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(Family Features) A dazzling fireworks display may be the grand finale for your celebration, but you can make your mouthwatering menu a close second with these ideas to light up your Fourth of July. From bold burgers to crisp salads and sweet sides, give your guests plenty of reason to feel festive all day long. And don’t forget to add a little indulgence for all ages with a DIY dessert bar.
Find more recipes perfect for the Fourth of July at culinary.net.
Serve Up a Sundae Bar
The only thing better than a dish of cold ice cream on a hot summer day is the chance to make it all your own. Let guests create their own dishes of deliciousness with a DIY sundae bar. Start with a healthy supply of cups, spoons and towels to mop up inevitable drips then fill the bar with irresistible options like these:
A sampling of ice creams, like vanilla, chocolate and strawberryFresh sliced fruitCrushed candies and cookiesSauces (chocolate, caramel and something fruity, too)Assorted nutsCrunchy favorites like crumbled cones or salty pretzelsCoconut (raw and toasted)Whipped creamSprinkles
A Bold Take on an American Classic
When it comes to feeding family and friends on the Fourth of July, nothing pleases guests more than fan-favorite American bites fresh off the grill. Cheeseburgers are a tried-and-true classic for summer grilling season. Give your burger recipe a bold, sweet kick this Fourth of July with honey barbecue sauce and the finishing touch of delicious, smooth-melting Borden Cheese. Find more summer recipes to transform mealtime into memorable family time at bordencheese.com.
Bold Honey Barbecue Burger
Total time: 35 minutes
1 pound ground beef1/2 cup chopped green onions1/2 teaspoon garlic powder1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper3-4 tablespoons steak seasoning4 hamburger buns1/2 stick melted butter3/4 cup barbecue sauce1 tablespoon honey4 slices Borden Cheese American Singles8 slices thick bacon, cooked until crispy8 frozen onion rings4 slices tomatofresh lettuce
Combine ground beef, green onions, garlic powder and cayenne pepper; form into four patties. Sprinkle both sides of each patty with steak seasoning. Cover and chill. (Patties can be made several hours in advance.)Brush buns with melted butter; set aside. In small bowl, mix barbecue sauce with honey; set aside.Heat grill to medium-high heat.Grill burgers to internal temperature of 160° F, about 4-6 minutes per side. Two minutes before burgers are finished, grill buns, butter-side down, until golden brown. Place cheese slices on burgers to melt.Serve each burger on buttered bun topped with two slices bacon, two onion rings, honey barbecue sauce, lettuce and tomato.
A Tropical Summer Twist
If you find yourself hosting a last-minute barbecue without time to plan an extensive menu, don’t panic. Simply add a twist to traditional summer staples, like mixing one bag of cabbage with one jar of coleslaw dressing for a classic coleslaw side dish or incorporating coleslaw into your main course. This spin on a classic barbecue meal, Grilled Hawaiian Chicken and Tropical Coleslaw, can take your entertaining to the next level. For more recipes, visit litehousefoods.com.
Grilled Hawaiian Chicken and Tropical Coleslaw
Total time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
1/3 cup ketchup1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce1/4 cup pineapple juice4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus additional for brushing grill1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar4 teaspoons Litehouse Instantly Fresh Garlic1 tablespoon Litehouse Instantly Fresh Ginger1/2 teaspoon sesame oil3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional, to tastesalt, to taste1 3/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped into 1 1/4-inch cubes1 large red onion, diced into 1 1/4-inch pieces1 1/2 large green peppers, diced into 1 1/4-inch pieces3 cups fresh cubed pineapple
1 package (14 ounces) coleslaw mix1 cup diced red pepper1 cup diced pineapple1/2 cup slivered almonds1/2 cup Litehouse Coleslaw dressing
In mixing bowl, whisk together ketchup, brown sugar, soy sauce, pineapple juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger and sesame oil. Stir in pepper and season with salt, if desired.Place chicken in gallon-sized re-sealable bag. Reserve 1/2 cup marinade in refrigerator then pour remaining marinade over chicken. Seal bag and refrigerate 1-2 hours. Soak 10 wooden skewer sticks in water 1 hour.While chicken marinates, prepare coleslaw. In medium bowl, toss together coleslaw mix, red pepper, pineapple, almonds and coleslaw dressing. Refrigerate until ready to serve.Heat grill to 400° F.Drizzle remaining olive oil over red onion, bell pepper and pineapple; toss. Season red onion and bell pepper with salt and pepper then thread red onion, bell pepper, pineapple and chicken onto skewers until all chicken is used.Brush grill grates with olive oil then place skewers on grill. Grill 5 minutes then brush along tops with 1/4 cup marinade. Rotate to opposite side and brush remaining marinade on opposite side; grill about 4 minutes, or until chicken registers 165° F in center on instant read thermometer.Serve skewers warm with coleslaw.
A Honey of a Side
No summer picnic or grilling spread is complete without an array of mouthwatering sides. When planning your menu, go for variety with dishes ranging from rich and savory to light and refreshing. If you want to mix things up a bit, look for ways to dress up timeless favorites, like this take on baked beans that gets its sweetness from honey instead of sugar. Find more ways to sweeten up your celebration at honey.com.
Honey Baked Beans
Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board
4 slices bacon, diced1/2 cup chopped onion4 1/2 cups cooked navy beans (or 3 cans, 15 ounces each)1/2 cup honey1/2 cup ketchup1 tablespoon prepared mustard1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Heat oven to 350° F.Saute bacon and onion until onion is tender; combine with remaining ingredients in shallow 2-quart, oven-safe baking dish. Cover with lid or aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 45 minutes longer.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (berry sundaes)
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (baked beans)