Make these recipes for your last-minute outdoor parties all summer long

A simple, bold platter of ribs is always the hit of an outdoor barbecue.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

If you’re like us, you just remembered that the Fourth of July is in a couple of days and you’ve forgotten to plan a menu for that outdoor party. Don’t worry! Here are some of our tried-and-true recipes that are quick to shop for and throw together in a day.

Skirt steak marinated in a mix of serrano chiles and cilantro, which doubles as its salsa.
(Leslie Grow / For The Times)

Carne Asada

Make a double batch of the marinade to serve on the side of this simple, people-pleasing steak and win the most compliments at the cookout.


Naked Ribs

You don’t need a bucket of barbecue sauce, just some key spices and brown sugar to make ribs that everyone will devour.

Cassia’s Whole Grilled Branzino

Turmeric, fish sauce and Thai chiles combine in this simple marinade for easy-to-grill fish; great served on its own with lime or in chilled lettuce wraps.

Cucumbers, tomatoes and herbs flavor chewy-tender couscous and feta for a refreshing picnic salad.
(Leslie Grow / For The Times)

Summer Salad With Israeli Couscous

All the best veggies of summer — cherry tomatoes, cucumbers — mixed with pasta, feta and a bracing vinaigrette. You’ll be making it all summer long.

Carrot-Cilantro Salad With Ginger Dressing

Forget the raisins and pineapple, this shaved carrot salad is crunchy and tangy with sherry vinegar and ginger — the perfect complement to grilled meat.

Hungarian Pepper Salad

Late summer’s abundance of peppers makes for a great platter salad with paprika-spiked cheese croutons.

Whole sliced lemons and sugar make the simple, floral filling for this refreshing summer pie.
(Leslie Grow / For The Times)

Shaker Lemon Pie

Like a glass of lemonade, it’s tart and refreshing, great served cold or hot with a scoop of ice cream on top.

Madonna Inn’s Carrot Cake

Teeming with fresh carrots and pineapple and slathered with just the right amount of cream cheese frosting, this cake is best served chilled from the fridge.

Grilled Watermelon With Mint, Honey, Lime and Yogurt

Watermelon is great raw, but when its sweetness is balanced with the grill’s char and doused in lime and honey, it sings.

Classic vanilla bean ice cream is the perfect dessert to serve as a base for summer fruits at an outdoor barbecue.
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Vanilla Ice Cream

Serve a classic vanilla ice cream and put out berries for people to scatter on top.

Thrilling Chiller

Cool off with this minty limeade from chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger.