Wednesday, June 30, 2010

July 4th recipe suggestions

My oldest, July 4 09

Our nation's independence seems to always be all about grilling and pot luck parties. Here are my suggestions for great recipes to fix on July 4th.

First, a plea. If you are going to make burgers, try actually making the burgers. I'm not going to say that I don't permit frozen, pre-shaped patties to ever enter my home or my mouth, but I strongly encourage you to try making the burgers yourself. It can be as simple as just seasoning the ground meat with Montreal Steak Seasoning or even these "mini man" burgers from Alton Brown that are basic sliders which are great for parties. Just put out a nice variety of toppings and condiments and everyone can have fun with their own creation.

Onto my list. Below are some of my favorites that I think are great choices for celebrating Independence Day.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip- The number 1 requested item I am asked to bring to a party. And also the recipe I get asked for the most. To be honest, I don't even know if I really even follow this recipe as written, I never had one written down for me, I was told how to make it. So then I wrote it out for someone probably 10 years ago and that's what I have provided in the link. I don't measure any of it. What I really do is mix together soften cream cheese, chopped artichoke hearts, a defrosted box of chopped spinach, a few handfuls of grated cheese (whatever cheese I'm feeling like) and a couple scoops of mayo. Then I season it with garlic powder, a dash of Frank's hot sauce, salt and pepper. I place it in a dish to bake until it's bubbly and a bit golden on top.

Tomato, Corn and Avocado Salsa- This dish sort of screams summer bbq. Serve it with chips and and sure to make a lot, as it will disappear quickly. You can add chopped red onion if you wanted. I don't because I don't like raw onion and it's my recipe. But you could if you like that sort of thing.

Lemony Potato and Avocado Salad- Everyone has their own favorite traditional potato salad recipe, including myself. But I recently tried this one and love it. I brought it to a pot luck and got a thumbs up from everyone who tried it. The recipe is written to serve 2 people (why?!?!) but it's so easy to just increase the ingredients and serve a group.

Quick Glazes for Grilled Chicken- These are two delicious glazes to use for basting grilled chicken. I love them both. You don't need store-bought sauce, use these.

Easy Grilled Tri Tip- My own recipe, submitted to All Recipes many years ago, that has slowly gained 4 and 5 star ratings and is now found in the website's Top 20 Grilling recipes. I like slicing the meat, then marinating it and the quickly grilling each slice. It can serve a lot and cooks quickly.

Alton Brown’s Baby Back Rib Recipe
- I won't lie, these ribs take time. According to Alton, you start them a day in advance. I've done that, but I've also started marinating in the afternoon and they still taste good. The recipe in the link is slightly different from his book, the method is the same, but the braising liquid I prefer is just orange juice mixed with honey and garlic. And instead of the final broiling in the oven, I put it on the grill.

Blackberry Ice Cream- Home made ice cream is SO worth the effort. Seriously. Berry ice cream does create the added step of having to strain the berries to avoid the seeds. You could make strawberry instead of you want to avoid that task.

Cake Batter Ice Cream- This flavor has really become popular in the last year. And this recipe is good! Tastes just like what you get at Cold Stone.

Strawberry Panzanella- Love, love, LOVE this unique fruit/bread salad from the beautiful 101 Cookbooks blog. Great to bring to a party, just leave the cream part to be served on the side. I've made it with just a simple crusty ciabatta bread that I purchased and let it get a bit more hard or even with the leftovers from a loaf.

Chocolate Sheet Cake- Because this is made in a sheet pan, it can yield quite a few slices, making it perfect for a crowd. Plus, it's so damn good.

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