Outdoor entertaining, whether you’re hosting a summer cookout or a fall brunch, should focus on celebrating good times with family and friends—not worrying about what to serve.

You can prepare cold appetizers, salads and side dishes in advance. They’re an easy way to add flavor without turning up the oven’s heat.

Here are some outdoor entertaining tips to make guests happy and your life easier:

  1. Go Organic. Use fresh, seasonal, organic ingredients. Your guests will appreciate big flavors that won’t weigh them down.
  2. Gather Round. Set up a chips-and-salsa bar. It’s a great way for guests to mix and mingle. Try yesterday’s recipe for Black Bean and Corn Scoops, an alternative to traditional salsa. Guests will also enjoy Tomatillo Salsa, Granny Smith Guacamole, Charred Red Onion Salsa and Fiery Fruit Salsa.
  3. Bowl Them Over. Add a festive touch with brightly colored serving bowls and plates.
  4. Made in the Shade. Some guests are sensitive to heat and sunlight. Make sure an indoor room is available for cooling off. If you have a large gathering, consider renting a tent or setting up chairs and tables under a shady tree.
  5. Keep It Cool. Chill empty plates and glasses before giving them to your guests. This will help keep foods and beverages cold.

Tips courtesy of Tostitos