Recipes for End of Summer Entertaining

Even though summer is winding down there’s still plenty of time to do some summer entertaining! In the warmer months, it’s great to have guests stop by and visit over some snacks and drinks. You don’t want to spend all your time cooped up in the kitchen on a gorgeous summer day (especially when there are not many left), so here are a few recipes that are easy to whip up and will whet your guests’ appetites.

Homemade Hummus with Pretzel Crisps:

Hummus from the grocery store can be pretty good, but you are in for a tasty treat if you make up a homemade batch. This recipe makes about 4 cups so its perfect for a crowd or enjoy it over the course of a few days for yourself.


2 cans chickpeas, with 1 can drained and 1 can liquid reserved

1 and ½ tsp kosher salt

2 garlic cloves, minced or crushed

2/3 cup tahini (sesame paste – I usually find this in most stores near the peanut butter or in the international section)

Juice from 3 lemons

10 dashes hot sauce (such as Tabasco sauce)


Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until the hummus is pureed (make it as coarse or as smooth as you prefer.) Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.

Serve chilled or at room temperature. I like to drizzle some good-quality extra virgin olive oil and grind some black pepper on top right before serving. I really enjoy this hummus with Sesame Pretzel Crisps, but it would also go great with almost any of the Deli Style Pretzel Crisps, such as Original, Everything, and Garlic Parmesan.

hummus and sesame pretzel crisps

Pretzel Crisps Appetizer Tray:

I recently hosted a party and did not have a lot of time to pull together an elaborate appetizer tray. Ten minutes before the party was scheduled to begin, I ended up putting some Pretzel Crisps and cheese variations out on two large white trays. My sister made cute little signs for each Pretzel Crisp combination. Here are the pairings I tried:

  • Buffalo Wing Pretzel Crisps with Blue Cheese
  • Garlic Parmesan Pretzel Crisps with Tomato and Mozzarella
  • Everything Pretzel Crisps with Brie Cheese and sliced green grapes
  • Sesame Pretzel Crisps with Goat Cheese spread

I had the trays inside next to the cocktails and water so each guest could grab a few while they were grabbing a drink. I went outside for a few minutes to mingle with guests and when I came back in, every since Pretzel Crisp was gone! Luckily I had snapped a few photos of the trays before this, but there are already a few missing from each tray in these shots:

Basil Lemonade:

Two of my favorite things about summer are fresh basil and lemonade…this drink merges those flavors together. It calls for 8 cups lemonade- I used store-bought, but you certainly could use homemade lemonade. Regardless, it is the perfect beverage to sip outside on a hot summer day.  Fresh basil is abundant this time of year at farmer’s markets.


1 cup sugar

1 cup basil leaves, plus sprigs for garnish

8 cups lemonade (store bought or homemade)

1 and 1/2 cups cold water



To make the simple syrup, heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add sugar and water. Bring to a summer and cook (without stirring) until the sugar dissolves and the mixture slightly thickens. This should take about 5 minutes.

Remove simple syrup from heat and add 1 cup basil leaves. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Strain out the basil and store the simple syrup in a container.

Pour 2 to 3 teaspoons of the basil simple syrup into 8 glasses filled with ice, and add a cup of lemonade to each. Garnish with an additional sprig of basil.

Alternatively, you can store the basil simple syrup in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. The simple syrup would also be refreshing with ice tea, sparkling water, vodka or gin-based cocktails, or even over lemon sorbet. You could also swap out the basil for rosemary, lemon balm, or mint to make other herb-based simple syrups.

Source: Adapted from Real Simple

What are some of your favorite recipes to make for guests in the late summer?





About 2 Sisters 2 Cities

We are two sisters, K and M, living in two different cities with two different lifestyles.  We created this blog to share our day-to-day adventures in New York and Boston.  2 Sisters 2 Cities was first started in December 2009.  On our blog, we love to share recipes, projects, party ideas, and stories about our lives.

K works in New York City and lives outside the city in New Jersey with her boyfriend.  She works in retail planning and loves to cook healthy meals that are easy to put together on work nights (and baking some not too healthy things on the weekend.)  Besides baking and cooking, K enjoys shopping, reading, and spending time with her family.

M recently moved from South Boston and now lives in a town on the South Shore of Boston with her husband and 1-year-old son. A former finance professional turned stay-at-home mom, she loves to experiment with new dishes and kid-friendly meals. M’s hobbies include blogging, cooking, volunteering, reading, eating out, traveling, skiing, crafting, and letterpress.  Follow her on twitter @Meaghz and on Pinterest.

2 Sisters 2 Cities can also be found on Facebook and RSS.