When planning your 4th of July party or picnic, its best to rely on simple dishes that are easy to prepare so you can join in on the fun and enjoy the company of your friends and family – unless you’re one who relishes spending half the day in the kitchen or tending the grill. These easy recipes are deliciously healthy and satisfying and make for a memorable Independence Day celebration. My mantra: Simple = Sensational!
Let’s get this party started with two cocktails that scream summer from my fave cocktail mavens!
The Firecracker from Creative Culinary is an ultra refreshing cocktail with cool cucumber infused vodka, watermelon and lime, you would think it carries a little heat but actually it is named in honor of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a champion for gay rights. Cheers!
Being in Southern California, tequila and cocktails of Mexican origin are hugely popular, as is Hibiscus tea for its antioxidant qualities and bright, citrusy flavor – and, who knew, its great in margaritas, too! You can buy dried Hibiscus flowers from Melissa’s Produce and making the tea is a snap – just combine the hibiscus flowers and water, bring to a boil, steep for a few minutes and then strain out the flowers. Add tequila and fresh lime juice and you have yourself a Hibiscus Margarita – thank you Nancy from A Communal Table.
Beginning our 4th of July food odyssey with the main dish, let’s up our culinary quotient by serving something other than hot dogs and hamburgers – although you can definitely go all gourmet with these perennial summer grilling favorites! Click on the photos to take you to the recipe.
I’ve made this simple grilled chicken many times and everyone always loves it. You can’t go wrong – just don’t overcook the chicken! No one likes dry chicken, right? Fresh mandarin oranges or tangerines are what I prefer for the marinade, but oranges can be substituted. In fact, if you’re in a pinch, orange juice can be used – but fresh squeezed is always better!
Stephanie of Recipe Renovator shares a method that yields tender and juicy ribs with that barbecue, grilled flavor we crave! The Pork Ribs steam slowly over low heat while the sauce soaks deep into the meat, adding rich flavor. You can cook them in advance then brown them on a grill, grill pan, or under a broiler. Use your favorite barbecue sauce – I used Tessemae’s, which is all-natural and paleo-friendly. You’ll need a large roasting pan or broiler pan with a rack for this recipe. The only other item is heavy duty aluminum foil!
Erika’s Kitchen is bringing Goat Cheese Filled Strawberries to nosh on while sipping your beverage of choice. This low-carb appetizer shows off the savory side of strawberries and brings out their natural acidity. I love the combination of sweet, fragrant strawberries and creamy cheese flecked with minced rosemary and lemon zest and it’s so easy to make. All you need are five ingredients, a paring knife, and some practice with a piping bag. If you have any guests who are following a low-carb diet or are gluten free or vegetarian, they will really appreciate this simple snack.
And what about this slice of food art by Valentina of Cooking on the Weekends? Plain watermelon slices are so boring to me now! Guaranteed big and little kids alike will be all over this Watermelon Pizza – a totally refreshing snack made gourmet with more fresh fruit and a sprinkle of finger limes.
We’ve got the appetizers and snacks covered. Now, what about sides?
Doesn’t every summer picnic or party HAVE to have potato salad – it’s the American way! Well, Mimi Avocado has a Creamy Three-Potato Salad that will make your day!
With a departure from the red, white & and blue theme, Dorothy of Shockingly Delicious, prepares kale in all kinds of shocking and surprisingly delicious ways. Guests on special diets or simply healthy eaters will appreciate this Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad with Dates and Almonds. Don’t believe what you hear or read – kale is still going strong! All the flavor profiles are here: sweet, salty, smoky and slightly bitter are in this fresh raw kale salad that actually gets better the longer it sits!
Greg from Sippity Sup calls his Strawberry Snap Pea Salad a hybrid because it sports an unexpected combination of fruit and veg, but it’s not the strawberries and snap peas that make this salad so unique, it’s the dressing. Which isn’t so much a vinaigrette in the traditional sense as it is a rustically chopped relish made with oil-cured black olives and spicy Calabrian chiles from Southern Italy. If you’re looking for a few culinary-related laughs, his commentary preceding the recipe is worth a read, too!
And don’t forget corn – America’s most beloved vegetable. Must have grilled corn on the 4th! Cathy of She Paused For Thought has a fresh Grilled Corn, Tomato and Basil Salad that rounds out your all-American celebration perfectly. It travels well for picnics, potlucks and fabulous along side of your favorite BBQ chicken.
And now, it’s time for dessert. What is more American than Apple Pie? Although apples are always available in stores, with cinnamon and warm spices it really seems like more of an autumn dessert while fresh-picked berry pies are more summery – especially with ice cream melting alongside. Your guests adhering to a gluten-free diet will appreciate this lovely Blueberry Pie from Recipe Renovator that includes both a traditional pie crust and a gluten-free crust recipe.
Cynthia of What A Girl Eats graces the party with this Strawberry Fool. Being British in origin, it seems appropriate to toast to our independence with this super easy, last minute dessert! Just 3 ingredients and 10 minutes are all you need to have Raspberry Fools chilling in the fridge for a BBQ the next day!
Cheers to a safe and fun-filled 4th!
Since 1904, Huntington Beach has hosted a 4th of July Parade that is the largest west of the Mississippi.
A day filled with family, friends, fireworks, American spirit and patriotism – not to be missed!
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