by Courtney Sullivan
The Fourth of July's right around the corner and you're planning a big blowout with delicious food, bright fireworks, and lots of celebrating.
What types of food "makes" the day special? Some folks argue that barbecue food's the best. Others say picnic items and finger foods. Most will vote for a cook-out.
No matter which way your family and friends lean, our Fourth of July feast has something for just about everyone, even those picky eaters. Invite a crowd, break out the "works" and enjoy the day!
Grilled All-American Burgers: Are you ready for a dazzling hamburger patty fresh off the grill? Our recipe and instructions can make your dream come true.
Oven Baked "Fried" Chicken: Here's a recipe that rivals the the deliciousness of real fried chicken. The crowd won't realize it's healthier and easier to make.
Creamy and Crunchy Coleslaw: Coleslaw is the quintessential American side salad. This recipe is creamy with a bit of sweet and tartness stirred in. You won't have to fuss with a blend of seasoning or spend a lot of time chopping.
Sour Cream Basil Pesto Dip: Whip it up in five minutes. Serve this delectable dip with baby carrots, bell pepper strips, celery straws, broccoli and cauliflower.
Red, White and Blue Potato Salad: Combine a colorful trio of potatoes and your choice of dressing for the perfect Fourth of July barbecue blowout salad!
Tomato Salad with Mozzarella and Basil: Ripe tomatoes mixed with slices of mozzarella and slivers of fresh basil make a refreshing summer salad. For an appetizer, thread them onto a kabob skewer and drizzle with oil and vinegar. Yum!
Blackberry Lemonade Iced Tea: What do you get when you combine iced tea, fresh berries and lemonade? A "berry" delicious concoction! This is definitely a thirst-quencher!
Fourth of July Cake: Create a patriotic cake treat for your gathering. Everyone will appreciate this cool, almost-healthy dessert on a hot summer day.
• Create simple side dishes. A bowl of red, white and blue fruit, a carved watermelon boat or miniature flag cupcakes make quick and easy additions to your meal.
• A budget-friendly decorating idea uses red, white and blue every day items. Choose a bright tablecloth and use complementary napkins and plates. Add a few festive streamers and balloons.
• String paper lanterns or citronella candles around your yard. Create a festive mood while keeping mosquitoes away.
• Are you having your own fireworks show? Research your local laws and ordinances and supervise the children carefully.
• Have fun and play games! Toss a frisbee, start a ball game or try one of these family-friendly activities.
• Does your group have younger children? Take turns supervising or enlist older kids to supervise a batch of fun activities for the younger set.
Now that you've got everything rolling and set in motion, kick back and relax in your yard with some of that awesome lemonade! How will you be getting creative when throwing your Fourth of July blowout?