Summer is time for family, friends and the love affair of the grill and cookouts. Every year we all look forward to those weekends and holidays around the pool. Enjoy your summer get togethers and parties with these traditional picnic favorites with a twist!

American Macaroni Salad = Maryland Mac Salad!
Plain Jane becomes one spicy lady with the addition of Old Bay. Mix in a few dashes of Old Bay into your creamy dressing along with some jumbo lump crabmeat or diced shrimp. It will sure to make the crowd go crazy.

Cole Slaw = Spinach Orzo Slaw
Sorry Slaw, but move over. This Mediterranean inspired salad is great by itself or as a side. Simply using a store bought mix for slaw, pour the entire bag into a bowl and mix with 1 cup cooked orzo, 2 cups of sliced spinach, 1/4 cup pitted and sliced olives, ⅓ cup lemon juice, 1/2 cup chopped parsley, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, and 1 cup of feta cheese. Toss and serve! You can add all sorts of veggies and also grilled shrimp.

Cheese Nachos = BBQ Pork Nachos
Why not combine the 2 greatest crowd pleasers at the cookout? Instead of using ground beef or chicken, use a sweet pulled pork barbeque. The sweet and salty combination is great. Be sure to have a side of BBQ sauce mixed with sour cream as a topper.

Corn on the Cob = Smokinʼ Corn
While steaming or boiling corn on the cob works, try grilling instead! Mix 1 stick of room temperature butter with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste. Next peel back the husks on the ears (do not remove the husk) and remove the silk. Butter the corn on all sides. Recover the ear with the husks and grill on low heat for 15-20 minutes. Turn the ears occasionally. You can grill some with plain butter and others spicy.

Potato Salad = Grilled Potato and Pepper Salad
It is a cookout after all, so use that grill as much as possible! Put potatoes, garlic and bay leaf in a saucepan; cover with water and season with salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, discarding the bay leaf; transfer the potatoes to a bowl (halve any that are large). Add peppers and scallions; drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, season with salt and toss. Preheat a grill to medium. Grill the vegetables, turning occasionally, until the potatoes are tender and the peppers and scallions are charred. Transfer to a cutting board to cool slightly. Cut the peppers into large chunks; coarsely chop the scallions. Combine the potatoes, peppers and scallions in a serving bowl. Drizzle with the vinegar and the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with the parsley and season with salt; toss.

Strawberry Jell-O Salad = SʼMore Brownies
Bye Bye Cool-whip – Hello Campfire! This fast and easy dessert is a great one to have the little ones help with. Preheat your oven to 325. Mix together 1 1/2cups ground graham crackers with 6 tbsp softened butter. Press the mixture into the bottom of an 8×8 pan. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Prepare your brownie mix according to the box. Pour the mix over the baked crust and bake according to directions. When finished, remove from oven and reposition lower rack. Place 4 cups of large marshmallows on top and broil for about 2 minutes (keep an eye on it) or until golden and gooey. Let cool and serve.

Have a great weekend, everyone!