Easy July 4 Festive Foods

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 the Fourth of July is the epitome of summer holidays! 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?


Festive Flag Fruit Salad

Visually appealing and taste-bud-tantalizing, this fresh take on fruit salad is a blend of flavors that is sure to appeal to a crowd. The peppery notes from the arugala and the richness of the feta add a bit of savory to the sweet. 

For the dressing:
• 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
• 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper
• 1/3 cup olive oil
• 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
For the salad:
• 6 cups fresh arugula (about 5 ounces)
• 1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
• 5 cups cubed seedless watermelon
• 1 package (8 ounces) feta cheese, cut into 1/2-in. cubes

1. For vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk the first 6 ingredients; gradually whisk in oil until blended. Stir in onion.

2. In a large bowl, lightly toss arugula with 1/4 cup vinaigrette. Arrange evenly in a large rectangular serving dish.

3. For stars, place blueberries over arugula at the top left corner. For stripes, arrange watermelon and cheese in alternating rows. Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette. Serve immediately.


Adapted from Taste of Home 


Watermelon Pizza

Is it a dessert? A salad? A fruit dish? Any and all of the above! It is also a cool refreshing treat and easy to whip up for your next picnic or potluck.

• 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.


Cheesy Razzle Dazzle Dogs

Easy to make and totally cute, this fireworks-themed version of pigs in a blanket (or Pronto Pup, if you're so inclined) will be a hit at the snack table. A fun way to display them a la "firework-style" is stuck into a styrofoam ball that is inside of a decorative pail. You can, of course, simply lay them out on a platter, as well.

• 1 can refrigerated breadstick dough
• 16 hot dogs
• 16 thick slices colby cheese
• 16 skewers
Special Equipment
• Small star-shaped cookie cutter
• Wooden skewers

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. Take a skewer and stick it all the way through the center of the hot dog length-wise, leaving about an inch and a half exposed out of the top of each hot dog. Take a piece of breadstick dough and wrap it around the hot dog in a spiral shape until you reach the top, leaving gaps in between each spiral. Repeat with the rest of the hot dogs and lay them on the baking sheet.

3. Bake hot dogs for about 20 minutes, or until the breadsticks are golden brown.

4. While the hot dogs are baking, use a star cookie cutter to cut out stars approximately an inch in diameter. Let the hot dogs cool and then place 1 cheese star at the top of each hot dog in the part of the skewer that's sticking out of the top.

5.Serve with ketchup, mustard, and all your favorite hot dog fixins'!


Fireworks Fun-fetti Cake Shake

Did you know July is Ice Cream Month? So that makes this delectable confection twice as nice with its ice-creamy goodness and July 4 festiveness. We've included a few topping ideas here, but of course, the sky's the limit... blueberries, gummy sharts, Maraschino cherries, whipped cream, MORE ice cream, whatever you like...it's hard to mess with perfection!

Ingredients (for 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! 



All-Star Sangria

Super easy to make, and full of refreshing, delicious flavor, this sangria will bring a little sparkle to your celebration. 

• 1 bottle dry white wine
• 2 cups fresh blueberries
• 1 cup fresh raspberries
• 1 cup apple or white grape juice
• 1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
• 1 bottle champagne or sparkling white wine
• 3-4 apples (or alternatives—suggested below)
• Ice 

Special equipment
• Small star-shaped cookie cutter--optional, but festive! 

1. Stir together non-sparkling wine, berries, and apple juice together in a large pitcher. 

2. Cover and refrigerate for 1-4 hours, so that the flavors can meld. (Be aware, the longer it sits, the pinker the liquid will become from the berries)

3. Just prior to serving: slice apples into thick rounds; cut out stars with cookie cutter. Then, gradually stir in the champagne, apple stars, and ice. Serve immediately.

Tip: Not into apples? Other options for the white fruit stars include pears, jicama, pineapple, or starfruit. 

Image courtesy of and recipe adapted from Gimme Some Oven


Berry Blast Dump Cake

It. Does. Not. Get. Easier. Than. This. Oooey, gooey, and delicious with almost zero effort. This has summertime ice cream social and Fourth of July picnic at the bandshell all over it. It's a cake that even non-bakers can throw together in a pinch and still have it turn out scrumptious. Perfect party fare!

• 1 (21 ounce) can strawberry pie filling
• 1 cup frozen blueberries
• 1 package white cake mix 
• ½ cup butter, melted

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

2. Dump the strawberry pie filling into a 9x12-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with blueberries. Pour cake mix on top of blueberries. Drizzle melted butter on top.

3. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is a light golden brown, about 45 minutes. 

4. Serve warm, topped with whipped topping or vanilla ice cream if desired.

Adapted from All Recipes


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