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A Super Simple 4th of July Menu

We love the Fourth of July in our house and I always look forward to bringing a dish to family get togethers. This year, I plan to go all out (for me that means not ordering out) since I am the only one doing the cooking. Besides, it’s always great to start your own holiday traditions. In the Charleston area, we are fortunate to have amazing grocery stores, butchers, delis, bakeries and farmer’s markets where we can choose our favorite, fresh ingredients. That makes meal planning even more fun! Here are a few of the recipes I have collected for our Family Fourth of July Menu.


  1. Every cookout needs a great burger. We always go simple and put out lots of toppings so everyone can dress up their burger however they want. I get a lot of our beef from Whole Foods Market but when I get the chance, we order from a local farm and freeze it.

    I love this simple and delicious recipe from www.foodrepublic.com

     

    Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 8.59.16 AM

    photo courtesy of www.foodrepublic.com

    Best Basic Burger Recipe

    • Level of Difficulty: Easy
    • Serving Size: 1

    Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, (at least 80 % lean, a.k.a. 80/20)
    • 1 egg
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
    • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce

    Directions

    1. Preheat your grill to high.
    2. In a bowl, using your hands, combine all of the ingredients until evenly incorporated.  Form into 4 equal sized burgers.
    3. Place the burgers on the hot grill and cook for 4 to 6 minutes on each side, depending on how well done you like them.
    4. Remove from the grill and serve.

 
2. While we’re grilling, its also nice to add a little corn on the cob. My kids could eat this all day, every day. I like to pick up corn at Boone Hall Farms or one of the weekly farmer’s markets in the area, when we can. Otherwise, we hit our local Publix.
 
    This recipe for Grilled Corn from www.food.com is simple and delicious.
 
photo courtesy of www.csmonitor.com

photo courtesy of www.csmonitor.com

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Shuck corn (remove husks) and remove silk.
  2. Spray each ear with veg. spray or butter flavored Crisco. (We also like to use organic olive oil)
  3. Place directly over heat on medium-hot grill.
  4. Rotate when dark spots appear and kernels deepen in color (usually about 2 to 3 minutes) until ears are uniformly cooked (usually 10 to 12 minutes). The ear will be speckled with char spots.
  5. Add salt and serve with favorite butter or flavored butter.

 
3. No cookout is complete without the Perfect Potato Salad. I grab a bag of my favorite potatoes from the Mount Pleasant Farmer’s Market or my neighborhood Publix and get to work.
 
This recipe from www.foodiecrush.com is the best I’ve come across, even in my old family cookbooks (Sorry grandma).
Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 9.20.59 AM

photo courtesy of www.foodiecrush.com

 
How to Make the Best Potato Salad
 
SERVES: SERVES 8
Ingredients
  • 6 medium white potatoes or Yukon golds, about 2½ to 3 pounds, quartered
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 large celery stalks, diced
  • 6 green onions, diced
  • 5 hard boiled eggs, peeled
  • 1½ cups Miracle Whip or mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1½ teaspoons celery seed
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • paprika for garnish
 
Instructions
  1. Bring potatoes to a boil in large pot of cold water that’s been liberally salted. Reduce the heat to medium high or a lightly rolling boil and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a pairing knife. Drain and let cool until just able to handle.
  2. Peel the skins from the potatoes and cut into large diced pieces. Transfer the warm potatoes to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with the white vinegar and stir. Allow the potatoes to cool, about 15 minutes. Add the celery and green onions. Chop 4 of the hard boiled eggs and add to the potato mixture.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the Miracle Whip or mayonnaise, yellow mustard, celery seed and salt and pepper. Mix well into the potato mixture and season with more salt and pepper if needed. Slice the last egg into thin slices and place the slices on top of the salad. Sprinkle with paprika if desired. Chill for at least 1 hour or overnight before serving.

 
4. Of course, we need an amazing, summer inspired dessert to top it all off. And nothing tastes like summer more than strawberries. My kids beg me to make this Strawberry Poke Cake every summer and I just had to add it to my Fourth of July Menu.
 
 
This recipe from www.chefintraining.com is simple, delicious and exactly the sweet treat everyone will be waiting for. 
Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 9.48.35 AM

photo courtesy of www.chefintraining.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 box white cake mix, and ingredients it calls for
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 (3 oz) packet Strawberry Jello
  • 1 cup cold water
Topping
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip, thawed (or whipped topping)
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • Sliced Strawberries
 
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Bake cake according to box directions in a 9×13 pan.
  2. When cake is done, let cool for about 15 minutes.
  3. While cake is cooling, boil water in a medium sauce pan over medium heat on stove top.
  4. Add jello packet to boiling water and stir until jello is completely dissolved then stir in cold water.
  5. Using a fork, poke holes into cake. Pour jello evenly over the top of cake.
  6. Cover cake and place in fridge for 3 hours.
  7. Combine Cool Whip, powdered sugar and almond extract in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Spread evenly over the top of cake. Arrange sliced strawberries over the whipped topping as desired.
  8. Store covered in fridge for at least on hour and until ready to serve.
 

5. And finally….you know we need a great summer cocktail to enjoy while we celebrate!  This beautiful Fourth of July Sangria will be a crowd pleaser and a welcome reward for all your hard work! Just make sure you keep a designated driver to take you over to one of the many Fireworks displays happening around Charleston. Read more about those here.
 
This is the perfect Fourth of July Sangria recipe from www.recipegirl.com.  
photo courtesy of www.recipegirl.com

photo courtesy of www.recipegirl.com

 

RED, WHITE & BLUE SANGRIA

Love this recipe for a patriotic holiday…

2 bottles dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc is good)
1 cup triple sec
1/2 cup berry-flavored vodka
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup simple syrup (see tips below)
1 cup blueberries
1 1/2 cups hulled and sliced strawberries
1 cup raspberries
1 1/2 cups pineapple chunks

DIRECTIONS:

Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl or pitcher and stir well. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours. Serve well-chilled with a good scoop of fruit floating in each drink, or serve over ice.

TIPS:

*To make 1/2 cup simple syrup, boil 1/2 cup water and add 1/2 cup granulated white sugar. Turn heat to simmer and stir until dissolved. Turn off the heat and let cool. Now it’s simple syrup!
*Use fresh fruit for this recipe. Frozen just won’t be great.
*To make star-shaped pineapple pieces, cut long & wide pieces of pineapple off the side of the fresh fruit. use a star cutter to cut shapes. Enjoy!

 

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