Al Fresco Dinner: Impressive Main Courses in Your Outdoor Living Room

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    If you’re hosting a dinner party in your classy, well-designed Kansas City outdoor living room and landscape, you need a main course that matches. If you want to impress your guests with both décor and food, you’re going to love this installment of our Al Fresco Dinner Party Series. This time, we’re sharing some of our best main courses that can elevate your meal without frustrating you in the kitchen. After all, if you have a beautiful Traeger patio, you want to enjoy it all the time, and you won’t always have the energy for time-intensive cooking.

    Here are three of our simple and sophisticated meal ideas for dinner parties in your outdoor living room.

    White Wine Chicken and Mushrooms

    Between the cast-iron skillet and the addition of white wine, you’ll feel like a master chef prepping this one, but it doesn’t require any fussy techniques. Most of your time will be spent looking at it, smelling the smoky flavor. White wine chicken and mushrooms is a much better dish when prepared outside.

    If you’re cooking this outside, you can use a pellet grill or a cast iron pan on your stovetop. Your choice of white wine is also important. Don’t choose anything too sweet. A sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio fits the bill.


    • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    • ½ tsp of onion powder
    • ½ tsp salt
    • ½ tsp garlic powder
    • ¼ cup cooking oil of your choice

    For the dredge

    • ½ cup flour
    • 1 tsp ground thyme
    • 1 tsp salt
    • ½ tsp pepper

    For the sauce

    • 4 cups mushrooms
    • 1 medium onion
    • 1 ½ cup white wine
    • 1 ½ cup chicken stock
    • 6 tbsp butter


    1. Cut the chicken in half widthwise to make them thinner. Then cut into smaller pieces.
    2. Lightly season chicken with onion powder, garlic powder, and salt.
    3. Mix the dredge ingredients and dip each piece of chicken in. Shake off excess flour (this will be a very light dredge).
    4. Preheat the oil in your cast iron pan to medium and add the chicken. Brown each side and remove.
    5. Slice onion and mushrooms, and then add to the same skillet, along with three tablespoons of butter. Do not remove the oil or the flour bits in the pan. Cover the pan and let cook for five minutes.
    6. Add the chicken back to the pan along with the broth, wine, and the rest of the butter. The wine will slowly cook-off but impart a lovely flavor.

    Build-Your-Own Wood-Fired Pizza

    If you chose a wood-fired pizza oven for your outdoor kitchen in Kansas City, this recipe would help you make the most of it. Instead of prepping the whole pizza beforehand, prepare only the dough and ingredients. Let your guests add the sauce and personalized ingredients to their pizza. They’ll enjoy watching your oven in action and the wafting smell of pizza.

    You don’t need to make your own dough for this recipe. Buying dough can help you ensure it’ll be consistent in your oven. That being said, if you want to try making your dough, we recommend this reliable recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen.

    You can make your pizza more impressive with unusual toppings. Here are some pizza topping ideas to wow your guests:

    • Real mozzarella slices
    • Spinach, arugula, other slightly bitter greens
    • Italian sausage slices
    • Artichoke slices
    • Smoked ham strips
    • Fresh thyme and oregano
    • Jalapeno slices

    Grilled Crabs Legs

    Crab legs are one of those meals that people assume is challenging to prepare, but once you know the secrets, it is actually quite simple. Crab legs are already cooked, so you only need to warm them at a gentle heat of 300-350 degrees direct heat on the grill. It takes about 10-15 minutes.

    Wait to grill your crab legs until everything else is almost ready. The cool quickly and you want to serve them warm.

    Tips for Grilling Crab Legs:

    The crab shell interferes with seasoning and can make cooking uneven. So, double up your seasoning and cook in a tin foil packet to help spread the heat evenly when grilling. A double layer of aluminum foil wrapped around the crab legs works perfectly.

    Grill lemons by cutting in half and placing on the grill for a couple of minutes. Then, squeeze the lemon juice over the crab legs. (We use a lemon per pound of crab legs.) The acidity of the lemon juice works to soften the meat, and it imparts a citrus flavor. Then, add a tablespoon of salt and a ton of Cajun seasoning, and your crab legs will be a much more interesting dish. Don’t forget to serve them with melted butter so that your guests can dip.

    One of these three main dishes will help you host a more fulfilling dinner party, where you’re not stressing about making your meal as gorgeous as your surroundings—because you know it will be. Sharing a meal in your outdoor living room with those you care about is an excellent way to make life more interesting and family bonds stronger.

    Ready for your own space to entertain outdoors? Contact us today to get started.

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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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