not everyone's tastes are the same. With platters, guests can take what they want." Flay's recipes for skirt steak and fried chicken are perfect examples of this simple-to-serve party fare. Another option, says Flay, is to think of big cuts of meat that can be carved, such as leg of lamb, the cooking of which is so much easier than tending to individual chops. Or, try a tenderloin &mdash you can save the smaller cuts of meat for date-night dinners.

There is actually one Flay dish that bridges the gap between dinner for two and dinner for 10. "Stephanie has this crazy recipe for filet mignon that works so well," he says. "It was the most requested recipe on that season of my show Boy Meets Grill." March marinates the filet and broils it under a high heat for about 10 minutes. Then she wraps it in foil and allows it to sit for 45 minutes. "It comes out spot-on perfect," Flay says with admiration. "Stephanie makes that for my birthday every year." And it will wow a crowd as well. (Interestingly, one of the couple's first date-night dinners cooked by Flay didn't turn out quite so auspiciously. The Iron Chef roasted a chicken, but &mdash distracted by March's charms &mdash he somehow allowed the bird to go up in flames.)

Cook Within Your Range

It's standard advice not to prepare new-to-you dishes for a party, but Flay puts his own spin on it: "Do make one dish that's slightly challenging, so you can improve, but cook within your range, so it's enjoyable."

So while the main course may involve a new recipe, side dishes can be kept simpler. Even Flay, who trained at New York City's famed French Culinary Institute, doesn't see the need to get too fancy for guests &mdash especially when he's working with summer produce at the peak of its flavor. His take on tomato salad is a perfect example. "I'll go shopping and buy whatever tomatoes are in season at that moment, like heirloom, beefsteak, or cherry tomatoes," he says. "I just put a whole bunch of them in a bowl tear up some fresh herbs and add vinegar, a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, some cracked black pepper, and some cheese, like blue, feta, or goat &mdash something crumbly and a little dry." Couldn't be easier, tastier, or healthier, which is something he takes into consideration when cooking. Not drenching food in butter, oil, and sauces has helped keep Flay one of the fittest chefs around. "You can eat well and eat plenty, but make good choices," he says.


Bobby Flay's Party Plan

Flay's love of food comes through when he's talking about it or eating it, and most especially when he's cooking it &mdash that's what has made the 47-year-old New Yorker one of the best-known and best-loved chefs on TV. Since four of his 11 top-selling cookbooks are dedicated to the thrill of the grill, it's easy to guess this season is prime time for prepping simple yet absolutely spectacular meals for friends and family. And, good guy that he is, he's eager to share his best tips for summer entertaining with Good Housekeeping readers.

Each summer weekend, Flay leaves his bustling food empire in Manhattan behind and heads to the Hamptons, where he and his wife, actress Stephanie March (best known for her role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot), have built an environmentally friendly cedar-shingled retreat. An imposing mansion was never in their plans instead, it's a place where the living is easy. "Everyone who visits says, 'Wow, this is the most comfortable house I've ever been in,' " he reports with pride.

On these relaxed weekends, the celebrity chef becomes a typical husband and father. OK, maybe with one exception &mdash while most people would prefer not to work on their days off, Flay just can't stay out of the kitchen. "I know it's very unusual for someone to say that what he does for a profession is also what he does to relax," says Flay, "but I absolutely lovecooking."

So, after a morning workout to clear his head and stay fit (he has run three New York City marathons and is training for a triathlon with Today show anchor Natalie Morales), Flay heads straight for the kitchen. "My whole day is glued together by food," he says. If Texan-born March wakes up craving her favorite Southern breakfast, Flay gets to work making biscuits, gravy, and sausage. If Sophie, his 16-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, has a slumber party, he whips up a brunch buffet (pancakes, eggs and bacon &mdash the works) the next morning for the kids. All the while, he's thinking about soaking wood chips, firing up the grill, and deciding what's for lunch: grilled pizza, or maybe fish tacos?

But the action really starts when Flay makes plans for dinner. The Hamptons may be famous for glitzy celebrity parties, but Flay is happiest when the festivities are at his house and the dress code is swimsuits and sunblock, with him manning the grill.

Flay's Foolproof Party Plan

First and foremost, choose a theme, Flay advises. Though he could easily wing it when guests are heading his way, he likes to give his get-togethers a reason for being. "Creating a theme is really important," he says. "It gets people excited, and it gives me an idea of things to go with the main dishes, like sides, cocktails, and wines. So I don't just think, I'm going to do a chicken dish. I think, I want to make an Argentinean meal. With all of our great information access, I can research it."

Flay will start with the cornerstone of a particular cuisine &mdash in this case, chimichurri, Argentina's signature herb-based sauce. "What do they use the sauce on? Beef, pork, and sausage. And what kinds of side dishes do people in Argentina serve? Roasted potatoes and something called provoleta, which is grilled provolone cheese that could be an hors d'oeuvre, with some bread or chips to go with it. All of a sudden," says Flay, beaming at the thought of putting together a meal, "you start seeing the menu come together."

The recipes he shared with GH don't hail from South America. They are summer favorites rooted squarely in U.S. soil &mdash fried chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, and sliced watermelon &mdash all made with his trademark big, bold flavors and an ease of preparation that makes them party-perfect. When you make these, feel free to tell guests you're serving Bobby Flay's cookout classics.

With a theme in place, Flay's next move is to grab pencil and paper: "I'm a big 'list person.' I make one for shopping and one for prioritizing &mdash from what can be done ahead of time to what can be left for the end, right before the guests arrive." Specifically, that means running through the recipes and meal prep in advance and working backward from the moment the first guest is bound to ring the doorbell, so the step-by-steps are clear. Another smart idea: Flay tapes the priorities list to the cupboard so he can check it as he works and course-correct as needed.

As he does his prep work, Flay's Hamptons house is filled with the sounds of the hip-hop and R&B music he loves. (His wife insists on swapping in a softer soundtrack, like Coldplay, once guests are due to arrive.) Usually on his pre-party agenda: making sauces and rubs, and precooking corn on the cob until it's just cooked &mdash then he'll set it aside to be grilled later. He'll also whip up potato salad: "Actually, sometimes I make a couple of different kinds [see his blue cheese-vinaigrette version]. One might be a whole-grain-mustard-and-scallion potato salad. I'll also do a Southwestern-style kind that has a mayonnaise-based dressing and some chiles, cilantro, and lime juice. But the key to making any potato salad is that whatever you're going to dress it in, you have to have it ready so when the potatoes are done cooking, you can dress them while they're hot. That's the key to life in the potato-salad world. Otherwise, if they're cold, they repel it &mdash it's almost like the potatoes are here, and the dressing is over there!"

Mixing drinks is another pre-guest-arrival activity Flay is adamant that a host shouldn't also play bartender at a get-together. "Make pitchers of drinks instead of individual cocktails," he advises, so guests can help themselves. "But don't add ice that will water the mix down," he says. Instead, put out a bucket of ice near the glassware just before your guests are due.

Sangria is a favorite at Flay's dinner parties. "I like making it with rosé," he says, "because it goes with almost any grilled food &mdash and besides, who doesn't love a pink drink?" (He uses red wine, though, for the Sangria Ice Pops.) Or, depending on the evening's theme, Flay will serve up his super-simple signature margaritas. "They're crisp and clean and taste exactly like the three ingredients I use," he says. "The recipe is two parts tequila, one part triple sec, and one part freshly squeezed lime juice &mdash that's it!"

All About Appetizers

Flay says you don't want to be in the kitchen baking or sautéing appetizers when you could be out chatting with your friends, so he's a big advocate of serving cold hors d'oeuvres. They can be made ahead of time, kept refrigerated, and put out the moment guests come over. Flay personally is mad about chilled seafood, such as oysters, clams, and boiled shrimp, with lots of different sauces &mdash but for those with simpler tastes (or more modest budgets), there are plenty of other options. "I'm a lover of Southwestern ingredients, so there's always some kind of avocado concoction, whether straight-up guacamole or some kind of relish," says Flay. "I made 'avocado-chickpea smash' for an Access Hollywood cooking segment with Katharine McPhee, from the TV show Smash. That guacamole-hummus mix is going to be served in my house all the time now."

His wife often requests queso, which Flay describes as a cheese sauce. He says March grew up on a Velveeta-and-Ro-Tel (canned cooked chile peppers and tomatoes) mixture, but he makes it his way: "I just can't do it her way. So I take chiles and onions, and I roast and cook them, adding some garlic. Then I do my own cheese sauce, and I make queso out of it. That's really good to have with tortilla chips and pita chips."

The Main Event, Made Easy

For the entrée, Flay will aim for dishes he describes as "bold, risky, and impactful."

Built into these delicious dishes is one of Flay's ultimate time-savers and stress-reducers: making the meal a buffet. "I'm big on platters and serving everything family-style," he says. "Otherwise, it's like an assembly line, and not everyone's tastes are the same. With platters, guests can take what they want." Flay's recipes for skirt steak and fried chicken are perfect examples of this simple-to-serve party fare. Another option, says Flay, is to think of big cuts of meat that can be carved, such as leg of lamb, the cooking of which is so much easier than tending to individual chops. Or, try a tenderloin &mdash you can save the smaller cuts of meat for date-night dinners.

There is actually one Flay dish that bridges the gap between dinner for two and dinner for 10. "Stephanie has this crazy recipe for filet mignon that works so well," he says. "It was the most requested recipe on that season of my show Boy Meets Grill." March marinates the filet and broils it under a high heat for about 10 minutes. Then she wraps it in foil and allows it to sit for 45 minutes. "It comes out spot-on perfect," Flay says with admiration. "Stephanie makes that for my birthday every year." And it will wow a crowd as well. (Interestingly, one of the couple's first date-night dinners cooked by Flay didn't turn out quite so auspiciously. The Iron Chef roasted a chicken, but &mdash distracted by March's charms &mdash he somehow allowed the bird to go up in flames.)

Cook Within Your Range

It's standard advice not to prepare new-to-you dishes for a party, but Flay puts his own spin on it: "Do make one dish that's slightly challenging, so you can improve, but cook within your range, so it's enjoyable."

So while the main course may involve a new recipe, side dishes can be kept simpler. Even Flay, who trained at New York City's famed French Culinary Institute, doesn't see the need to get too fancy for guests &mdash especially when he's working with summer produce at the peak of its flavor. His take on tomato salad is a perfect example. "I'll go shopping and buy whatever tomatoes are in season at that moment, like heirloom, beefsteak, or cherry tomatoes," he says. "I just put a whole bunch of them in a bowl tear up some fresh herbs and add vinegar, a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, some cracked black pepper, and some cheese, like blue, feta, or goat &mdash something crumbly and a little dry." Couldn't be easier, tastier, or healthier, which is something he takes into consideration when cooking. Not drenching food in butter, oil, and sauces has helped keep Flay one of the fittest chefs around. "You can eat well and eat plenty, but make good choices," he says.


Bobby Flay's Party Plan

Flay's love of food comes through when he's talking about it or eating it, and most especially when he's cooking it &mdash that's what has made the 47-year-old New Yorker one of the best-known and best-loved chefs on TV. Since four of his 11 top-selling cookbooks are dedicated to the thrill of the grill, it's easy to guess this season is prime time for prepping simple yet absolutely spectacular meals for friends and family. And, good guy that he is, he's eager to share his best tips for summer entertaining with Good Housekeeping readers.

Each summer weekend, Flay leaves his bustling food empire in Manhattan behind and heads to the Hamptons, where he and his wife, actress Stephanie March (best known for her role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot), have built an environmentally friendly cedar-shingled retreat. An imposing mansion was never in their plans instead, it's a place where the living is easy. "Everyone who visits says, 'Wow, this is the most comfortable house I've ever been in,' " he reports with pride.

On these relaxed weekends, the celebrity chef becomes a typical husband and father. OK, maybe with one exception &mdash while most people would prefer not to work on their days off, Flay just can't stay out of the kitchen. "I know it's very unusual for someone to say that what he does for a profession is also what he does to relax," says Flay, "but I absolutely lovecooking."

So, after a morning workout to clear his head and stay fit (he has run three New York City marathons and is training for a triathlon with Today show anchor Natalie Morales), Flay heads straight for the kitchen. "My whole day is glued together by food," he says. If Texan-born March wakes up craving her favorite Southern breakfast, Flay gets to work making biscuits, gravy, and sausage. If Sophie, his 16-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, has a slumber party, he whips up a brunch buffet (pancakes, eggs and bacon &mdash the works) the next morning for the kids. All the while, he's thinking about soaking wood chips, firing up the grill, and deciding what's for lunch: grilled pizza, or maybe fish tacos?

But the action really starts when Flay makes plans for dinner. The Hamptons may be famous for glitzy celebrity parties, but Flay is happiest when the festivities are at his house and the dress code is swimsuits and sunblock, with him manning the grill.

Flay's Foolproof Party Plan

First and foremost, choose a theme, Flay advises. Though he could easily wing it when guests are heading his way, he likes to give his get-togethers a reason for being. "Creating a theme is really important," he says. "It gets people excited, and it gives me an idea of things to go with the main dishes, like sides, cocktails, and wines. So I don't just think, I'm going to do a chicken dish. I think, I want to make an Argentinean meal. With all of our great information access, I can research it."

Flay will start with the cornerstone of a particular cuisine &mdash in this case, chimichurri, Argentina's signature herb-based sauce. "What do they use the sauce on? Beef, pork, and sausage. And what kinds of side dishes do people in Argentina serve? Roasted potatoes and something called provoleta, which is grilled provolone cheese that could be an hors d'oeuvre, with some bread or chips to go with it. All of a sudden," says Flay, beaming at the thought of putting together a meal, "you start seeing the menu come together."

The recipes he shared with GH don't hail from South America. They are summer favorites rooted squarely in U.S. soil &mdash fried chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, and sliced watermelon &mdash all made with his trademark big, bold flavors and an ease of preparation that makes them party-perfect. When you make these, feel free to tell guests you're serving Bobby Flay's cookout classics.

With a theme in place, Flay's next move is to grab pencil and paper: "I'm a big 'list person.' I make one for shopping and one for prioritizing &mdash from what can be done ahead of time to what can be left for the end, right before the guests arrive." Specifically, that means running through the recipes and meal prep in advance and working backward from the moment the first guest is bound to ring the doorbell, so the step-by-steps are clear. Another smart idea: Flay tapes the priorities list to the cupboard so he can check it as he works and course-correct as needed.

As he does his prep work, Flay's Hamptons house is filled with the sounds of the hip-hop and R&B music he loves. (His wife insists on swapping in a softer soundtrack, like Coldplay, once guests are due to arrive.) Usually on his pre-party agenda: making sauces and rubs, and precooking corn on the cob until it's just cooked &mdash then he'll set it aside to be grilled later. He'll also whip up potato salad: "Actually, sometimes I make a couple of different kinds [see his blue cheese-vinaigrette version]. One might be a whole-grain-mustard-and-scallion potato salad. I'll also do a Southwestern-style kind that has a mayonnaise-based dressing and some chiles, cilantro, and lime juice. But the key to making any potato salad is that whatever you're going to dress it in, you have to have it ready so when the potatoes are done cooking, you can dress them while they're hot. That's the key to life in the potato-salad world. Otherwise, if they're cold, they repel it &mdash it's almost like the potatoes are here, and the dressing is over there!"

Mixing drinks is another pre-guest-arrival activity Flay is adamant that a host shouldn't also play bartender at a get-together. "Make pitchers of drinks instead of individual cocktails," he advises, so guests can help themselves. "But don't add ice that will water the mix down," he says. Instead, put out a bucket of ice near the glassware just before your guests are due.

Sangria is a favorite at Flay's dinner parties. "I like making it with rosé," he says, "because it goes with almost any grilled food &mdash and besides, who doesn't love a pink drink?" (He uses red wine, though, for the Sangria Ice Pops.) Or, depending on the evening's theme, Flay will serve up his super-simple signature margaritas. "They're crisp and clean and taste exactly like the three ingredients I use," he says. "The recipe is two parts tequila, one part triple sec, and one part freshly squeezed lime juice &mdash that's it!"

All About Appetizers

Flay says you don't want to be in the kitchen baking or sautéing appetizers when you could be out chatting with your friends, so he's a big advocate of serving cold hors d'oeuvres. They can be made ahead of time, kept refrigerated, and put out the moment guests come over. Flay personally is mad about chilled seafood, such as oysters, clams, and boiled shrimp, with lots of different sauces &mdash but for those with simpler tastes (or more modest budgets), there are plenty of other options. "I'm a lover of Southwestern ingredients, so there's always some kind of avocado concoction, whether straight-up guacamole or some kind of relish," says Flay. "I made 'avocado-chickpea smash' for an Access Hollywood cooking segment with Katharine McPhee, from the TV show Smash. That guacamole-hummus mix is going to be served in my house all the time now."

His wife often requests queso, which Flay describes as a cheese sauce. He says March grew up on a Velveeta-and-Ro-Tel (canned cooked chile peppers and tomatoes) mixture, but he makes it his way: "I just can't do it her way. So I take chiles and onions, and I roast and cook them, adding some garlic. Then I do my own cheese sauce, and I make queso out of it. That's really good to have with tortilla chips and pita chips."

The Main Event, Made Easy

For the entrée, Flay will aim for dishes he describes as "bold, risky, and impactful."

Built into these delicious dishes is one of Flay's ultimate time-savers and stress-reducers: making the meal a buffet. "I'm big on platters and serving everything family-style," he says. "Otherwise, it's like an assembly line, and not everyone's tastes are the same. With platters, guests can take what they want." Flay's recipes for skirt steak and fried chicken are perfect examples of this simple-to-serve party fare. Another option, says Flay, is to think of big cuts of meat that can be carved, such as leg of lamb, the cooking of which is so much easier than tending to individual chops. Or, try a tenderloin &mdash you can save the smaller cuts of meat for date-night dinners.

There is actually one Flay dish that bridges the gap between dinner for two and dinner for 10. "Stephanie has this crazy recipe for filet mignon that works so well," he says. "It was the most requested recipe on that season of my show Boy Meets Grill." March marinates the filet and broils it under a high heat for about 10 minutes. Then she wraps it in foil and allows it to sit for 45 minutes. "It comes out spot-on perfect," Flay says with admiration. "Stephanie makes that for my birthday every year." And it will wow a crowd as well. (Interestingly, one of the couple's first date-night dinners cooked by Flay didn't turn out quite so auspiciously. The Iron Chef roasted a chicken, but &mdash distracted by March's charms &mdash he somehow allowed the bird to go up in flames.)

Cook Within Your Range

It's standard advice not to prepare new-to-you dishes for a party, but Flay puts his own spin on it: "Do make one dish that's slightly challenging, so you can improve, but cook within your range, so it's enjoyable."

So while the main course may involve a new recipe, side dishes can be kept simpler. Even Flay, who trained at New York City's famed French Culinary Institute, doesn't see the need to get too fancy for guests &mdash especially when he's working with summer produce at the peak of its flavor. His take on tomato salad is a perfect example. "I'll go shopping and buy whatever tomatoes are in season at that moment, like heirloom, beefsteak, or cherry tomatoes," he says. "I just put a whole bunch of them in a bowl tear up some fresh herbs and add vinegar, a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, some cracked black pepper, and some cheese, like blue, feta, or goat &mdash something crumbly and a little dry." Couldn't be easier, tastier, or healthier, which is something he takes into consideration when cooking. Not drenching food in butter, oil, and sauces has helped keep Flay one of the fittest chefs around. "You can eat well and eat plenty, but make good choices," he says.


Bobby Flay's Party Plan

Flay's love of food comes through when he's talking about it or eating it, and most especially when he's cooking it &mdash that's what has made the 47-year-old New Yorker one of the best-known and best-loved chefs on TV. Since four of his 11 top-selling cookbooks are dedicated to the thrill of the grill, it's easy to guess this season is prime time for prepping simple yet absolutely spectacular meals for friends and family. And, good guy that he is, he's eager to share his best tips for summer entertaining with Good Housekeeping readers.

Each summer weekend, Flay leaves his bustling food empire in Manhattan behind and heads to the Hamptons, where he and his wife, actress Stephanie March (best known for her role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot), have built an environmentally friendly cedar-shingled retreat. An imposing mansion was never in their plans instead, it's a place where the living is easy. "Everyone who visits says, 'Wow, this is the most comfortable house I've ever been in,' " he reports with pride.

On these relaxed weekends, the celebrity chef becomes a typical husband and father. OK, maybe with one exception &mdash while most people would prefer not to work on their days off, Flay just can't stay out of the kitchen. "I know it's very unusual for someone to say that what he does for a profession is also what he does to relax," says Flay, "but I absolutely lovecooking."

So, after a morning workout to clear his head and stay fit (he has run three New York City marathons and is training for a triathlon with Today show anchor Natalie Morales), Flay heads straight for the kitchen. "My whole day is glued together by food," he says. If Texan-born March wakes up craving her favorite Southern breakfast, Flay gets to work making biscuits, gravy, and sausage. If Sophie, his 16-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, has a slumber party, he whips up a brunch buffet (pancakes, eggs and bacon &mdash the works) the next morning for the kids. All the while, he's thinking about soaking wood chips, firing up the grill, and deciding what's for lunch: grilled pizza, or maybe fish tacos?

But the action really starts when Flay makes plans for dinner. The Hamptons may be famous for glitzy celebrity parties, but Flay is happiest when the festivities are at his house and the dress code is swimsuits and sunblock, with him manning the grill.

Flay's Foolproof Party Plan

First and foremost, choose a theme, Flay advises. Though he could easily wing it when guests are heading his way, he likes to give his get-togethers a reason for being. "Creating a theme is really important," he says. "It gets people excited, and it gives me an idea of things to go with the main dishes, like sides, cocktails, and wines. So I don't just think, I'm going to do a chicken dish. I think, I want to make an Argentinean meal. With all of our great information access, I can research it."

Flay will start with the cornerstone of a particular cuisine &mdash in this case, chimichurri, Argentina's signature herb-based sauce. "What do they use the sauce on? Beef, pork, and sausage. And what kinds of side dishes do people in Argentina serve? Roasted potatoes and something called provoleta, which is grilled provolone cheese that could be an hors d'oeuvre, with some bread or chips to go with it. All of a sudden," says Flay, beaming at the thought of putting together a meal, "you start seeing the menu come together."

The recipes he shared with GH don't hail from South America. They are summer favorites rooted squarely in U.S. soil &mdash fried chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, and sliced watermelon &mdash all made with his trademark big, bold flavors and an ease of preparation that makes them party-perfect. When you make these, feel free to tell guests you're serving Bobby Flay's cookout classics.

With a theme in place, Flay's next move is to grab pencil and paper: "I'm a big 'list person.' I make one for shopping and one for prioritizing &mdash from what can be done ahead of time to what can be left for the end, right before the guests arrive." Specifically, that means running through the recipes and meal prep in advance and working backward from the moment the first guest is bound to ring the doorbell, so the step-by-steps are clear. Another smart idea: Flay tapes the priorities list to the cupboard so he can check it as he works and course-correct as needed.

As he does his prep work, Flay's Hamptons house is filled with the sounds of the hip-hop and R&B music he loves. (His wife insists on swapping in a softer soundtrack, like Coldplay, once guests are due to arrive.) Usually on his pre-party agenda: making sauces and rubs, and precooking corn on the cob until it's just cooked &mdash then he'll set it aside to be grilled later. He'll also whip up potato salad: "Actually, sometimes I make a couple of different kinds [see his blue cheese-vinaigrette version]. One might be a whole-grain-mustard-and-scallion potato salad. I'll also do a Southwestern-style kind that has a mayonnaise-based dressing and some chiles, cilantro, and lime juice. But the key to making any potato salad is that whatever you're going to dress it in, you have to have it ready so when the potatoes are done cooking, you can dress them while they're hot. That's the key to life in the potato-salad world. Otherwise, if they're cold, they repel it &mdash it's almost like the potatoes are here, and the dressing is over there!"

Mixing drinks is another pre-guest-arrival activity Flay is adamant that a host shouldn't also play bartender at a get-together. "Make pitchers of drinks instead of individual cocktails," he advises, so guests can help themselves. "But don't add ice that will water the mix down," he says. Instead, put out a bucket of ice near the glassware just before your guests are due.

Sangria is a favorite at Flay's dinner parties. "I like making it with rosé," he says, "because it goes with almost any grilled food &mdash and besides, who doesn't love a pink drink?" (He uses red wine, though, for the Sangria Ice Pops.) Or, depending on the evening's theme, Flay will serve up his super-simple signature margaritas. "They're crisp and clean and taste exactly like the three ingredients I use," he says. "The recipe is two parts tequila, one part triple sec, and one part freshly squeezed lime juice &mdash that's it!"

All About Appetizers

Flay says you don't want to be in the kitchen baking or sautéing appetizers when you could be out chatting with your friends, so he's a big advocate of serving cold hors d'oeuvres. They can be made ahead of time, kept refrigerated, and put out the moment guests come over. Flay personally is mad about chilled seafood, such as oysters, clams, and boiled shrimp, with lots of different sauces &mdash but for those with simpler tastes (or more modest budgets), there are plenty of other options. "I'm a lover of Southwestern ingredients, so there's always some kind of avocado concoction, whether straight-up guacamole or some kind of relish," says Flay. "I made 'avocado-chickpea smash' for an Access Hollywood cooking segment with Katharine McPhee, from the TV show Smash. That guacamole-hummus mix is going to be served in my house all the time now."

His wife often requests queso, which Flay describes as a cheese sauce. He says March grew up on a Velveeta-and-Ro-Tel (canned cooked chile peppers and tomatoes) mixture, but he makes it his way: "I just can't do it her way. So I take chiles and onions, and I roast and cook them, adding some garlic. Then I do my own cheese sauce, and I make queso out of it. That's really good to have with tortilla chips and pita chips."

The Main Event, Made Easy

For the entrée, Flay will aim for dishes he describes as "bold, risky, and impactful."

Built into these delicious dishes is one of Flay's ultimate time-savers and stress-reducers: making the meal a buffet. "I'm big on platters and serving everything family-style," he says. "Otherwise, it's like an assembly line, and not everyone's tastes are the same. With platters, guests can take what they want." Flay's recipes for skirt steak and fried chicken are perfect examples of this simple-to-serve party fare. Another option, says Flay, is to think of big cuts of meat that can be carved, such as leg of lamb, the cooking of which is so much easier than tending to individual chops. Or, try a tenderloin &mdash you can save the smaller cuts of meat for date-night dinners.

There is actually one Flay dish that bridges the gap between dinner for two and dinner for 10. "Stephanie has this crazy recipe for filet mignon that works so well," he says. "It was the most requested recipe on that season of my show Boy Meets Grill." March marinates the filet and broils it under a high heat for about 10 minutes. Then she wraps it in foil and allows it to sit for 45 minutes. "It comes out spot-on perfect," Flay says with admiration. "Stephanie makes that for my birthday every year." And it will wow a crowd as well. (Interestingly, one of the couple's first date-night dinners cooked by Flay didn't turn out quite so auspiciously. The Iron Chef roasted a chicken, but &mdash distracted by March's charms &mdash he somehow allowed the bird to go up in flames.)

Cook Within Your Range

It's standard advice not to prepare new-to-you dishes for a party, but Flay puts his own spin on it: "Do make one dish that's slightly challenging, so you can improve, but cook within your range, so it's enjoyable."

So while the main course may involve a new recipe, side dishes can be kept simpler. Even Flay, who trained at New York City's famed French Culinary Institute, doesn't see the need to get too fancy for guests &mdash especially when he's working with summer produce at the peak of its flavor. His take on tomato salad is a perfect example. "I'll go shopping and buy whatever tomatoes are in season at that moment, like heirloom, beefsteak, or cherry tomatoes," he says. "I just put a whole bunch of them in a bowl tear up some fresh herbs and add vinegar, a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, some cracked black pepper, and some cheese, like blue, feta, or goat &mdash something crumbly and a little dry." Couldn't be easier, tastier, or healthier, which is something he takes into consideration when cooking. Not drenching food in butter, oil, and sauces has helped keep Flay one of the fittest chefs around. "You can eat well and eat plenty, but make good choices," he says.


Bobby Flay's Party Plan

Flay's love of food comes through when he's talking about it or eating it, and most especially when he's cooking it &mdash that's what has made the 47-year-old New Yorker one of the best-known and best-loved chefs on TV. Since four of his 11 top-selling cookbooks are dedicated to the thrill of the grill, it's easy to guess this season is prime time for prepping simple yet absolutely spectacular meals for friends and family. And, good guy that he is, he's eager to share his best tips for summer entertaining with Good Housekeeping readers.

Each summer weekend, Flay leaves his bustling food empire in Manhattan behind and heads to the Hamptons, where he and his wife, actress Stephanie March (best known for her role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot), have built an environmentally friendly cedar-shingled retreat. An imposing mansion was never in their plans instead, it's a place where the living is easy. "Everyone who visits says, 'Wow, this is the most comfortable house I've ever been in,' " he reports with pride.

On these relaxed weekends, the celebrity chef becomes a typical husband and father. OK, maybe with one exception &mdash while most people would prefer not to work on their days off, Flay just can't stay out of the kitchen. "I know it's very unusual for someone to say that what he does for a profession is also what he does to relax," says Flay, "but I absolutely lovecooking."

So, after a morning workout to clear his head and stay fit (he has run three New York City marathons and is training for a triathlon with Today show anchor Natalie Morales), Flay heads straight for the kitchen. "My whole day is glued together by food," he says. If Texan-born March wakes up craving her favorite Southern breakfast, Flay gets to work making biscuits, gravy, and sausage. If Sophie, his 16-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, has a slumber party, he whips up a brunch buffet (pancakes, eggs and bacon &mdash the works) the next morning for the kids. All the while, he's thinking about soaking wood chips, firing up the grill, and deciding what's for lunch: grilled pizza, or maybe fish tacos?

But the action really starts when Flay makes plans for dinner. The Hamptons may be famous for glitzy celebrity parties, but Flay is happiest when the festivities are at his house and the dress code is swimsuits and sunblock, with him manning the grill.

Flay's Foolproof Party Plan

First and foremost, choose a theme, Flay advises. Though he could easily wing it when guests are heading his way, he likes to give his get-togethers a reason for being. "Creating a theme is really important," he says. "It gets people excited, and it gives me an idea of things to go with the main dishes, like sides, cocktails, and wines. So I don't just think, I'm going to do a chicken dish. I think, I want to make an Argentinean meal. With all of our great information access, I can research it."

Flay will start with the cornerstone of a particular cuisine &mdash in this case, chimichurri, Argentina's signature herb-based sauce. "What do they use the sauce on? Beef, pork, and sausage. And what kinds of side dishes do people in Argentina serve? Roasted potatoes and something called provoleta, which is grilled provolone cheese that could be an hors d'oeuvre, with some bread or chips to go with it. All of a sudden," says Flay, beaming at the thought of putting together a meal, "you start seeing the menu come together."

The recipes he shared with GH don't hail from South America. They are summer favorites rooted squarely in U.S. soil &mdash fried chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, and sliced watermelon &mdash all made with his trademark big, bold flavors and an ease of preparation that makes them party-perfect. When you make these, feel free to tell guests you're serving Bobby Flay's cookout classics.

With a theme in place, Flay's next move is to grab pencil and paper: "I'm a big 'list person.' I make one for shopping and one for prioritizing &mdash from what can be done ahead of time to what can be left for the end, right before the guests arrive." Specifically, that means running through the recipes and meal prep in advance and working backward from the moment the first guest is bound to ring the doorbell, so the step-by-steps are clear. Another smart idea: Flay tapes the priorities list to the cupboard so he can check it as he works and course-correct as needed.

As he does his prep work, Flay's Hamptons house is filled with the sounds of the hip-hop and R&B music he loves. (His wife insists on swapping in a softer soundtrack, like Coldplay, once guests are due to arrive.) Usually on his pre-party agenda: making sauces and rubs, and precooking corn on the cob until it's just cooked &mdash then he'll set it aside to be grilled later. He'll also whip up potato salad: "Actually, sometimes I make a couple of different kinds [see his blue cheese-vinaigrette version]. One might be a whole-grain-mustard-and-scallion potato salad. I'll also do a Southwestern-style kind that has a mayonnaise-based dressing and some chiles, cilantro, and lime juice. But the key to making any potato salad is that whatever you're going to dress it in, you have to have it ready so when the potatoes are done cooking, you can dress them while they're hot. That's the key to life in the potato-salad world. Otherwise, if they're cold, they repel it &mdash it's almost like the potatoes are here, and the dressing is over there!"

Mixing drinks is another pre-guest-arrival activity Flay is adamant that a host shouldn't also play bartender at a get-together. "Make pitchers of drinks instead of individual cocktails," he advises, so guests can help themselves. "But don't add ice that will water the mix down," he says. Instead, put out a bucket of ice near the glassware just before your guests are due.

Sangria is a favorite at Flay's dinner parties. "I like making it with rosé," he says, "because it goes with almost any grilled food &mdash and besides, who doesn't love a pink drink?" (He uses red wine, though, for the Sangria Ice Pops.) Or, depending on the evening's theme, Flay will serve up his super-simple signature margaritas. "They're crisp and clean and taste exactly like the three ingredients I use," he says. "The recipe is two parts tequila, one part triple sec, and one part freshly squeezed lime juice &mdash that's it!"

All About Appetizers

Flay says you don't want to be in the kitchen baking or sautéing appetizers when you could be out chatting with your friends, so he's a big advocate of serving cold hors d'oeuvres. They can be made ahead of time, kept refrigerated, and put out the moment guests come over. Flay personally is mad about chilled seafood, such as oysters, clams, and boiled shrimp, with lots of different sauces &mdash but for those with simpler tastes (or more modest budgets), there are plenty of other options. "I'm a lover of Southwestern ingredients, so there's always some kind of avocado concoction, whether straight-up guacamole or some kind of relish," says Flay. "I made 'avocado-chickpea smash' for an Access Hollywood cooking segment with Katharine McPhee, from the TV show Smash. That guacamole-hummus mix is going to be served in my house all the time now."

His wife often requests queso, which Flay describes as a cheese sauce. He says March grew up on a Velveeta-and-Ro-Tel (canned cooked chile peppers and tomatoes) mixture, but he makes it his way: "I just can't do it her way. So I take chiles and onions, and I roast and cook them, adding some garlic. Then I do my own cheese sauce, and I make queso out of it. That's really good to have with tortilla chips and pita chips."

The Main Event, Made Easy

For the entrée, Flay will aim for dishes he describes as "bold, risky, and impactful."

Built into these delicious dishes is one of Flay's ultimate time-savers and stress-reducers: making the meal a buffet. "I'm big on platters and serving everything family-style," he says. "Otherwise, it's like an assembly line, and not everyone's tastes are the same. With platters, guests can take what they want." Flay's recipes for skirt steak and fried chicken are perfect examples of this simple-to-serve party fare. Another option, says Flay, is to think of big cuts of meat that can be carved, such as leg of lamb, the cooking of which is so much easier than tending to individual chops. Or, try a tenderloin &mdash you can save the smaller cuts of meat for date-night dinners.

There is actually one Flay dish that bridges the gap between dinner for two and dinner for 10. "Stephanie has this crazy recipe for filet mignon that works so well," he says. "It was the most requested recipe on that season of my show Boy Meets Grill." March marinates the filet and broils it under a high heat for about 10 minutes. Then she wraps it in foil and allows it to sit for 45 minutes. "It comes out spot-on perfect," Flay says with admiration. "Stephanie makes that for my birthday every year." And it will wow a crowd as well. (Interestingly, one of the couple's first date-night dinners cooked by Flay didn't turn out quite so auspiciously. The Iron Chef roasted a chicken, but &mdash distracted by March's charms &mdash he somehow allowed the bird to go up in flames.)

Cook Within Your Range

It's standard advice not to prepare new-to-you dishes for a party, but Flay puts his own spin on it: "Do make one dish that's slightly challenging, so you can improve, but cook within your range, so it's enjoyable."

So while the main course may involve a new recipe, side dishes can be kept simpler. Even Flay, who trained at New York City's famed French Culinary Institute, doesn't see the need to get too fancy for guests &mdash especially when he's working with summer produce at the peak of its flavor. His take on tomato salad is a perfect example. "I'll go shopping and buy whatever tomatoes are in season at that moment, like heirloom, beefsteak, or cherry tomatoes," he says. "I just put a whole bunch of them in a bowl tear up some fresh herbs and add vinegar, a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, some cracked black pepper, and some cheese, like blue, feta, or goat &mdash something crumbly and a little dry." Couldn't be easier, tastier, or healthier, which is something he takes into consideration when cooking. Not drenching food in butter, oil, and sauces has helped keep Flay one of the fittest chefs around. "You can eat well and eat plenty, but make good choices," he says.


Bobby Flay's Party Plan

Flay's love of food comes through when he's talking about it or eating it, and most especially when he's cooking it &mdash that's what has made the 47-year-old New Yorker one of the best-known and best-loved chefs on TV. Since four of his 11 top-selling cookbooks are dedicated to the thrill of the grill, it's easy to guess this season is prime time for prepping simple yet absolutely spectacular meals for friends and family. And, good guy that he is, he's eager to share his best tips for summer entertaining with Good Housekeeping readers.

Each summer weekend, Flay leaves his bustling food empire in Manhattan behind and heads to the Hamptons, where he and his wife, actress Stephanie March (best known for her role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot), have built an environmentally friendly cedar-shingled retreat. An imposing mansion was never in their plans instead, it's a place where the living is easy. "Everyone who visits says, 'Wow, this is the most comfortable house I've ever been in,' " he reports with pride.

On these relaxed weekends, the celebrity chef becomes a typical husband and father. OK, maybe with one exception &mdash while most people would prefer not to work on their days off, Flay just can't stay out of the kitchen. "I know it's very unusual for someone to say that what he does for a profession is also what he does to relax," says Flay, "but I absolutely lovecooking."

So, after a morning workout to clear his head and stay fit (he has run three New York City marathons and is training for a triathlon with Today show anchor Natalie Morales), Flay heads straight for the kitchen. "My whole day is glued together by food," he says. If Texan-born March wakes up craving her favorite Southern breakfast, Flay gets to work making biscuits, gravy, and sausage. If Sophie, his 16-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, has a slumber party, he whips up a brunch buffet (pancakes, eggs and bacon &mdash the works) the next morning for the kids. All the while, he's thinking about soaking wood chips, firing up the grill, and deciding what's for lunch: grilled pizza, or maybe fish tacos?

But the action really starts when Flay makes plans for dinner. The Hamptons may be famous for glitzy celebrity parties, but Flay is happiest when the festivities are at his house and the dress code is swimsuits and sunblock, with him manning the grill.

Flay's Foolproof Party Plan

First and foremost, choose a theme, Flay advises. Though he could easily wing it when guests are heading his way, he likes to give his get-togethers a reason for being. "Creating a theme is really important," he says. "It gets people excited, and it gives me an idea of things to go with the main dishes, like sides, cocktails, and wines. So I don't just think, I'm going to do a chicken dish. I think, I want to make an Argentinean meal. With all of our great information access, I can research it."

Flay will start with the cornerstone of a particular cuisine &mdash in this case, chimichurri, Argentina's signature herb-based sauce. "What do they use the sauce on? Beef, pork, and sausage. And what kinds of side dishes do people in Argentina serve? Roasted potatoes and something called provoleta, which is grilled provolone cheese that could be an hors d'oeuvre, with some bread or chips to go with it. All of a sudden," says Flay, beaming at the thought of putting together a meal, "you start seeing the menu come together."

The recipes he shared with GH don't hail from South America. They are summer favorites rooted squarely in U.S. soil &mdash fried chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, and sliced watermelon &mdash all made with his trademark big, bold flavors and an ease of preparation that makes them party-perfect. When you make these, feel free to tell guests you're serving Bobby Flay's cookout classics.

With a theme in place, Flay's next move is to grab pencil and paper: "I'm a big 'list person.' I make one for shopping and one for prioritizing &mdash from what can be done ahead of time to what can be left for the end, right before the guests arrive." Specifically, that means running through the recipes and meal prep in advance and working backward from the moment the first guest is bound to ring the doorbell, so the step-by-steps are clear. Another smart idea: Flay tapes the priorities list to the cupboard so he can check it as he works and course-correct as needed.

As he does his prep work, Flay's Hamptons house is filled with the sounds of the hip-hop and R&B music he loves. (His wife insists on swapping in a softer soundtrack, like Coldplay, once guests are due to arrive.) Usually on his pre-party agenda: making sauces and rubs, and precooking corn on the cob until it's just cooked &mdash then he'll set it aside to be grilled later. He'll also whip up potato salad: "Actually, sometimes I make a couple of different kinds [see his blue cheese-vinaigrette version]. One might be a whole-grain-mustard-and-scallion potato salad. I'll also do a Southwestern-style kind that has a mayonnaise-based dressing and some chiles, cilantro, and lime juice. But the key to making any potato salad is that whatever you're going to dress it in, you have to have it ready so when the potatoes are done cooking, you can dress them while they're hot. That's the key to life in the potato-salad world. Otherwise, if they're cold, they repel it &mdash it's almost like the potatoes are here, and the dressing is over there!"

Mixing drinks is another pre-guest-arrival activity Flay is adamant that a host shouldn't also play bartender at a get-together. "Make pitchers of drinks instead of individual cocktails," he advises, so guests can help themselves. "But don't add ice that will water the mix down," he says. Instead, put out a bucket of ice near the glassware just before your guests are due.

Sangria is a favorite at Flay's dinner parties. "I like making it with rosé," he says, "because it goes with almost any grilled food &mdash and besides, who doesn't love a pink drink?" (He uses red wine, though, for the Sangria Ice Pops.) Or, depending on the evening's theme, Flay will serve up his super-simple signature margaritas. "They're crisp and clean and taste exactly like the three ingredients I use," he says. "The recipe is two parts tequila, one part triple sec, and one part freshly squeezed lime juice &mdash that's it!"

All About Appetizers

Flay says you don't want to be in the kitchen baking or sautéing appetizers when you could be out chatting with your friends, so he's a big advocate of serving cold hors d'oeuvres. They can be made ahead of time, kept refrigerated, and put out the moment guests come over. Flay personally is mad about chilled seafood, such as oysters, clams, and boiled shrimp, with lots of different sauces &mdash but for those with simpler tastes (or more modest budgets), there are plenty of other options. "I'm a lover of Southwestern ingredients, so there's always some kind of avocado concoction, whether straight-up guacamole or some kind of relish," says Flay. "I made 'avocado-chickpea smash' for an Access Hollywood cooking segment with Katharine McPhee, from the TV show Smash. That guacamole-hummus mix is going to be served in my house all the time now."

His wife often requests queso, which Flay describes as a cheese sauce. He says March grew up on a Velveeta-and-Ro-Tel (canned cooked chile peppers and tomatoes) mixture, but he makes it his way: "I just can't do it her way. So I take chiles and onions, and I roast and cook them, adding some garlic. Then I do my own cheese sauce, and I make queso out of it. That's really good to have with tortilla chips and pita chips."

The Main Event, Made Easy

For the entrée, Flay will aim for dishes he describes as "bold, risky, and impactful."

Built into these delicious dishes is one of Flay's ultimate time-savers and stress-reducers: making the meal a buffet. "I'm big on platters and serving everything family-style," he says. "Otherwise, it's like an assembly line, and not everyone's tastes are the same. With platters, guests can take what they want." Flay's recipes for skirt steak and fried chicken are perfect examples of this simple-to-serve party fare. Another option, says Flay, is to think of big cuts of meat that can be carved, such as leg of lamb, the cooking of which is so much easier than tending to individual chops. Or, try a tenderloin &mdash you can save the smaller cuts of meat for date-night dinners.

There is actually one Flay dish that bridges the gap between dinner for two and dinner for 10. "Stephanie has this crazy recipe for filet mignon that works so well," he says. "It was the most requested recipe on that season of my show Boy Meets Grill." March marinates the filet and broils it under a high heat for about 10 minutes. Then she wraps it in foil and allows it to sit for 45 minutes. "It comes out spot-on perfect," Flay says with admiration. "Stephanie makes that for my birthday every year." And it will wow a crowd as well. (Interestingly, one of the couple's first date-night dinners cooked by Flay didn't turn out quite so auspiciously. The Iron Chef roasted a chicken, but &mdash distracted by March's charms &mdash he somehow allowed the bird to go up in flames.)

Cook Within Your Range

It's standard advice not to prepare new-to-you dishes for a party, but Flay puts his own spin on it: "Do make one dish that's slightly challenging, so you can improve, but cook within your range, so it's enjoyable."

So while the main course may involve a new recipe, side dishes can be kept simpler. Even Flay, who trained at New York City's famed French Culinary Institute, doesn't see the need to get too fancy for guests &mdash especially when he's working with summer produce at the peak of its flavor. His take on tomato salad is a perfect example. "I'll go shopping and buy whatever tomatoes are in season at that moment, like heirloom, beefsteak, or cherry tomatoes," he says. "I just put a whole bunch of them in a bowl tear up some fresh herbs and add vinegar, a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, some cracked black pepper, and some cheese, like blue, feta, or goat &mdash something crumbly and a little dry." Couldn't be easier, tastier, or healthier, which is something he takes into consideration when cooking. Not drenching food in butter, oil, and sauces has helped keep Flay one of the fittest chefs around. "You can eat well and eat plenty, but make good choices," he says.


Bobby Flay's Party Plan

Flay's love of food comes through when he's talking about it or eating it, and most especially when he's cooking it &mdash that's what has made the 47-year-old New Yorker one of the best-known and best-loved chefs on TV. Since four of his 11 top-selling cookbooks are dedicated to the thrill of the grill, it's easy to guess this season is prime time for prepping simple yet absolutely spectacular meals for friends and family. And, good guy that he is, he's eager to share his best tips for summer entertaining with Good Housekeeping readers.

Each summer weekend, Flay leaves his bustling food empire in Manhattan behind and heads to the Hamptons, where he and his wife, actress Stephanie March (best known for her role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot), have built an environmentally friendly cedar-shingled retreat. An imposing mansion was never in their plans instead, it's a place where the living is easy. "Everyone who visits says, 'Wow, this is the most comfortable house I've ever been in,' " he reports with pride.

On these relaxed weekends, the celebrity chef becomes a typical husband and father. OK, maybe with one exception &mdash while most people would prefer not to work on their days off, Flay just can't stay out of the kitchen. "I know it's very unusual for someone to say that what he does for a profession is also what he does to relax," says Flay, "but I absolutely lovecooking."

So, after a morning workout to clear his head and stay fit (he has run three New York City marathons and is training for a triathlon with Today show anchor Natalie Morales), Flay heads straight for the kitchen. "My whole day is glued together by food," he says. If Texan-born March wakes up craving her favorite Southern breakfast, Flay gets to work making biscuits, gravy, and sausage. If Sophie, his 16-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, has a slumber party, he whips up a brunch buffet (pancakes, eggs and bacon &mdash the works) the next morning for the kids. All the while, he's thinking about soaking wood chips, firing up the grill, and deciding what's for lunch: grilled pizza, or maybe fish tacos?

But the action really starts when Flay makes plans for dinner. The Hamptons may be famous for glitzy celebrity parties, but Flay is happiest when the festivities are at his house and the dress code is swimsuits and sunblock, with him manning the grill.

Flay's Foolproof Party Plan

First and foremost, choose a theme, Flay advises. Though he could easily wing it when guests are heading his way, he likes to give his get-togethers a reason for being. "Creating a theme is really important," he says. "It gets people excited, and it gives me an idea of things to go with the main dishes, like sides, cocktails, and wines. So I don't just think, I'm going to do a chicken dish. I think, I want to make an Argentinean meal. With all of our great information access, I can research it."

Flay will start with the cornerstone of a particular cuisine &mdash in this case, chimichurri, Argentina's signature herb-based sauce. "What do they use the sauce on? Beef, pork, and sausage. And what kinds of side dishes do people in Argentina serve? Roasted potatoes and something called provoleta, which is grilled provolone cheese that could be an hors d'oeuvre, with some bread or chips to go with it. All of a sudden," says Flay, beaming at the thought of putting together a meal, "you start seeing the menu come together."

The recipes he shared with GH don't hail from South America. They are summer favorites rooted squarely in U.S. soil &mdash fried chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, and sliced watermelon &mdash all made with his trademark big, bold flavors and an ease of preparation that makes them party-perfect. When you make these, feel free to tell guests you're serving Bobby Flay's cookout classics.

With a theme in place, Flay's next move is to grab pencil and paper: "I'm a big 'list person.' I make one for shopping and one for prioritizing &mdash from what can be done ahead of time to what can be left for the end, right before the guests arrive." Specifically, that means running through the recipes and meal prep in advance and working backward from the moment the first guest is bound to ring the doorbell, so the step-by-steps are clear. Another smart idea: Flay tapes the priorities list to the cupboard so he can check it as he works and course-correct as needed.

As he does his prep work, Flay's Hamptons house is filled with the sounds of the hip-hop and R&B music he loves. (His wife insists on swapping in a softer soundtrack, like Coldplay, once guests are due to arrive.) Usually on his pre-party agenda: making sauces and rubs, and precooking corn on the cob until it's just cooked &mdash then he'll set it aside to be grilled later. He'll also whip up potato salad: "Actually, sometimes I make a couple of different kinds [see his blue cheese-vinaigrette version]. One might be a whole-grain-mustard-and-scallion potato salad. I'll also do a Southwestern-style kind that has a mayonnaise-based dressing and some chiles, cilantro, and lime juice. But the key to making any potato salad is that whatever you're going to dress it in, you have to have it ready so when the potatoes are done cooking, you can dress them while they're hot. That's the key to life in the potato-salad world. Otherwise, if they're cold, they repel it &mdash it's almost like the potatoes are here, and the dressing is over there!"

Mixing drinks is another pre-guest-arrival activity Flay is adamant that a host shouldn't also play bartender at a get-together. "Make pitchers of drinks instead of individual cocktails," he advises, so guests can help themselves. "But don't add ice that will water the mix down," he says. Instead, put out a bucket of ice near the glassware just before your guests are due.

Sangria is a favorite at Flay's dinner parties. "I like making it with rosé," he says, "because it goes with almost any grilled food &mdash and besides, who doesn't love a pink drink?" (He uses red wine, though, for the Sangria Ice Pops.) Or, depending on the evening's theme, Flay will serve up his super-simple signature margaritas. "They're crisp and clean and taste exactly like the three ingredients I use," he says. "The recipe is two parts tequila, one part triple sec, and one part freshly squeezed lime juice &mdash that's it!"

All About Appetizers

Flay says you don't want to be in the kitchen baking or sautéing appetizers when you could be out chatting with your friends, so he's a big advocate of serving cold hors d'oeuvres. They can be made ahead of time, kept refrigerated, and put out the moment guests come over. Flay personally is mad about chilled seafood, such as oysters, clams, and boiled shrimp, with lots of different sauces &mdash but for those with simpler tastes (or more modest budgets), there are plenty of other options. "I'm a lover of Southwestern ingredients, so there's always some kind of avocado concoction, whether straight-up guacamole or some kind of relish," says Flay. "I made 'avocado-chickpea smash' for an Access Hollywood cooking segment with Katharine McPhee, from the TV show Smash. That guacamole-hummus mix is going to be served in my house all the time now."

His wife often requests queso, which Flay describes as a cheese sauce. He says March grew up on a Velveeta-and-Ro-Tel (canned cooked chile peppers and tomatoes) mixture, but he makes it his way: "I just can't do it her way. So I take chiles and onions, and I roast and cook them, adding some garlic. Then I do my own cheese sauce, and I make queso out of it. That's really good to have with tortilla chips and pita chips."

The Main Event, Made Easy

For the entrée, Flay will aim for dishes he describes as "bold, risky, and impactful."

Built into these delicious dishes is one of Flay's ultimate time-savers and stress-reducers: making the meal a buffet. "I'm big on platters and serving everything family-style," he says. "Otherwise, it's like an assembly line, and not everyone's tastes are the same. With platters, guests can take what they want." Flay's recipes for skirt steak and fried chicken are perfect examples of this simple-to-serve party fare. Another option, says Flay, is to think of big cuts of meat that can be carved, such as leg of lamb, the cooking of which is so much easier than tending to individual chops. Or, try a tenderloin &mdash you can save the smaller cuts of meat for date-night dinners.

There is actually one Flay dish that bridges the gap between dinner for two and dinner for 10. "Stephanie has this crazy recipe for filet mignon that works so well," he says. "It was the most requested recipe on that season of my show Boy Meets Grill." March marinates the filet and broils it under a high heat for about 10 minutes. Then she wraps it in foil and allows it to sit for 45 minutes. "It comes out spot-on perfect," Flay says with admiration. "Stephanie makes that for my birthday every year." And it will wow a crowd as well. (Interestingly, one of the couple's first date-night dinners cooked by Flay didn't turn out quite so auspiciously. The Iron Chef roasted a chicken, but &mdash distracted by March's charms &mdash he somehow allowed the bird to go up in flames.)

Cook Within Your Range

It's standard advice not to prepare new-to-you dishes for a party, but Flay puts his own spin on it: "Do make one dish that's slightly challenging, so you can improve, but cook within your range, so it's enjoyable."

So while the main course may involve a new recipe, side dishes can be kept simpler. Even Flay, who trained at New York City's famed French Culinary Institute, doesn't see the need to get too fancy for guests &mdash especially when he's working with summer produce at the peak of its flavor. His take on tomato salad is a perfect example. "I'll go shopping and buy whatever tomatoes are in season at that moment, like heirloom, beefsteak, or cherry tomatoes," he says. "I just put a whole bunch of them in a bowl tear up some fresh herbs and add vinegar, a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, some cracked black pepper, and some cheese, like blue, feta, or goat &mdash something crumbly and a little dry." Couldn't be easier, tastier, or healthier, which is something he takes into consideration when cooking. Not drenching food in butter, oil, and sauces has helped keep Flay one of the fittest chefs around. "You can eat well and eat plenty, but make good choices," he says.


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