by Kristen Bagwell
As usual, the 4th of July has me thinking "hmm, what can we eat?" Our July 4 favorites range from our favorite cookout tried-and-trues to desserts and snacks that seem patriotic (sometimes this is a bit of a stretch...you'll see).
Usually we meet somewhere in the middle, preparing our normal grilled favorites and mixing in some red, white, and blue. Below are some side-dish and dessert recipes that may provide inspiration...we've got everything from traditional apple pie to red, white and blue jello. Enjoy!
Traditional Potato Salad (I like yukon gold or red-skinned potatoes for this recipe)
2 pounds potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (optional)
3 hard-cooked eggs (optional)
1 small celery stalk
1/4 cup chopped sweet pickle (or 3 tbsp relish)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
1/2 to 1 tsp of paprika (to taste)
generous dash of celery salt
Wash and quarter potatoes (do not peel). Place potatoes in a pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer, stirring to ensure even cooking, until a thin-bladed paring knife or a metal skewer inserted into a potato can be removed with no resistance, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and drop back into hot pot. Set aside.
Layer the potatoes in a bowl, seasoning with vinegar (optional), salt and pepper as you go. Cut eggs, celery and pickle in 1/4-inch dice and thinly slice scallions. Add to potatoes, along with parsley. Stir in mayonnaise and mustard until everything is combined. Chill, covered, before serving.
Deviled eggs with pickle relish
6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut lengthwise
3 tablespoons Light Mayonnaise or Salad Dressing
1½ tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Paprika for garnish
Pop out (remove) the egg yolks to a small bowl and mash with a fork. Add the mayonnaise, onion, relish, dijon mustard, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Fill the empty egg white shells with the mixture and sprinkle lightly with paprika.
Cover lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to one day before serving.
Red, white and blue tossed salad
This is an easy twist on the lettuce wedge many of us enjoy in our favorite restaurants.
One head of iceberg lettuce
One-two large slicing tomatoes or a pint of grape tomatoes
6-12 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (depending on how much bacon flavor you'd like)
1/4 to 1/2 cup of blue cheese dressing, to taste
Wash and thinly slice the whole head of iceberg lettuce, spin or pat dry. In a large mixing bowl, add lettuce, tomato, and bacon. Top with dressing and toss gently. Garnish with extra sliced tomatoes and crumbled blue cheese. (Top this with sliced grilled chicken and you have a meal!)
"Old Settlers" Baked Beans
As seen on www.allrecipes.com
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound bacon, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 (16 ounce) can pork and beans, undrained
1 (16 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (16 ounce) can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
In a large skillet, cook beef, bacon and onion until meat is done and onion is tender. Drain any fat. Combine all remaining ingredients except beans. Add to meat mixture; mix well. Stir in beans. Place in a greased 2-1/2-qt. casserole. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees F for 1 hour or until heated through.
Caramel Apple Pie (not exactly traditional, but definitely delicious!)
Prepared crusts for 9 inch double crust deep dish pie
3/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 cups thinly sliced apples
1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping
1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Whipped cream, cool whip, or ice cream, if desired
Preheat oven and cookie sheet to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Stir together the sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. Toss with the apples in a mixing bowl. Pour the mixture into the first unbaked pie shell then drizzle the caramel topping over the top. Sprinkle with pecans. Place the second pie shell over this and flute the edges. Cut slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape then place on preheated cookie sheet. Bake 45-50 minutes, until golden brown. Cool for 1 hour before slicing. Top with whipped topping or vanilla ice cream, if desired.
Red, white and blue flag cake
This is as easy as it gets and is pictured above (photo courtesy of www.allrecipes.com). Simply make a yellow cake from your favorite packaged mix or recipe. Bake it in a 9 x 13" pan and cool. Turn out onto a serving tray and let cool completely. "Frost" with whipped cream or whipped topping, then create a flag design by laying sliced strawberries in a striped pattern, and adding a square of blueberries in the top left corner. (We typically use one 8-oz container of cool whip but sometimes you have to stretch it. Then we purchase a pint of blueberries and 2 pints of strawberries, with a few of each left over.)
All-American Peach Cobbler
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 & 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup skim milk
3 lbs peeled/sliced peaches, or 2 bags frozen peaches (thawed), or four (15 ounce) cans sliced peaches packed in juice, drained and juice reserved
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Pour the melted margarine into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and white sugar. Stir in 1 cup of the reserved liquid from the peaches and the milk until smooth. Pour the batter evenly into the bottom of the dish over the margarine. Do not stir. Spoon peaches over the batter. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top is golden.
Red, white, and blue jello salad
One 3-oz package blue jello and one 3-oz package of red jellow, prepared using the "jiggler" recipe
Two cups diced white fruit: pears, apples, or anything else you would like
Generous squeeze of lemon juice if you're using fresh fruit
Optional: other red and blue fruits, whipped cream for garnish
Prepare jello and pour into two separate 9 x 13" dishes. Let set. When firm, slice into small cubes and remove from pans into a large bowl. Dice fresh fruit (or drain canned) and toss with lemon to prevent browning. Gently toss with jello cubes. (If you are adding additional fruits, do that now.) Dish into individual serving bowls and garnish with whipped cream.
One other easy dessert idea:
Make or buy a strawberry pie (untopped) and top with fresh blueberries in a star shape, or use canned whipped cream and blueberries to make a flag design on top.
What are some of your red, white and blue (or traditional) favorites? Share them with us in the comments section below!