An easy outdoor party menu

Sep 28, 2007 at 9:29 p.m. ET

For an easy party menu try this CrockPot shredded barbecue and salad. You can make both up ahead of time, then serve with vegetables, dip and lemonade for a great backyard meal!

Perfect for any type of dinner

Make the desserts earlier in the morning or late in the evening when it's cool the day before. It's perfect for company or family and the dishes make good potluck dishes as well.

Shredded Pork Barbecue

1 pork roast, 3 to 4 pounds
1 18-ounce jar barbecue sauce
Chili powder
Garlic powder

Place the pork roast in the CrockPot and season with the chili powder and garlic powder. Sprinkle over both sides of the roast. Cover and cook on high for about 3 hours.

Check roast. When it's starting to get tender, pour off the liquid and break up with a wooden spoon. Remove any larger fatty pieces and discard. (Some roast have very few, others more) Once the roast is tender enough to break up, add the bottle of barbecue sauce and cook for about 2 more hours until you can break it up enough to "shred." Serve on buns. This will serve 4 to 6 people.

Layered Cheese and Bacon Salad

1/2 head lettuce, torn in pieces
1/2 of a bag of spinach, torn into bite sized pieces
1 small red onion, thinly sliced and separated
1 cup celery, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
10-ounce package frozen peas, thawed
1 1/2 cup salad dressing or mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

In a large bowl -- one with a cover works well -- spread lettuce and spinach pieces evenly. Layer onion, celery, green pepper and peas on top of the lettuce. Spread dressing over the top and sprinkle with the sugar, cheese and bacon -- in that order. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight. You can also add chopped boiled eggs, radishes or shredded carrots.

Chocolate Caramel Bars

2 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup salad dressing
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
1 package (14 oz.) caramels
1/4 cup milk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat eggs, sugars, dressing and vanilla at medium speed with electric mixer. Add flour and baking soda.

Set aside 1 cup of the batter. Spread remaining batter into lightly greased 13x9 inch pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 10 minutes. Melt caramels with milk in saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Top crust with caramel mixture, sprinkle with chips and nuts. Spoon reserved 1 cup batter by teaspoons over nuts. Continue baking 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool and cut into squares.

Easy Lemon Cake

1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 small pkg. lemon gelatin
4 eggs
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup milk
2 cups powdered sugar
2 large lemons

Beat all ingredients for 5 minutes. Bake in a 9x13" pan at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes. While still hot, pierce with a fork. Top with a glaze made as follows: Mix 2 cups powdered sugar with the juice of 2 large lemons.