Al Fresco Dinner Party Series: Part 1: Snacks in the Garden

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    There’s nothing quite like an al fresco dinner party “in the open air” on a warm Kansas City evening. We at High Prairie Outdoors put together this blog series as a guide to hosting the most memorable al fresco dinner parties with your friends and family! After all, an exceptional landscape or outdoor living space means nothing if you can’t enjoy it with those you love.

    Dining Al Fresco

    What better way to show off your stylish new landscaping project than to invite a group of friends over for an al fresco dinner party? A patio party is a beautiful way to celebrate the changing seasons with seasonal foods, perhaps prepared with items fresh from your own garden, combined with local ingredients from one of Kansas City’s farmers’ markets, all served under the golden sunlight in the relaxing setting of your unique outdoor living space.

    Summer Appetizer Idea

    The abundance of fresh ingredients available in the Kansas City region’s summer months makes it easy to create summer appetizers that are both healthy and delicious. Enjoying your outdoor landscaping with friends and family is one of the best ways to get the most out of our Kansas City summers.

    Here’s a recipe for prosciutto-wrapped melon that’s easy to prepare (no cooking required), but with a complex salty-sweet flavor profile that you won’t believe!

    Prosciutto-Wrapped Melon


    • Half a melon (honeydew or cantaloupe work best)
    • One package of prosciutto, divided into sixteen long slices
    • 16 green seedless grapes
    • 16 fresh mint leaves
    • Balsamic vinegar
    • Fresh ground black pepper


    1. Set out eight food picks. (Use decorative, seasonal-themed picks if available.)
    2. Peel and seed the melon, cut it into eight wedges, and then cut each wedge in half, so you have a total of 16 pieces.
    3. Wrap a slice of prosciutto around each piece of melon then put a mint leaf on top of each wrapped piece.
    4. Skewer a grape onto a pick, followed by one of the mint-topped prosciutto-wrapped melon pieces, then add another grape and melon piece.
    5. Repeat step four seven more times until you have eight full picks.
    6. Arrange the eight pieces on an attractive serving plate.
    7. Drizzle a little balsamic vinegar over the plate and grind a very light dusting of black pepper over it.

    This flavorful summer appetizer only takes about 15 minutes to prepare, and is sure to delight your guests!

    Bruschetta Bar

    “Build your own” food stations are a trend that just keeps gaining in popularity, and it isn’t hard to understand why. Allowing your guests to “build their own” plates means more time for you to enjoy time relaxing out there with them, enjoying and appreciating all the hard work you put into your landscaping, instead of being tied up in the kitchen for much of the evening. The concept is excellent for an al fresco dinner party.

    Planning a “build your own bruschetta bar” opens up endless summer appetizer flavor possibilities, and it’s easy to set up. Plan to have a minimum of three types of bruschetta combinations available, allowing your guests to mix and match, of course. Three of our favorites at High Prairie Outdoors are:

    Strawberry Bruschetta

    Strawberries are interwoven into nearly everyone’s most cherished summer memories. When fresh strawberries are in season, it can be fun to use them in unexpected ways. Strawberry bruschetta is an unusual but tasty summer appetizer that’s perfect for a Kansas City patio party. Here’s what you’ll need to set out, so your guests can build their plates:

    • Toasted baguette rounds
    • Olive oil to brush over the baguette slices
    • Soft Goat cheese
    • Fresh diced strawberries
    • Fresh basil leaves
    • Balsamic vinegar in an “easy-drizzle” bottle
    • Freshly-cracked black pepper

    Simply layer the ingredients in the order listed. Allow guests to customize how much of each ingredient they prefer.

    Traditional Bruschetta

    You don’t want to risk disappointing your guests with a bruschetta bar without a traditional bruschetta! This classic summer appetizer cannot fail to please:

    • Toasted baguette rounds
    • Olive oil to brush over the baguette slices
    • Tomato bruschetta (prepared in advance with classic ingredients: fresh tomatoes, olive oil, fine sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and fresh garlic. We experience with quantities and ratios here. Have fun with this!)
    • Fresh basil leaves
    • Balsamic vinegar in an “easy-drizzle” bottle

    Peach and Blue Cheese Bruschetta

    This one might be new to your guests! It’s savory-sweet, with the always-tantalizing combination of fresh fruit and cheese:

    • Toasted baguette rounds
    • Olive oil to brush over the baguette slices
    • Very finely minced fresh garlic
    • Cambozola cheese, or other soft, spreadable cheese of your choice
    • Fresh peaches, sliced into thin wedges
    • Very high-quality honey for drizzling

    A Patio Party Your Guests Will Rave About

    If you’d love to have your own stylish space to host an al fresco dinner party, High Prairie Outdoors is the premier Kansas City landscaping company to help you design and install the landscape you’ve been dreaming about. To get started on your own unique outdoor garden patio party spot, contact us today!

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    About The Author

    Robyn is a 2009 Graduate of the Kansas State University Department of Horticulture. She grew up in South East Kansas where she graduated from Humboldt High School. She was a Kansas State University Leadership Scholar and President of the Horticulture Club. She married Bret in 2009 and they have a daughter Ellie, born in 2021. Their family is completed by three adopted dogs.

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