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Plan your party! Sauces, salads and sides

Sometimes when planning a party, it can be hard to decide what to serve your guests. Here we share three super-easy and super-delicious recipes to make the party planning simple.

It’s a party at The Chew– and it’s all about the sauce! Chef Carla Hall and Chef Mario Batali are cooking up some tasty recipes to help you kick your party up a knotch!

Watch the video above to see this amazing duo team up and conquer the art of grilling. Carla’s favorite BBQ sauce is light on the sweet and heavy on the tangy. They key is to cook the chicken all the way through first and then add the sauce while it’s still on the grill for the sugar to caramelize.

Mario strays away from those overdone mayo based salads this summer. Tune in to get the step-by-step for his warm potato salad that is anything but average. Mario’s suggestion – choose one herb and celebrate it! Don’t muddle the recipe with a ton of different flavors.

The Chew has truly revolutionized the art of backyard grilling this summer. Take Carla and Mario’s tips to mind as you scroll through our BBQ creations and cook up your own party this weekend!

Easy slow-cooker root beer-baked beans

Easy slow-cooker root beer–baked beans

Looking for a perfect side dish to go with Carla’s chicken? Baked beans and BBQ go together like peanut butter and jelly.


  • 2 (16 ounce) cans baked beans
  • 6 slices uncooked bacon, diced
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup regular root beer
  • 3/4 cup barbeque sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey or brown sugar (optional)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper


  1. In a slow cooker, add all of the ingredients, stirring well.
  2. Put on the lid and set the cooker to high. Cook for 4 hours or until the bacon is completely cooked. Serve warm.

Easy creamy ranch pasta salad

Easy creamy ranch pasta salad recipe

To contrast Mario’s yummy olive oil based salad, try our easy ranch pasta salad. Best of both worlds!

Yields 4–6 servings


  • 1-1/2 cups cooked pasta
  • 1/2 cup red or yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup ranch salad dressing
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped


  1. In a mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients, mixing well. Cover and allow the salad to chill for a minimum of 1 hour.
  2. Serve the salad cold and garnish with extra parsley (if desired).

Easy roasted eggplant dip

Easy roasted eggplant dip recipe

The perfect appetizer before the main course!

Yields 4–6 servings


  • 1 large eggplant, washed and dried
  • 2–3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. With a fork, prick holes all over the eggplant and then place the eggplant on a cookie sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Bake for about 40–45 minutes (turning at the halfway point) or until the eggplant is very soft (the eggplant will look wrinkled, which is normal).
  3. Remove the eggplant from the oven and allow it to cool. Once it’s cool enough to handle, slice the eggplant in half and remove the skin. In a food processor, add the roasted eggplant, garlic cloves, lemon juice and tahini. Season with salt and pepper and add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Blend the mixture until smooth. If you want the texture to be a little thinner, add more olive oil.
  4. Place the mixture into a bowl, cover it and allow it to chill for several hours before serving. To serve, garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh parsley. Serve with pita bread and fresh vegetables for dipping.
After watching Mario and Carla cook up the perfect all-American BBQ, you know you can’t wait to sit down for the next episode of The Chew for more sensational summer party ideas. For additional scrumptious side dishes and mouth-watering BBQ recipes, check out The Chew weekdays on ABC at 1e|12p|c.

More summer meal ideas

Grilled skirt steak with avocado corn salad
Roasted corn with sour cream, chili and cheese
Tonight’s dinner: Shrimp and mango salsa packets

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