Outdoor Entertaining: Lemon Herb Chicken Breast Recipe

Are you ready to celebrate the arrival of summer?  I am!  A few friends, along with Ed and I, headed over to our good friend’s house this past weekend for some casual outdoor entertaining in the form of a “no-dining table dinner party.”

Outdoor Entertaining Ideas

Their backyard is the perfect place to hold a kick-off to summer. A variety of seating areas and an open lounging area by a pool created a perfect venue to sit back and relax and enjoy everyone’s company while watching the sun go down.

I like summer entertaining the best since it is less stressful.  I exchange the word“Entertaining” for a less-intimidating and less-stress-prompting phrase: “Having people over.” 

When the stress factor is taken away, entertaining is not about being a style-setter, a caterer, or the perfect host. Instead, it can be about creating a happy occasion that permits you to enjoy family and friends.

More important, however, is that you have fun doing it.

Outdoor Party Ideas

Here are a few of my tried and true tips to help you throw a casual evening soiree.

The Setting: Backyard

Outdoor Dining under the stars

On a warm evening a deck, patio or rooftop can be a magical setting for a no-dining-table dinner party as the sun sets and the sky begins to darken. Illuminating the setting with TIKI® Brand torches in the yard and on tables adds the perfect atmosphere from sunset to twilight to after-dinner night sky viewing.

The Set Up:

  • Forgo the paper and plastic. If there is even a slight breeze it will send these items flying. Use regular dishes and cloth napkins. If you are afraid your dishes will break, head to the dollar store for a set of white plates and bowls to use for outdoor parties.
  • Bring out the indoors: Add a few pillows or throw blankets around the patio or deck seating. These will add a comfy cozy feeling for guests who may get chilly after the sun goes down.
TiKI brand table top torches
  • Layer the lighting. Set up tabletop as well as yard TIKI® Brand torches filled with citronella torch fuel to help keep pesky bugs away and to add festive ambiance that won’t blow out from a breeze.
  • Washi tape makes colorful temporary name tags for drink glasses.
  • Make sure to run the dishwasher and empty it before the party so it’s ready for cleanup after the party.

The Playlist:

Make a playlist to add to the festive party atmosphere. This is the one we listened to created by playlist master, my neighbor Harry.

  • Jimmy Buffet Live in Hawaii:   The Tiki Bar is Open | Great Heart with Don Ho intro
  • Bob Marley Greatest Hits: One Love | Stir It Up | Sun is Shining
  • Bill Bass Steel Pans Drum Music (from St. Croix):  I Can See Clearly Now…
  • Club Trini-Margaritaville Cafe: Party Time | Come on In

Once you create the perfect outdoor dining atmosphere, add the final key ingredients: good food + good friends – then enjoy the evening together.

The Menu:

As the host, prepare the main dish and ask each guest to bring something to complement it such as an appetizer, side dish, salad or dessert. This keeps the tone of the party casual and easy for everyone. 

  • Choose foods that can be made ahead or grilled to keep things easy. This way you get to enjoy your own party.

Pull out all of your serving dishes and platters from storage and mark what will go on each with a Post-It Note.

Outdoor party food that is easy to prepare and cook for a crowd. Herb grilled shrimp skewers require no utensils making them easy for guests to eat. | In My Own Style
Lemon Herb Encrusted Chicken recipe
  • Serve food that does not need a knife so guests can easily eat from plates on their laps.
    • I made this Lemon Herb Chicken recipe that is sliced into bite size pieces on a platter before serving, so all that is needed to enjoy it is a fork.
Dog invited to the party

Don’t be surprised if your party attracts more than your intended crowd. “Why can’t I have some of that yummy chicken?” 

Finger Food Dessert

My friend made these Raspberry Bars….. they were a hit! DELICIOUS!  She found the recipe on BHG.

Outdoor entertaining ideas herb infused towels

Once everyone is finished eating, serve up a way for your guests to clean their hands.

Herb-Infused Hand Towels perfumed with lemon and herbs, are always welcome after eating food with your hands.  Rolled and tied in advance, these cloths are steeped in warm lemon-herb infusion just before you offer them to guests.

How to Make Herb-Infused Hand Towels:

  • Roll napkins, facecloths, or tea towels into cylinders. Tie with raffia, beach grass, or ribbon.
  • Steep fresh herbs, such as rosemary or mint, in boiling water in a teapot for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Pour the herbal infusion into a wide heatproof bowl with lemon slices and let stand for about 10 seconds.
  • Soak the rolled towels in the infusion. When cool enough to handle, wring them out slightly and arrange on tray.
Summer Outdoor Patio and Deck Party Ideas

After dinner is over and the sun sets, let TIKI® Brand Bamboo Royal Polynesian torches light the way to open viewing of the show that is about to start called starry, starry night.

Lemon Herb Chicken Breast Recipe

Lemon Herb Chicken Breasts

Perfect succulent chicken breasts that will serve a crowd with little prep.
Prep Time1 day
Cook Time18 minutes
Total Time1 day 18 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken, grill, lemon, picnic
Servings: 8
Cost: $20.00


  • 3 lb boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon plus shredded zest for garnish (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary plus whole leaves and springs for garnish (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


  • Rinse the chicken breasts and pat dry. In large, shallow nonreactive dish, whisk together the olive oil, garlic, grated lemon zest and juice, thyme, rosemary, and salt and pepper. Add the chicken breasts and turn to coat well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or for up to 8 hours.
  • Prepare grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat. Oil the grill rack and position it about 6 inches from heat source.
  • Grill the chicken breasts, turning once, until firm to the touch and opaque throughout, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken breasts to a cutting board and cut on the diagonal against the grain with a sharp knife into slices 1/2 inch thick. Capture any carving juices, if possible.
  • Arrange the chicken slices on a warmed serving platter and drizzle and carving juices over the top. To garnish, sprinkle with rosemary leaves and sprigs and shredded lemon zest, if desired.
  • Serves 8

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  1. I am really happy to read this post Thanks for sharing a beautiful post.

  2. That was a beautiful blog… keep posting such stuff

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  5. Hello! My husband made your lemon herb chicken. In the instruction section you say to add 2 TBS salt. He thought it was a lot but decided to follow your directions. I just reread the recipe and notice the ingredient list just says salt. I’m guessing it is a mistake. Could you please clarify this. Yôu probably meant to say 2 TBS of thyme. The chicken was very salty but otherwise very moist.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Tricia –

      So sorry that I didn’t catch that mistake in the written recipe. The amount is listed in the ingredients, but I mistakingly put the word salt in the steps, not thyme. I fixed it. I have made this many times and have found that you can use more or less of any of the ingredients and it is always good. Thanks for taking the time to tell me about the mistake.

  6. I did this menu, Diane. It is delicious and one of us one of our best dinner parties ever! I served rice pilaf, soft sweet potatoes, and a vinaigrette green salad with it. Guests loved the shrimp skewers. thank you so much for posting it.

  7. vargos technology says:

    nice one cool furniture

  8. Wooden Street says:

    All these decor and furniture just look fabulous. The post reminds me of the days when we used to be kids and had fun on Sundays. Tasty food, family and friends.

  9. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    I do so love those Tiki Torches and the table top ones, but after seeing the prices, I just can not afford even one of them. So I will stick with the beautiful ones that you showed us how to make a few years ago. Now those are truly worth making.

    1. Sheryll & Critters. says:

      Oh yes, I tried making them with 1 x 2 furring (sp) strips, but the pvc pipes worked out the best for the long haul. I used the end caps for the pvc to put a screw through the can and I forget what those screws are called (the kind that don’t come back out easily). Self locking of some such?

      1. darlene harris says:

        on my old computer, I had your *recipe* for making tiki torches, but it fell the way of all old computer info: it’s lost …. can you please post it again or send a link?
        great party; I’m wanting to make the chicken, but on instruction line 4, it says, “Arrange the chicken slices on a warmed serving platter and drizzle [the leftover marinade?] and carving juices over the top” … i would appreciate a clarification.

        1. Diane Henkler says:

          Hi Darlene –

          I think you are asking for a link to the Tuna Can Lantern. Here is the link: bit.ly/2ZI9Rxabi

          For the chicken recipe: When you cut the chicken to place on a serving plater, it will be very juicy and the juices will get on the cutting board. Don’t toss these juices. Use the juice by pouring over the chicken once it is on the serving platter. You don’t want to use the marinade.

  10. MyinflatablePoly.com says:

    i love your style. simple and colourful. It’s make me feel fresh

  11. Diane,

    You always have the greatest ideas…..love the lemon herb infused towels. They’re such a good idea. The Tiki Torches really create a festive ambient feel to a backyard party.

  12. Good food, good company, and good weather. Makes an almost perfect party to hold out-of-doors. Perfect that is if it wasn’t for those annoying flying bugs. WAIT! You said you had also providedTiki torches. Well. now it is a perfect outdoor party!!!

  13. Leigh Anne Borders says:

    Love the ideas!

  14. Susan Sanders says:

    Love the Herb infused tea towels. I’ve done a lemon version of this after serving lobster and crab. To make set up easier, wet your towels and store them in a crockpot on low. It keeps them nice and warm and their done ahead of time.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Susan – Great idea to use a Crock Pot to keep the towels warm. Thanks for sharing your idea.

  15. Merri Jo Schaubroeck says:

    Wow,–the photos of the food , decor & lovely setting are so inviting. I love the tabletop Tiki lights–such pretty ambience & insect repellant! The black Lab is adorable!

  16. I got onto the TIKI website at your first mention in the blog, and am getting some green ones. Cool!

  17. Stacey Grantham says:

    The food looks delicious! Love the shrimp and chicken.

  18. Love that your dog is included in the “having people over.” Lets all of us know that your home is a real-life place to be where ALL are welcome and everyone who lives there can participate when it’s time to entertain. The ideas in this post are spot on for a relaxing time for both the host/hostess and those lucky enough to be invited.

  19. Great ideas! I’ll be hosting my book club in the coming months and this sounds like the perfect plan!

  20. Francine Brooks says:

    Ooooh! I love these tabletop torches. Thanks for the opportunity to win some. Btw, I love today’s post.

  21. Paulette U says:

    Love the tabletop torches – perfect for keeping those pesky bugs away!

  22. Erin Ellis says:

    What a gorgeous TIKI! I’m printing your recipe – It looks fab! Thank you for the wonderful giveaway.

  23. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    I love the Tiki Tabletop candles and the torces too. The food is just my style as well. I want to do this same thing sometime this summer…. looks so good and love the hot towels idea. I remember the first restaurant that would bring us hot towels when they saw you finishing your ribs…… it was Arbaugh’s on Connecticut Ave in D.C. Wow, what memories conjured up now.

  24. So simple! I always end up doing everything myself instead of allowing others to help and it’s really getting stressful. So much so that my husband is telling me to “stop it”. Sigh….I just can’t do it all like I used to…and I’ve been wanting to try these TIKI products for a long time. Thanks for all the ideas, pictures, inspiration, and the chance to win some TIKI!

  25. Chicken looks delist! Quick question…When do you add the fresh thyme? To marinade or sprinkled on after?

  26. Hope Williams says:

    Great ideas. So much more casual having friends over. The setting looks and sounds so inviting. Right down to the steel drums. Love it!