July 16th, 2015

Easy Marinated Olives

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Ball Park. The opinions and text are all mine. There are so many reasons to throw a back yard party during the summer. Whether you’re celebrating a summer birthday or holiday, or just want to get together with friends, it’s a great time to break out the grill and entertain guests. One of my favorite ways to host a simple, relaxed backyard party is to plan a picnic-style get together.


The best part about having a picnic in your own back yard is that you can use the grill! We are big hot dog fans at my house. You might even say we’re hot dog connoisseurs, so we always include hot dogs in our summer grilling plans. Our new favorite for back yard grilling is Ball Park Park’s Finest hot dogs. Even my 10-year old noticed a difference in flavor the first time we tried them, and with delicious flavors like Jalapeno Cheddar, Slow Cooked Chili, Signature Seasoned, Slow Smoked Hickory and Cracked Dijon Mustard, what’s not to love?


These hot dogs are loaded with big, bold flavors and premium seasoning. Even better, they are made with 100 percent beef and contain no artificial preservatives, no artificial flavors, colors or fillers, and there are no nitrates or nitrites added.  Ball Park Park’s Finest are a premium beef hot dog that will instantly elevate your grilling experience.


Of course, you’ll want some premium picnic food to go along with your premium  hot dogs. I love serving simple but elegant picnic fare like cheese and crackers, fresh fruit and marinated olives. You can sometimes find marinated olives at the supermarket, but they’re so simple to make, I thought I’d share my recipe.


Easy Marinated Olives

Preparation 10 mins Total Time 10 mins


  • 1 (6 oz.) can black olives, drained
  • 1 (6 oz.) can green olives, drained
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt


  1. Place olives in a shallow 9-inch square glass baking dish.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour mixture over olives and toss to coat well.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Allow to come to room temperature before serving. Store, tightly covered, for up to one week in the refrigerator.


Hummus and fancy dips are also great additions to a picnic menu, along with fresh veggies and pita chips or bread. And I always like to include some homemade chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Whatever you decide to serve, with a picnic theme, baskets are the way to go. Use them wherever you can: for chips, cookies, fruit, or to hold your hot dog buns, paper goods and condiments. We typically enjoy a lot of different condiments and toppings on our hot dogs, but the flavor of the Ball Park Park’s Finest hot dogs was so good, we just used a bit of ketchup and mustard.


Once you have your menu set, you just need to provide some blankets for your guests to sit on. It’s a picnic, so there’s no need to worry about having enough tables and chairs for everyone. If you have a few wooden crates, they also make fun picnic tables. And if you’ll be out later in the evening, string up some white lights to add to the atmosphere.


If you need a good reason to host a back yard party, Ball Park and a team of grill masters will be in New York City on August 13 attempting to break the world record  for the longest running group BBQ at the Finest Grillathon using Ball Park Park’s Finest hot dogs. Why not host your own mini backyard grillathon and join them in their attempt to break a Guinness World Record?


My boys love reading the annual edition of The Guinness Book of World Records. They’re always trying to come up with ways to earn a spot in the book. The fun thing about this world record attempt is that you can be a part of it too! If you think you have what it takes to join the world-record breaking grilling team, submit a video of yourself grilling your finest hot dog creation and tell Ball Park brand all about your passion for grilling hot dogs and why you deserve a spot on the team and you could win a trip for two to New York city this August! You can enter for your chance to win by visiting www.FoodNetwork.com/finestgrillathon.  Good luck and happy grilling!