Easy July 4 Picnic Fare

Be foodie but not fussy with these easy to make and even easier to eat backyard party faves!

Summertime is a time for hanging out with family and friends, for gathering together and enjoying the weather and everyone's company. And while maybe those gatherings are a bit smaller-scaled than normal right now, we're slowly getting back to "normal." And nothing says summer fun more than celebrating the 4th of July--even if we are staying six feet apart. So whether you are having family time at the cabin or maybe doing a B-Y-O-D(inner) and backyard party with the neighbors, why not try a few of these easy-going festive Fourth recipes?



Devilishly Good Bacon-Avocado Eggs


• One dozen hard-boiled eggs, cooled, peeled, and cut in half
• 2 large avocados, mashed
• 4 tablespoons cooked and crumbled bacon 
• 2 tablespoons jalapeno, finely diced
• 2 tablespoons red onion, finely diced
• 4 tablespoons diced tomato
• 2 tablespoons lime juice 
• 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
• Salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste
• Pinch chili powder (for garnish)


1. Scoop out egg yolks and mash.
2. Mix yolks with avocado, bacon, jalapeno, onion, tomato, lime juice, and cilantro.
3. Season filling to taste with salt, pepper, and cayenne.
4. Place a tablespoon of the mixture back into the holes left by the yolks in the eggs.
5. Garnish with leftover bacon and/or cilantro leaf or a pinch of chili powder.

Adapted from Closet Cooking

Berry Blast Watermelon Pizza

 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
• 1/4 cup softened cream cheese
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
• Watermelon slice, 1" thick
• Fresh berries, for garnish
• Fresh mint, for garnish
• Toasted coconut (if desired), for garnish

1. In a small bowl, mix ricotta, cream cheese, honey, and vanilla together until combined.

2. Spread mixture onto slice of watermelon and top with berries, mint, and toasted coconut. Serve immediately.

Magical Mains

Moonlight Knight BBQ Chicken

Chicken Dry Rub
• 1 tablespoon dried thyme
• 1 tablespoon dried oregano
• 1 tablespoon ground cumin
• 1 tablespoon paprika
• 1 teaspoon onion powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon pepper
• 10 chicken thighs (about 3 lb.)*
Moonlight Knight White BBQ Sauce**
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
• 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 1 tablespoon coarse ground pepper
• 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons horseradish
1. Combine dry rub seasoning ingredients. Rinse chicken, and pat dry; rub mixture evenly over chicken.
2. Seal chicken in a re-sealable plastic freezer bag and chill for 4 hours.
3. While chicken is marinating, make sauce. To make sauce, combine all White Knight ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir until completely blended.
4. Remove chicken from bag, discarding bag.
5. Grill, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat 8 to 10 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 180°.
6. Remove from heat and serve with Moonlight Knight White BBQ Sauce. 
*4 chicken leg quarters (about 3 lb.) may be substituted for chicken thighs. Increase cooking time to 20 to 25 minutes on each side.

 **Sauce will last up to a week in a sealed, refrigerated container.

Adapted from myrecipes.com



Grilled Margherita Pizza

 Pizza dough (make your own, or use store-bought!)
• Pizza sauce*
• Roma tomato slices
• Olive oil
• Fresh sliced mozzerella
• Fresh basil, torn
1. Preheat and oil the grill.
2. Roll out pizza dough on a surface lightly oiled with olive oil. Being careful not to tear it, stretch the dough out…make a circle, a wedge, an oval, a rectangle, or a gingerbread man…whatever shape you like! 
3. Place the dough directly on the grill grates over med-low heat. 
4. Grill the dough until the bottom is crisp and has a slight char. Carefully flip the dough over using a spatula and immediately top the pizza with sauce and ingredients. 
5. Close/cover the grill and cook until the cheese is melted and beginning to bubble.
*Some people prefer an olive-oil base for their Margherita ‘za—in that case, simply omit sauce step, drizzle top of pizza with olive oil, and then add the rest of toppings.


Delicious Desserts

Fireworks Confetti Cake Shake


(Makes one shake)
• 1½ cup vanilla ice cream
• ½ cup cold milk
• 2 Tablespoons yellow or white dry cake mix
• 2 Tablespoons red, white, and blue sprinkles or nonpareils
• Toppings: Whatever you like! More sprinkles, whipped cream, extra scoop of ice cream, Maraschino cherries…or ALL OF THE ABOVE!


1. In a blender, add the ice cream, milk, and cake mix. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add the sprinkles and pulse once or twice just to combine. 
2. Pour into a glass and top with toppings. We used more ice cream (because who wouldn’t?) and sprinkles!  
Adapted from Lil’ Luna



Key Lime Praline Pie


1 1/4 cups chopped pecans
• 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
• 1/2 cup butter, melted
• 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
• 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons jarred caramel topping
• 2 (14-oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk
• 6 egg yolks
• 2 teaspoons Key lime or lime zest
• 1 cup fresh Key lime or lime juice
• 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
• 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.
2. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, next 2 ingredients, and 1/2 cup toasted pecans until blended. 
3. Take a lightly greased, 10-inch deep-dish pie plate and press crumb mixture on bottom, up sides, and onto lip.
4. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven to a wire rack, and cool completely (about 45 minutes).
5. Sprinkle remaining 3/4 cup toasted pecans over bottom of crust; drizzle caramel topping over pecans.?
6. Whisk together sweetened condensed milk and next 3 ingredients. Gently pour into prepared crust.
7. Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or until almost set. (The center will not be firm but will set up as it chills.) 
8. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 hour). Cover and chill 4 hours.
9. Beat whipping cream at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy; gradually add powdered sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Dollop or spread over pie. (You can also use regular, aerosol whipped cream).
10. Garnish with lime slices and/or zest.

Adapted from MyRecipes.com


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