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Outdoor kitchen dining

A smaller kitchen can feel cozy in cold weather months, but may seem confining as the seasons warm up. If you’re itching to expand on where you’re preparing and eating meals as weather gets warmer, look to your outdoor space for creative solutions. Expand your cooking and dining space with these inspired open-air options.

1. Arrange Al Fresco Fix-It Bars

If your kitchen is short on counter space, prepare the individual elements of your meal singly and arrange them outdoors for meal prep. This strategy is ideal for dishes like tacos, salads, sandwiches, and personal pizzas, where diners want to prepare their own plates.

Change things up with a pasta bar featuring two or three noodles, red and white sauce, and various meats, vegetables, and grated cheeses. If you have a grill, set up a kabob bar where guests can spear their own goodies before cooking.

2. Do Your Cooking Outside

Whether you have a full outdoor kitchen or a simple tabletop grill, you can expand your meal options in warm weather months with some backyard cooking fixtures. Hot dogs and burgers are classic options, but you can prepare nearly any meal outdoors.

Fill foil packets with your favorite meats, vegetables, and spices and throw them in the fire to make silver turtles. Toast slices of pound cake and grill fresh fruits for mouth-watering outdoor desserts. Try some Dutch oven recipes for soups, stews, chilis, and even cobblers with a unique flavor.

outdoor dining prep area

Simple countertops outside can help to serve as a low maintenance, space-saving prep area.

3. Dine Under the Stars

You don’t need any special equipment to move your dining area outside. If your dining room and kitchen are one communal space, you can free up a lot of square footage by dining primarily outside, weather permitting. When you’re eating out back, you can free up your indoor dining table for extra food prep, like icing cakes or assembling salads.

If you don’t have a table outside, lay down a blanket and have a backyard picnic or simply move your regular dining table to the porch for the evening.

4. Keep Fresh Veggies Ready in the Yard

Are you struggling with a small refrigerator or limited pantry? Keep your produce fresh until the day you’re serving it by growing your own fruits and vegetables in your yard. Pluck your salad fixings right from the ground for unbeatable freshness. Tomatoes are easy to grow in nearly any type of space. Squash plants are notorious overproducers so you can supply your family with this fresh vegetable without a lot of square footage.

5. Expand Your Outdoor Kitchen

If you have a lot of space outside, you can build a complete outdoor kitchen to rival the one inside your house. Many people stop at a grill, but you can continue your plans to include counter space, a refrigerator, and even an outdoor sink. These inclusions will keep you from running back and forth and make your outdoor kitchen fully functional.

Make the most of the warm weather months in your area by expanding your cooking and dining space beyond the confines of your house. Make the most of your outdoor space for fresh, exhilarating experiences at every meal.

 

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.