Top 5 Side dishes for a Barbecue

It's almost time for cookout season, and now that we can more safely celebrate together with family outside for barbecues after this pandemic the past year, it's nice to dust off some great side dishes to serve along side some great barbecue.

                                                    Chili Cornbread Salad (photo credit taste of home) 

Here are some of my top family recipes  and most popular here at Tip Garden. .I promise, they are easy to make and even someone who thinks of themselves as a beginner or "non" cook, can do these and will get rave reviews!



Turning Pork & Beans into Homemade Baked Beans
 I promise, with a few cans of inexpensive pork and beans, plus  a couple of ingredients you probably have on hand, we can turn these into amazing homemade, slow cooked baked beans the short cut way! 

Bacon Ranch Potato Salad

This 5 ingredient potato salad, can be served warm or chilled. You can't go wrong!
My recipe is for serving warm, but my daughter loves to serve ot  chilled.
She just pre cubes the potatoes before boiling then cools them completely before mixing up the salad. It's so good either way!  Anyone can make this one, but beware, you will be asked to bring it to every occasion!

Baked Summer Squash with Bacon

This simple vegetable dish will have everyone coming back for more! Simmered in the oven with smoky crispy bacon and a bit of butter, salt & pepper, what is not to love? I promise this one is a go to for bringing to cookouts all summer long!

Strawberry Applesauce
This refreshing  fruity side will be loved by young and old! My picture shows it blended smooth, but leaving it a bit chunkier is great too! grab some apples, a pack of fresh strawberries, and let's bring something fresh and light to the cookout! this is also easy for a beginner cook! 

Easy Peach Cobbler
Intimidated by trying to match an old fashioned peach cobbler that others are famous for? Don't worry!
This cobbler is easy , a crowd favorite, and a  cross between a cobbler and a crumble. It is super addicting and any beginner cook can do this!  I promise! grab some peaches and  a yellow cake mix and let's get you baking!

Bonus Recipes:

Healthier Popsicle Recipe
Want a fun ,  yet healthier popsicle to serve the kiddos and or grown ups?
(Leave out the gingersnap cookie crumbles for the kid's if you like) 

Raspberry Lemonade Recipe
Want a fun drink to bring that everyone young & old can enjoy?
Here is my homemade Strawberry Limeade recipe. You can also make a Raspberry Lemonade, delish!


Chili Cornbread Salad


Photo Credit; Taste of Home, cause everyone was too busy eating Aunt Judy's to take any photos!

My Aunt Judy brought this dish to a Family Reunion a few years back, and it was quite popular, and many requests for the recipe! 

With many of being able to safely gather outside socially distanced a bit more, we may be able 
to gather in small groups to reunite again with some loved ones. This dish would be perfect to bring along to a gathering.

Judy's Tips: I do gently press it down after the cheese layers to settle it down in a bit since it makes the dish very full. 
I made it the day before and it was still great so it can chill longer than the 2 hours.

Printable/ Google Doc Copy

Chili Cornbread Salad

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. + chilling Bake: 20 min. + cooling

YIELD: 15 servings.


  • 1 package (8-1/2 ounces) cornbread/muffin mix

  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies, undrained

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano

  • Pinch rubbed sage

  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • 1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix

  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) pinto beans, rinsed and drained

  • 2 cans (15-1/4 ounces each) whole kernel corn, drained

  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped

  • 1 cup chopped green pepper

  • 1 cup chopped green onions

  • 10 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Prepare cornbread batter according to package directions.
  2. Stir in chilies, cumin, oregano and sage. Spread in a greased 8-in. square baking pan.
  3. Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  4. Cool.
  5. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream and dressing mix; set aside.
  6. Crumble half of the cornbread into a 13x9-in. dish.
  7. Layer with half of the beans, mayonnaise mixture, corn, tomatoes, green pepper,
  8. onions, bacon and cheese.
  9. Repeat layers (dish will be very full). Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours
Photo Credit: taste of home

Turning Canned Pork & Beans to Heavenly Baked Beans

Did you ever really wonder how to turn a lowly can of pork and beans into a heavenly dish that will have your family and friends coming back for seconds and even thirds, and asking for the recipe?  This recipe will be the one that becomes your permanent "assignment" guaranteed!

I'll talk you through how to dress up those cheap pork and beans and turn them into an easy "slow baked" heavenly side dish.  The ingredients are that perfect blend you remember your grandma making.

5-10 minutes of prep work and then let your oven or crock pot do the rest! The secret to that slow baked taste is to bake it for about 2 hours. The slow simmer of these simple ingredients will blend and meld them together and give them that old fashioned taste without all the work!  I've tweaked the  recipe    from: threemanycooks.com. and also added  in some crock pot directions.

print recipe

Turning Pork and Beans into Heavenly Baked Beans
No one will ever know you didn't start from scratch, as it will have all the full flavor and taste of slow cooked old fashioned baked beans.
  • 6-8 slices Bacon cut in half
  • 1 onion (medium) small diced
  • 1/2 green pepper small diced
  • 3 large (28 oz) cans pork & beans
  • 3/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (distilled white or apple cider)
  • 2 tsp. dry mustard or 2 Tblspn regular, dijon, or spicy brown

If Oven baking instead of Crock Pot: Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
In skillet cook bacon. For oven baking the beans cook bacon till about half way cooked and remove from pan. if Crockpot baking the beans then cook bacon all the way through and remove from pan.

In the skillet with the bacon drippings over medium heat cook onions and green peppers till tender (about 5 minutes).
In large mixing bowl combine beans, onions & peppers along with the barbecue sauce, sugar, vinegar, and mustard.

For Oven Baking:
Mix well and pour into large oven proof casserole dish.
Place bacon slices over the top of the beans.
Bake 2 hours, till sauce is thick and consistency of pancake syrup.

For Crock pot:
Mix well and pour into crock pot.
Crumble bacon and sprinkle over the top of the beans.
Place lid on crock pot and cook on low for 2-4 hours.
You may want to remove lid at the 2 hour mark and continue cooking on low if you want to thicken up the sauce a bit more, to the consistency of pancake syrup.

Yield: 12-18 Servings


Maple Glazed Brussels Sprouts in Air Fryer

 Using your air fryer to make delicious Air Fryer Vegetables is a game changer in flavor & saving time! These Maple Glazed Brussels Sprouts roasted in your air fryer are everything you want them to be.

Roasting Vegetables in an Air Fryer

My daughter found the original recipe for oven roasting from @HealthyHappyHome. We had a week late Easter Dinner and I was in charge of a Vegetable. I thought about bringing my glazed green beans which are scrumptious, and that's when she remembered she found this new recipe for glazed Brussels Sprouts, so i gave it a go! Let's just say.. it's a keeper!

I used my Ninja Foodie XL to  Air roast them, I am not a paid sponsor, this is just the item Mrs. Claus gave to my hubby for Christmas, and we are learning how to use it. This recipe will work in any airfryer, or roast in a regular oven.. Heck do this on the grill this summer! just adapt it a bit to suit yourself.

Jan's Tip: I used the leftover drippings from the bacon I cooked for the recipe to drizzle over the veggies prior to roasting, rather than the olive oil in the recipe. I love using Olive oil, but had fresh bacon drippings, and used that instead. 

                I substituted Feta Cheese for the Goat Cheese in the recipe. I just can't handle goat dairy products. But feel free to play around with this, even a Cojita would be great too.

Let's get roasting!

Printable Copy

Maple Glazed Brussels Sprouts 


  • 2 lbs. Brussels Sprouts, cut in half lengthwise.
  • 1/4 of a red onion sliced thin
  • 4 slices thick bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 Tablespoons Bacon Drippings or Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, 
  • 1 cup candied pecans


  1. Preheat air fryer to roast setting at 350 degrees.
  2. In mixing bowl stir together prepared Brussels Sprouts and Onions, drizzle on Bacon drippings or Olive Oil and stir to cover well.
  3. When air fryer indicates to add food, spread vegetables into basket / grill plate evenly. Roast for approximately 15 minutes checking half way through to stir. When Sprouts are starting to get tender but also have a lightly browned crisp to the outside, pull them out into a serving bowl.
  4. Stir in Crumbled Bacon, and Candied Pecans. Blend lightly. Drizzle with maple syrup toss lightly to cover. Finish by sprinkling on feta cheese. 
  5. Serve Warm.

To Oven Roast in traditional over: 400 degrees for 20 minutes. 



Air Fryer Steaks

 Cooking Steak in an Air Fryer is not only easy, it makes moist, juicy grilled steaks that taste outdoor grilled.

How to cook steaks in an air fryer


We use a Ninja Foodie XL.. We  are not a paid sponsor and are not receiving anything for this post, I am just sharing the name of the air fryer with you, if it helps you in working with your own air fryer at home. 

We recently split with our daughter & son -in-law, a 1/4 grass fed cow from a local farm . they dry age it,  Per seriouseats.com: " Dry aging is the process by which large cuts of beef are aged for anywhere from several weeks to several months before being trimmed and cut into steaks. It's a process that not only helps the steak develop flavor, but also makes it far more tender than it would be completely fresh"

 I don't eat steak (What??) but my hubby loves it. So he of course promptly tried out grilling it on the air fryer. The Rib Eye was over an inch thick for sure, I'd say an 1 inch and half. 

How to cook steaks in an air fryer

He used a little of our steak and burger seasoning mix, as well as some cararmelized onion seasoning, and garlic rosemary seasoning mix both from the store. He set it to Medium Well, so it had a little bit of pink, but not too much. by using the preset settings he said it turned out to perfection.

Here's how :

Printable copy


  1. Season Steak, set aside. 

  2. Turn on Ninja 

  3. Choose Grill function

  4. Choose "Preset" button 

  5. use arrows on right hand side to choose Beef

  6. use arrows on left hand side to choose level of doneness. (rare, medium, Medium well, well ) 

  7. Hit start button

  8. once add food indicator goes off, insert temperature probe into meat and place in air fryer on grill. 

  9. close lid , cooking will begin.

  10. Time is decided by your choices of temperature and doneness level.

  11. Turn off your ninja when done, and let it sit for 15 minutes or so before slicing.


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