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Entertaining at Home,  Recipes

Dining Al Fresco in the Wintertime

No matter what the weather is like until this pandemic is over one thing is for sure and that is that we’re all going to have to continue to spend more time outdoors if we want to socialize…at a distance.

Whether you have celebrations coming up over the next couple of months, you’re thinking of ways to entertain over the Christmas period or you just miss seeing people, then Alfresco dining is the way to go.

There are many ways you can do this, so it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a big garden, you can still make the best of what you do have because your alfresco evening doesn’t need to be a sit-down meal, although it can be if you want it to.

So what kind of food do you want to be serving this winter to keep those tummies full and to keep people nice and warm?

BBQ Food

You can still get your grill out in the winter and while the idea of halloumi skewers and salad might not be hearty enough, there are still plenty more ideas of things you can make.

If you were waiting for the summer to get a new grill, then think again as now is a great time to get some good deals and you can still get plenty of use out of it.

Check out the best gas grill under 500 and once you’ve got that sorted then check out these recipe ideas.

Juicy Burgers

Big, fat juicy burgers will keep you warm in the winter, and depending on the type of event you’re hosting, they’re also useful if you’re going to be eating standing up or sitting down but without a table.

You could even go for a burger night and offer Greek lamb burgers topped with tzatziki, tomatoes, cucumbers, and crumbly feta, Bison Burgers With Brie, Bacon, and Caramelized Onions, Chipotle Pumpkin Veggie Burgers, and some yummy black bean burgers. 


Grilled Chicken Nachos

During winter, you need comfort food, and what is better than grilled chicken nachos?

This is not only delicious but it’s also really easy to do and tastes so good on the grill. 

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Baked Potatoes

Baked potato with Spuddy BuddyDid you know you can make baked potatoes on the grill?

Simply wrap them in foil as you would for the oven, but instead place them on the grill and shut the lid for about 45-60 minutes.

Rotate the potatoes halfway through the cooking time.

Remove from the grill when the potatoes’ internal temperature reaches 200ºF.

The results will be crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle.

These are the perfect side dish or they could be your main meal if you offer different toppings for people to choose from. 


If you haven’t invested in a pizza oven yet, then now is a great time to do it.

You can create your own just the like restaurant do it and have the perfect pizza party outside this winter.

Get everyone to make their own pizza and then fire up the pizza oven.

Not only is this easy and delicious food to eat but your guests will enjoy making their pizzas too, they’ll get exactly what they want and they’ll feel proud of their creation.

Crock-Pot Food

Another excellent idea for serving food at a party or to a lot of guests is to make something warm and hearty in your crockpot.

This way, they can just grab a ladle and help themselves.

Think warm chilly served with rice and crusty bread, or a corned-beef hash with pickled red cabbage on the side.

Or you could opt for a curry with mini naan bread.

What about a beef hot pot or a lamb stew?

There are loads of ideas for crockpot recipes and all you need is the perfect side dishes to go with them to keep everyone full and warm.

If you can, choose a couple of dishes so that people have options and can just help themselves to what they like.

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Sit Down Meal

Eating outside doesn’t always have to be casual and you can set your table up and eat a proper dinner outside.

The only thing is in winter, rather than having everyone sat at the table shivering, you might want to get some outdoor heaters strategically placed around the table to keep everyone warm.

You will want to serve warm and hearty food, like  MACARONI BAKED ZITI.

macaroni baked ziti

Or you could opt for a three-course meal with soup to start, followed by a steak and blue cheese pie or sausage and mash and then finish off with a hot sponge pudding for dessert?

Is your mouth watering yet?

Take Out

You also don’t have to cook as there’s nothing to stop you from getting out your Deliveroo app and ordering some delicious take out food to eat in your garden.

Warm-up some plates, grab some napkins and some drinks, and wait for it to arrive.

Easy, everyone gets what they want and you still get to eat hot food outside which should hopefully warm you up.


Drinks while al fresco dining

Coffee Shopping Network Generic PromoYou can’t have a good Al Fresco Dining experience without some beverages to go with it.

Serve winter cocktails and mocktails such as mulled wine, hot cider, Irish coffee, and hot toddies.

A nice full-bodied red wine would go down nicely too with any of those food ideas and for those who like sweet things then a hot chocolate always goes down a treat.

Not everyone wants hot drinks with hot food though as some hot drinks can be really filling, so it’s also an idea to have a bucket of ice with some cold beers, wines and soft drinks on offer too.

This makes it easy for people to help themselves and is just how it would be if you were having a BBQ in the summer where people bring their own drinks and help themselves.



Your alfresco dining experience would not be complete without a pudding or a dessert and as it’s winter and cold, continue the theme of warm hearty food.

You can’t go wrong with a sponge pudding and custard, a hot gooey chocolate pudding, a hot apple crumble (or any fruit you like) or a bread and butter pudding.

Pumpkin Cake with Spiced Rum Frosting



Hosting a stand-up casual vibe then you could serve hot churros and chocolate dip, donuts, or pancakes and waffles.

If you’re going for a sit-down meal, then although it’s not strictly warm, a good plate of cheese and crackers will still warm you up and is the perfect way to finish off any meal.

Eating outside this winter can be a lot of fun.

Just make sure you have outdoor heaters or a fire pit to keep people warm and offer blankets for them to wrap themselves in should they need it.

It’s also a good idea to make sure you have enough outdoor lighting in your garden too so that people don’t trip up and can see what they’re eating.

Fairy lights can add ambience, or candles will make it look very cozy.


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