Chef Kelli's Backyard Bash Recipes

We’ve told you about the importance of sprucing up that yard for hosting the perfect party, but you can’t overlook the food.

Chef Kelli Lewton Secondino, of 2 Unique Caterers & Event Planners, dropped by the Fox2 Studios Sunday morning with a few of her new summertime party meal recipes , including those that you can mix and match and eat with your hands, and food you can take away as a party favor.

Uniques Backyard Buffalo Shrimp Stix  


  • 18 jumbo shrimp (1 1/2 to 2 pounds), peeled, leaving last shell segment and tail fan attached, then deveined
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce such as Frank's RedHot
  • 1/2 bunch celery, cut into 4-inch sticks


  • Heat grill to medium
  • Toss shrimp with oil and season with sea salt and pepper
  • Skewer shrimp & grill a couple minutes on each side until opaque white in color
  • Brush with butter sauce; serve with blue cheese dip and celery sticks

Blue Cheese Dip


  • 1/2 cup organic  sour cream
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped scallions
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 Tb white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (2 ounces)
  • Juice of half a small to medium size lemon
  • 2 Tb Mayo
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Stir together ingredients.


Jerk Chicken Stix


  • 4-5 larger boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 4-5 pieces per breast
  • 24 wooden skewers (soaked in water)


Jerk Rub

  • 2 tbs. ground coriander
  • 2 tbs. ground ginger
  • 3 TB. light brown sugar
  • 1 TB onion powder
  • 1 TB garlic powder
  • 1 TB kosher salt
  • 1 TB habanero powder
  • 2 tsp. coarse black pepper
  • 2 tsp. dry thyme
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ cup olive oil



  • Combine all spices in medium bowl, stir in olive oil  (reserve a few ounces for drizzle or dipping sauce)
  • Marinade cut chicken pieces for up to a few hours
  • Heat grill to medium, grill 6-8 minutes turning occasionally until cooked through


Chimichurri Beef Stix


  • 1 small flank steak cut across the grain into approximately 2 oz slices
  • Ingredients
  • 1 cup (packed) fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (packed) fresh cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt




  • Puree all ingredients in processor. Transfer to bowl.
  • Marinade beef slices in sauce for up to a couple hours (reserve a few ounces of sauce for drizzling and dipping)
  • Skewer beef on sticks
  • Cook over medium heat grill
  • Skewer beef on sticks
  • Cook over medium heat grill



Chef Kelli's MYO Dessert Nachos

Step One -- Pick you "carrier" from any of the following fun, crunchy things

  • White corn or flour chips baked and tossed with cinnamon and sugar
  • Toasted wheat pita chips
  • Pizzelle style Italian cookies
  • Crispy baked pie dough pieces or cut outs
  • Crispy Fillo
  • Pretzel Thins
  • Won ton chips
  • Churros
  • Fresh or dried apple slices
  • Graham Crackers
  • Thin crispy cookies


Step Two -- Add your favorite toppings to make your designer dessert. Consider picking 3 or so variety and putting toppings that match each particular intention on one tray with a sign to help people make their own with success.


Wild Berry Summer Nacho

  • Cinnamon sugar wheat pita chips, Mixed berry " salsa"
  • Chocolate Ganache (sauce)
  • Whipped cream

Salted Carmel Fun

  • Pretzel thins
  • Tiny marshmallows
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Chocolate & caramel sauce


  • Fresh Green apple slices
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Chopped nuts
  • Carmel sauce


S'more Please

  • Graham Crackers
  • Tiny marshmallow's
  • Chocolate chips
  • Chocolate Gauche


1. In a small bowl whisk together the preserves and lemon juice.

2. In a large bowl combine berries. Pour lemon juice over fruit, sprinkle with sugar and drizzle with honey. Gently toss. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Sopapilla Chips:

1. Melt coconut oil, toss with oil and half of the sugar mixture, then bake a t 350 for about 8-10 minutes until crisp & golden.

2. Remove chips and sprinkle remaining sugar.


Summer Fun Peaches & Cream Dessert Nachos


  • Canola or coconut  oil for spraying/tossing stone and pitas
  • 3 Wheat pita pockets
  • 1 tbsp. white sugar
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3   peaches
  • ¼ cup pecans, toasted & chopped
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • ¼ cup white chocolate morsels
  • 1 tsp. canola oil


Cut Pita's into small triangles, place on preheated baking sheet and drizzle or spray with canola oil. Combine sugar and then lightly sprinkle about half over pitas and bake for 10-12 minutes until crisp.  Let cool and arrange on serving platter

2. Dice peaches and toss in remaining sugar sauté quickly ( 2 minutes or so)in a tablespoon of oil or butter 

3. Whip heavy cream with sugar and honey until it has soft peaks.

4. Combine the white chocolate morsels and oil in the small microwavable bowl uncovered, on HIGH for 30 seconds, or until it's melted.

5. To build the nachos: drizzle the pita chips with melted chocolate. Top with half of the pecans and peaches. Top with dollops of the fresh whipped cream. Add the remaining pecans and peaches on top and drizzle with the remaining chocolate.