What ya’ll doin’ for Independence Day? If you are like 80 percent of other Americans, you will likely be picnicking or BBQing with family and friends to celebrate our freedoms. The only thing needed for a successful gathering is good food. We’ve got a few must-try recipes for you to step up your game.
Hot Dog Bar or Burger Bar
There’s a good chance you’ll be eating a hot dog. Turns out Americans consume 150 million hot dogs on the 4th of July each year. Wowzers! Hot dogs and hamburgers are pretty much all-American, so it makes sense to have these staples this time of year. Plus they are pretty easy to throw together. But why not add some fun toppings to your main course? Have a favorite burger or dog from a restaurant? Try a copycat. Or, just prep your favorites. I like to grill onions and mushrooms, have a spread of different cheeses, and sliced avocado — you can’t go wrong! Click here for some cool ideas to top your dogs and burgers.
Sweet Potato Fries with Taco Seasoning
I know, it might sound like a strange combination, but it’s sooooooo good! And super simple. There won’t be any left by the time fireworks begin. Take a large bag of frozen sweet potato fries and put them in a large bowl. In a separate small bowl, add a 1/2 cup of oil (whatever you have, I usually use extra virgin olive oil, but vegetable oil will work) and whisk a packet of taco seasoning. Add mixture to bowl of fries and toss until coated. Lay fries on a cookie sheet and follow the cooking instructions on the fry bag. For some added kick, serve with blue cheese dressing, jalapeno ranch or even a spicy mayonnaise.
Balsamic Grilled Cherry, Blueberry, Goat Cheese, and Candied Hazelnut Salad
I will forewarn you, this isn’t the easiest salad, but once you take the first bite you will reap the fruits of your labor. It is very delicious and I must say that it’s even won the hearts of some, shall we say, less adventurous eaters. Although the ingredients can be spendy, it’s a nice salad for a special occasion. And it’s perfectly festive with the red white and blue. I highly recommend trying it. Find the recipe here.
Corn, Avocado and Cilantro Salad
This is always a favorite in my house. This delicious and easy side dish doesn’t take too long to whip up. In fact, you can cheat by sautéing a bag of defrosted frozen corn (something that I may have done several times, especially in the winter months when an ear of corn is hard to come by… just sayin’). Unlike the picture above, I cube the avocado and gently toss throughout corn. It goes great with any grilled meat — perfect for a BBQ. Find the recipe here.
Apple Crisp with Dried Cranberries and Blueberries
I’ve been making this recipe since my first baking class in the second grade! I kid you not. That should tell you how easy it is — If an 8-year-old can make it, so can you! Over the years I have figured out how versatile it is, too. I add dried cranberries and blueberries (perfect for the 4th of July) and sometimes substitute peaches or nectarines for apples (you could use white peaches or white nectarines carrying on the festive red, white and blue.) If you are anything like me and go crazy over desserts like this, double the crumble topping. Don’t forget to add a scoop of French vanilla ice cream. Yeah! That’s what I’m talkin’ about!
4 cups sliced, pared and cored baking apples (about 6 medium)
*I use any type I have on hand
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup soft butter
Layer apples in a greased baking dish. Add dried cranberries and blueberries on top if you wish. Mix all other ingredients until crumbly. Spread mixture over apples. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool slightly, serve in individual dish and top with French vanilla ice cream.
Nothing is more festive than a celebratory drink. And this pinky-red beverage is the perfect addition to any backyard BBQ. It’s light, not too sugary and a little different than what people might expect. It’s good by itself or add a little vodka for some extra R&R. Spruce it up with a blueberry or starfruit garnish to make it extra patriotic. Find the recipe here.
Tell us. What’s your favorite recipe to share at a backyard BBQ?