Photo by Cheramie Sonnier -- Easy Waldorf Salad

“Picnics, Potlucks, & Porch Parties: Recipes, Menus, and Ideas for Every Occasion” by Aimee Broussard, Quail Ridge Press, $19.95, 224 pages, paperback

Sizzling — that’s about all one can say about our summertime weather. Who wants to do much cooking when the high temperatures leave you feeling scorched? But, with the upcoming Fourth of July weekend, many folks will be planning picnics or other outdoor get-togethers with friends and family.

If you’re looking for some ideas to create a fun — and cool — celebration, take a look at Baton Rouge food blogger Aimee Broussard’s new cookbook. She offers plenty of tips and easy recipes in “Picnics, Potlucks, & Porch Parties: Recipes, Menus, and Ideas for Every Occasion.”

Broussard, the 2013 Dixie Crystals Cookie Bake-Off champion, fills her cookbook with some of her family’s favorite recipes and popular recipes from her blog. She also includes tips for becoming “an overnight hostess success with minimal effort” plus 10 menu plans.

Like most home cooks, Broussard sometimes makes use of convenience products such as canned soups and canned biscuits.

Among her book’s recipes are Pimento Cheese Poppers, Spicy Avocado Bacon & Egg Sandwich Stackers, Easy Crawfish Étouffée, Beer Can Chicken, Tipsy Peach Tea, Spinach Madeleine Remix, and Blueberry Pecan Cobbler. Many recipes are illustrated with full-color photographs taken by Broussard.

Some of the recipes needed closer editing. For example, she includes a chapter of slow cooker recipes, but fails to indicate what size slow cooker to use.

Broussard suggests a “patriotic porch party” menu that includes a watermelon and cucumber salad. But, since I already had everything on hand for making her Easy Waldorf Salad, I decided to test it instead. I think it, too, would be a good option for that porch party.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July.

Cheramie Sonnier is a food writer and columnist. Contact her at, and follow her on Twitter, @CheramieSonnier.