4th of July Recipe Roundup

4th of July Recipe Roundup ~ The Way to His Heart

The 4th of July is fast approaching and I wanted to share some of my favorite recipes. Really, these can be made all summer long, but the 4th usually involves large gatherings so food is a plenty! I chose these recipes because they are easy to make and most can be made well in advance. The 4th is supposed to be about kicking back and relaxing, so no slaving over the oven and grill. I hope you all have a great 4th of July weekend, filled with fun, family and friends, beautiful weather, and lots of good food! Enjoy!

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Appetizers

Every good party has to have snacks while you’re waiting for the main event to finish grilling. I usually love to have some chips and dips, fresh fruit and veggies cut up, or one of these. Keep it simple and tasty when it comes to summer barbecues!

Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes ~ These are so delicious and easy to prepare in advance. If you like tomatoes, you’ll love these!

Cowboy Caviar ~ This has become a staple at most of our barbecues. Just watch out, it’s so tasty and filling that you’ll find yourself eating the whole dish!

Mini Caprese Bites ~ Another simple, fresh item that is easy to prepare in advance and offers a nice snack without ruining your appetite for dinner. This is the time of year to enjoy caprese as the tomatoes and basil are fresh!

Lobster Roll Cups ~ A great way to get a taste of New England. These can be made in advance and are perfect for a party as they give you a bit of lobster roll indulgence without breaking the bank!

Bruschetta Classic Tomato Topping ~ Another great dip option that highlights the fresh summer harvest. So many use it for indoor parties, but I love enjoying this on a summer’s night.

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Beverages

Every good party deserves some good beverages! While a few bottles of your favorite beer or wine is great and you can never go wrong with a classic lemonade, I love to have one special drink mixed up as well, .

Strawberry Rhubarb Italian Soda ~ Sweet and tart, fresh and bubbly. What’s not to love?

Tequila Watermelon Refresco ~ This can be made for adults only or leave out the tequila for a fun non-alcoholic drink for all!

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Do It Yourself

Make some of these items yourself for an extra delicious barbecue this summer. Everyone knows homemade is always better, but did you know you can make these barbecue staples? The best part is you can make them in advance!

Hamburger Buns ~ If a loaf of fresh baked bread is desired by all, then why not make your own hamburger rolls as well? Doesn’t that amazing burger deserve it?

Marshmallows ~ That’s right. I said make your own marshmallows. Once you’ve done it you’ll never go back. These are amazing, don’t burn your mouth when you eat them, and will have everyone coming back for more!

Montreal Steak Seasoning ~ Don’t reach for the pre-made stuff. Use these simple pantry staples and  whip up a great steak or potato side dish in no time.

Ketchup ~ While the stuff in the squeeze bottle is easy and expected, why not give homemade ketchup a try?

Ranch Dressing ~ Take advantage of all of the herbs that are growing this time of year and whip up a batch of this easy ranch dressing. Your veggies will thank you for it!

Light Italian Dressing ~ Please, skip that bottled stuff and skip all of those unneeded extra ingredients. You’ll thank me.

Grilled Corn Dressing ~ OK, one more but this dressing is fun and adds a different flavor for your backyard spread.

BC’s Barbecue Sauce ~ Every good BBQ needs a great barbecue sauce. This is easy to make, lasts for weeks, and appeals to all palates!

Refrigerator Dill Pickles ~ These pickles can be made quickly and don’t require a long sit time. Add some flavorful crunch alongside your main dish.

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Side Dishes

While the main event is always talked about when it comes to barbecues, I think that the side dishes are the ones every one really loves. Everyone has a favorite they love to bring or hope someone brings. These are dishes that are a plenty on a picnic table and everyone loves to grab a bite of each.

Confetti Coleslaw ~ Make it pretty and festive and change up the classic a bit.

Creamy Cucumber Salad ~ One of my favorites, this sweet and creamy cucumber salad is perfect on a hot summer’s day.

Caprese Orzo Salad ~ Want a change from the potato or pasta based salads? Go no further! This salad is fresh and light, perfect for an already heavy meal!

Grilled Bell Peppers Stuffed with Mozzarella ~ Leave a little room on the grill for these and everyone will thank you. What’s not to love about warm, gooey mozzarella with bread and grilled bell pepper?

Long Island Potato Salad ~ A classic in my family and barbecues growing up.

Dijon Potato Salad ~ A little tangy way to mix up potato salad.

Lobster & Potato Salad ~ Up the ante on your classic potato salad. This can be a side or a meal!

Mom’s Macaroni Salad ~ My favorite growing up! If it wasn’t macaroni and cheese, it was this creamy macaroni salad.

Zesty Grilled Veggies ~ A fun and tasty way to get your veggies in!

Shrimp Salad ~ A great way to add some seafood to your day and skip the pasta and potatoes!

Montreal Seasoned New Potatoes ~ These slightly spicy grilled potatoes are a perfect side dish to any BBQ.

Tropical Butternut Squash Salad ~ A great, fun side dish that probably no one else will bring. I love the bursts of flavor from the cilantro, pineapple, and cilantro in here!

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Main Dishes

The main event for a 4th of July party doesn’t have to always be burgers, hot dogs, and ribs, but it’s okay if it is too. Here are some of my other favorites that I hope you’ll enjoy!

Spiedes ~ This is an upstate NY classic that you will want to try. Customarily made with lamb meat, you can also use this marinade on pork and chicken.

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches ~ Make this delicious, tender meat ahead of time and assemble your sandwiches once you’re ready.

Chipotle Lime-Glazed Shrimp ~ These are tasty on their own, topping a salad or a steak.

Kalbi Beef ~ Please the crowd with this easy Korean marinade that will have them coming back for more!

Chipotle Barbecue Chicken ~ Kick your barbecue sauce up a notch with this awesome chipotle barbecue sauce.

Grilled Oregano Shrimp ~ Shrimp are always a favorite when grilling since they take mere minutes to cook. These are definitely great on their own or as an accompaniment.

Lobster BLT ~ Who says you have to grill on the 4th? There isn’t a law and if you want to pack some sandwiches, shouldn’t they be a little indulgent?

Hawaiian Chicken Sandwiches ~ These are my family’s favorite grilled chicken sandwiches and for good reason. A sweet marinade, melted provolone, and a grilled pineapple slice hit all the right notes!

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Desserts

Hope you saved room for desserts because everyone loves to bring something sweet to a barbecue. Whether it’s some sliced watermelon, popsicles, or some festive pies and cakes, the 4th of July definitely requires a little dessert!

Red, White & Blueberry Salad ~ Don’t want that added sugar after a large meal? Enjoy this fresh, festive fruit salad.

Grilled Skillet Strawberry Pie ~ Put this pie on the grill after you’ve served your entree and relax while it bakes.

S’mores ~ S’mores just got better by using all homemade ingredients. Tell someone to bring the chocolate bars because you’ll be making your own graham crackers and marshmallows. S’mores CAN taste better!

S’mores Cupcakes ~ Want a make ahead s’more? Make these adorable S’more cupcakes and wow everyone at the party.

Star Spangled Jello ~ This always impresses and is really festive.

Key Lime Ice ~ Want something little, yet sweet? This sweet, yet tart shaved ice will satisfy you on a hot day.

Key Lime Cupcakes ~ Love citrus flavor, but need something more substantial before you watch the fireworks? These key lime cupcakes with an awesome filling will definitely be a crowd favorite.

No-Bake Fresh Strawberry Pie ~ Pie just got easier with this delicious no-bake strawberry pie!

Strawberry Ice Cream Brownie Cupcakes ~ These are an oldie and a goodie around these parts. Ice cream meets brownie in an easy to eat way. Make plenty because most people will want two!

 

 

BC’s Barbecue Sauce

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I think one of my favorite parts of summer foods is the condiments. I know, silly, but really when you think about it you use so many and you interchange them, mix them up and give new life to them. You can add the seasoning that seems to be popular at the moment. I’m looking at your chipotle and sriracha!

Case in point, you have a slab of ribs. What you do and don’t put on them makes the world of difference. Slather them in a honey or brown sugar barbecue sauce and you have some lip smacking sweet ribs. Tangy Carolina mustard sauce or a classic barbecue sauce and you’re eating completely different ribs.

With so many nights to grill out in the summer you can stick to a few tried and true or venture out and play around a bit. This barbecue sauce recipe is what I would label a “classic” sauce. It’s not overly sweet or tangy. It really is a middle of the road sauce, but hits all of the key notes at one point or another. It is a great one to have under your belt and then you can play around with it if you’d like or leave it alone. I love it because after it’s been cooked, but before it’s been grilled on foods, it has a bit of a tangy, spicy kick. Once it’s been grilled on to food though, it takes on a thicker, sweet sauce. So, since I can never have enough barbecue sauce, I tend to dip some of my meat into the sauce as well.

As Ina Garten says, this recipe contains a lot of ingredients, but they are all that I have in my pantry any how and the recipe is pretty easy so it’s not anything you should shy away from. Chop and onion and some garlic and pour in the rest and leave it on the stove for 30 minutes. You’ve got yourself enough barbecue sauce for a good portion of the summer!

If you’re unsure, the recipe can easily be halved and still leave you with plenty of sauce for quite a few meals.

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BC’s Barbecue Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (1 large onion)
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1 cup (10 oz) tomato paste
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over low heat, add the onions, and cook for 10 t 15 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add all of the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Use the sauce immediately or pour into a container and refrigerate. Will last for weeks in the refrigerator.

Yields 1 1/2 quarts

Source: Barefoot Contessa Foolproof

Lobster & Potato Salad

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The temps are climbing and it is time to bring on some great summer foods. Of course, having lived most of my life on the East coast, summer equals seafood. Living in Maine, that means bring on the lobster! I’m a lobster purest and I’ve said it before, frankly the best way to eat one is with some warm butter, but if you want to switch things up a bit, like I do from time to time, it’s always nice to have a few other recipes up your sleeve.

This recipe calls for picked lobster. I made the mistake of cringing at the price of packed lobster meat, the tourists have arrived therefore the high prices have too. I decided to just buy the lobsters steamed and pick them myself. Well, I only saved $10 and while I’ve gotten good at picking them pretty quickly, it just isn’t worth it. So, do the math and decide for yourself. Me, I’d rather have that time back to sit on the hammock. Granted, I would have probably been cleaning or hanging out with the kids, but still.

Anyways, this is a really fresh salad. The flavors are bright, although pretty strong so taste as you go. It really does balance well with the lobster meat and potatoes. Make sure to use a nice white wine otherwise you’ll just ruin the poor dish. You’re using lobster, so don’t go cheap now! While I tend to love lemon and use a lot of it with seafood, I don’t always add a full lemon worth of juice. Taste as you go.

This is lovely for entertaining, but simple enough to enjoy for a weeknight meal. It can be used as either a side salad for a barbecue or the main event. You can enjoy leftovers, but the flavors will intensify.

Lobster & Potato Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs unpeeled small Yukon Gold potatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 Tbsp Champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 Tbsp drained capers
  • 1 cup thinly sliced scallions (6 to 8 scallions)
  • 1/2 cup (1/4-inch) diced celery
  • 1/2 cup (1/4-inch) diced red onion
  • 1 1/2 lbs cooked lobster meat, 1-inch diced (about 4 to 5 lobsters)
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh tarragon

Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water by 1 inch. Add 1 tablespoon sat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes, until just tender. Drain in a colander, cover the colander with a clean kitchen towel, and allow the potatoes to steam for 5 to 10 minutes. Cut them in quarters or halves, depending on their size, and place them in a large bowl.

Meanwhile, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, garlic, egg yolk, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. While whisking, slowly pour in the olive oil, making an emulsion. Stir in the wine and capers.

While the potatoes are still very warm, pour half of the vinaigrette on the potatoes and toss them gently, allowing them to soak up the vinaigrette. Stir in the scallions, celery, red onion, and lobster and add enough vinaigrette to moisten. Reserve any remaining vinaigrette. Add the zest and juice of the lemon, the tarragon, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and toss carefully. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to blend. Taste for seasonings and add more vinaigrette, if necessary. Serve at room temperature.

Source: Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa Foolproof

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On one of the warmest days so far, I had scheduled myself to make cupcakes. It has been a really long time since I’ve made them and I felt like we, and you all, needed some. I thought to myself, “Hey, the readers need to see some more delicious baked goods like back in the old days.” So, it was all for you, I promise! I dropped my daughter off at school and my little guy and I got started in the kitchen. I made the cupcakes and then realized I forgot to add the one ingredient that was really going to make these cupcakes pop. I could blame the toddler, but this mistake was all on me. I tossed half of the cupcakes in the freezer (because I will be making those other cupcakes again next week) and figured out how to save this situation.

I was going through some saved frosting recipes and I happened upon this Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting. I had everything I needed, except heavy cream. Sigh. I had been halted by a whopping two tablespoons of heavy cream. The next day, with heavy cream in hand, I made these adorable cupcakes. I loved the way they turned out and my teaser on Instagram and Facebook showed me that everyone thought they were cute too. Everyone was fooled when they realized that this wasn’t ice cream, but frosting! I think I am going to play around with this concept some more in the future!

The frosting is made a little thicker than normal, so that it sits up on the cupcake nicely. You could easily thin it out, but I wouldn’t go too far because there is something about having it thicker and it mimicking ice cream. This is a pretty forgiving recipe, especially if you have worked with butter cream before. Play around with the peppermint extract and food coloring to get what you desire. The cupcake recipe I used was one of my favorites and yields 30, but the frosting yields 14, so please keep that in mind.

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Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (or 2 sticks) of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
  • 2 drops green food coloring
  • pinch of salt, as needed
  • 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips

In bowl of stand-mixer, beat butter on medium speed for 30 to 60 seconds or until smooth. Add sugar, cream, peppermint, and food coloring and beat on high speed for about 3 minutes. Adjust frosting to your liking (more sugar for thicker, cream for thinner, and salt if too sweet). Stir in chocolate chips by hand.

Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the frosting and place on top of cupcake.

Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days, if they last that long!

Frosting yields 14 heavily frosted cupcakes.

Source: Chocolate Cupcakes, Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting ~ Sally’s Baking Addiction