The Fourth of July is such an easy holiday to celebrate. The theme, colors, and even lots of traditional foods and recipes are built right in. The best July 4th recipes should be quick and easy, since you don't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen! It's easy to make your backyard or picnic spot the most colorful in your town for entertaining since red, white and blue accessories are everywhere!.
July 4th Party Tips
- When you invite family and friends to your bash, make sure you specify this is a casual, active party!
- Decorations can include a red, white and blue tablecloth and napkins, casual pottery, candles in the holiday colors (my favorite), and of course lots of flags.
- If you are hosting this party at your home on July 4th, think about lighting after dark. Sitting on a patio or porch on a warm summer night, waiting for the fireworks to begin after eating fabulous party food, is one of the highlights of summer.
- Tiny white lights add a wonderful touch, as do candles, tiki torches, paper lanterns, and oil lamps. Make sure you have great outdoor games for the kids and adults. Badminton, croquet, horseshoes, lawn bowling, touch football and water games add to the fun.
- In case of inclement weather, set up a picnic on the floor of your living room! Kids of all ages will love this celebration.
For the greatest ease, and so you also have a wonderful time at your party, all of these recipes can be made ahead - except for the grilled meats. The potato and pasta salad recipes are actually best if made a day ahead, if you have the time. The Peanut Parfait Dessert and other chilled desserts are also best made ahead. Choose one or more recipes from the Red, White and Blue menu to add some patriotic flavor to any of the other menus too.
Fourth of July Party Menus
Feel free to substitute any deli foods for any of these recipes - remember, the key is to enjoy your own party! Set a lovely table, bring out all the food, and fire up the grill. Usually at any party, one person loves to be the grillmaster, so that job can be crossed off your list!
Food safety is always on my mind, especially when I'm entertaining. Here are the rules for summer.
- Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
- The general rule is to not leave foods out at room temperature for more than two hours.
- Steamy summer weather changes this advice! If it's very hot, foods should be out of the fridge for only one hour. This way everything tastes better, stays fresher, and you can relax knowing everyone will have a great time.
- Make sure if you are taking any of these menus to a picnic spot that everything is well packed in a clean cooler, with lots of ice in double plastic bags. (See How to Pack a Picnic Basket.)
- Place the food that is most perishable (the meat, in this case) on the bottom. Don't place any uncooked food on top of cooked dishes, and remember as you grill the meat to serve the finished steaks on a clean platter to avoid cross-contamination.
One of my best Independence Day memories is swimming with my family at one of Minneapolis' many lakes, then going to my grandparents' house for a great meal and a perfect view of fireworks from their backyard.
Remember to enjoy yourself as you ooh and aah over the fireworks, well sated by your delicious meal. And have a wonderful and safe Fourth!