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Party Plan: Celebrate an Unforgettable 4th of July!

Throw a star-spangled gathering for your guests with these great recipe & party ideas.

It’s time once again to salute the red, white and blue, and we’ve got plenty of ideas for a patriotic party! Bandana Bonanza is filled with fun ideas for place settings and centerpieces. Try an easy American Flag Photo Backdrop for plenty of partygoer pics! And remember to break out the kid-friendly Firework Poppers to celebrate the holiday in a fun (and safe!) way.

For thirsty guests, try serving up a few refreshing adult cocktails, like a Firecracker Vodka Lemonade or Firecracker Fruit Slush. You can mix up a batch of Raspberry Lemonade Slush or Raspberry Banana Fizz for any youngsters in the crowd as well.

Looking for appetizers? How about Loaded Baked Potato Salad Bites and Fresh Mango Salsa for dipping? When it’s time for the main course, wow them with sweet and tender BBQ Baby Back Ribs or Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Coleslaw. A backyard Shrimp Boil, with sweet corn and smoked sausage, is always a holiday favorite. You can even set up a Hot Dog Toppings station next to the grill! For dessert, treat your guests to fun sweets like Blue and Red Velvet Cake or Individual Berry Trifles. And these Assorted S’mores Ideas are a delicious twist on a classic campfire treat – perfect for your Independence Day celebration!

Shrimp Boil

Shrimp Boil

Succulent shrimp, sweet juicy ears of corn, and smoky sausage - all in one pot!

Hands-on Time: 15 min. | Total Time: 55 min. | Serves: 6 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • ¼ cup Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1½ lbs. small red potatoes, halved
  • 6 ears of sweet corn, husked, cut in half
  • 1 lb. smoked sausage, cut in 2" pieces
  • 2 lbs. deveined uncooked shrimp in the shell
  • ¾ cup butter, melted
  • 1 lemon, cut in wedges
  • Cocktail sauce
Directions:
  1. In 7-8 quart stockpot or Dutch oven, bring 3½ quarts of water to a boil. Stir in seasoning. Add potatoes; cook 15 minutes or until slightly tender.
  2. Add corn and sausage to pot; cook 10 minutes. Add shrimp; cover. Reduce heat to low and cook 3 minutes or only until shrimp turn pink.
  3. Drain liquid. Arrange all food on a large platter and set on picnic table completely covered with thick layers of newspapers. Traditionalists just place all of the food on the newspaper. Serve with melted butter, lemon and cocktail sauce.
  4. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 720, Calories from Fat 430, Total Fat 48g (74% DV), Saturated Fat 22g (110% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 300mg (100% DV), Sodium 3660mg (152% DV), Carbohydrates 40g (13% DV), Dietary Fiber 6g (24% DV), Sugars 8g, Protein 36g, Vitamin A 30%, Vitamin C 35%, Calcium 15%, Iron 15%.

View Party Plan: Celebrate an Unforgettable 4th of July!

Grilled Sweetcorn with Flavored Butters

Grilled Sweetcorn with Flavored Butters

Sweet juicy ears of corn pick up a slight smoky flavor from the grill.

Hands-on Time: 35 min. | Total Time: 35 min. | Serves: 8 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 8 ears sweet corn, unhusked
Sage Butter:
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh chives, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp. dry ground mustard
BBQ Butter:
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
Directions:
  1. Heat gas or charcoal grill to medium heat. Remove some of the larger outer leaves of the corn husks; remove as much silk as possible. Soak corn in large bowl of water.
  2. When grill is ready, remove corn from water and squeeze out excess water. Place on grill; grill 20 minutes or until kernels are tender, turning ears over and rotating several times for even cooking.
  3. Meanwhile, in one small bowl, mix all sage butter ingredients until well blended. In another small bowl, mix all BBQ butter ingredients until well blended. Remove husks and serve corn with butters.
  4. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 280, Calories from Fat 210, Total Fat 24g (37% DV), Saturated Fat 15g (75% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 65mg (22% DV), Sodium 25mg (1% DV), Carbohydrates 18g (6% DV), Dietary Fiber 2g (8% DV), Sugars 6g, Protein 3g, Vitamin A 25%, Vitamin C 10%, Calcium 2%, Iron 4%.

View Party Plan: Celebrate an Unforgettable 4th of July!

BBQ Baby Back Ribs

BBQ Baby Back Ribs

Moist, flavorful meaty ribs are a summer classic. Choose your favorite level of doneness - fall-off-the bone tender or with a little bit of chew.

Hands-on Time: 25 min. | Total Time: 3 hrs. 25 min. | Serves: 6 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 2 racks baby back pork ribs (5-6 lbs. total)
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 300°F. Pull silver skin from back of ribs if it hasn't been removed; cut each rack into 3 sections. In small bowl, mix all remaining ingredients except barbecue sauce; sprinkle rub over both sides of ribs and pat in.
  2. Cut 4 pieces, 24”x18", of heavy duty foil; stack 2 together. On each stack of foil, place 3 rib sections, meaty side up. Add 2 tablespoons of water to each packet.
  3. Fold over long edges of foil, making a double fold seal. Fold in ends. Place in oven and bake 2-3 hours, depending on desired doneness.
  4. Heat gas or charcoal grill to medium heat. Remove ribs from packets and place on large tray. In small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of the liquid from one of the packets and 2 tablespoons of the barbecue sauce; brush over all surfaces of ribs.
  5. Place ribs on grill, meaty side down; grill 5 minutes or until browned. Turn over and rotate for even cooking and browning, grilling for 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated, and until internal temperature reaches 145°F. Serve with remaining barbecue sauce.
  6. Ribs can be baked ahead of time. Store in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before grilling, adding about 5 minutes of grill time.
  7. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 950, Calories from Fat 490, Total Fat 54g (83% DV), Saturated Fat 11g (55% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 335mg (112% DV), Sodium 1980mg (82% DV), Carbohydrates 22g (7% DV), Dietary Fiber 1g (4% DV), Sugars 17g, Protein 89g, Vitamin A 20%, Vitamin C 2%, Calcium 15%, Iron 25%.

View Party Plan: Celebrate an Unforgettable 4th of July!

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Coleslaw

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Coleslaw

Juicy pulled pork serves a crowd for a backyard get-together. The vinegar-based coleslaw is perfect for a warm summer picnic.

Hands-on Time: 20 min. | Total Time: 6 hrs. 35 min. | Serves: 16 | Difficulty: Easy

Pulled Pork:
  • Pulled Pork
  • 2 Tbsp. paprika
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. celery seed
  • ½ tsp. dry ground mustard
  • 1 (4-4½ lbs.) boneless pork shoulder roast
  • 16 sandwich buns
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce, if desired
Coleslaw:
  • 1 package (14 oz.) three-color coleslaw mixture
  • ½ red bell pepper, cut in thin bite-size strips
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. celery seed
  • ¼ tsp. dry ground mustard
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
Directions:
  1. In medium bowl, combine all pork ingredients except roast, buns and barbecue sauce, mixing well. Coat all sides of roast with rub.
  2. Place roast in 5½-7 quart slow cooker; sprinkle with remaining rub. Add 2 tablespoons of water. Cover and cook roast 6-8 hours on low heat setting
  3. Meanwhile, in large bowl, mix coleslaw mix and bell pepper. In small saucepan, heat vinegar and sugar until sugar dissolves; whisk in oil, celery seed, dry mustard and pepper. Toss with coleslaw mix; cover and refrigerate 4 hours to overnight.
  4. Remove roast from slow cooker. Remove any visible fat; shred meat with 2 forks. Skim as much fat as possible from juices in slow cooker; add meat back to slow cooker and heat 15 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 145°F.
  5. Fill each bun with about ½ cup of meat; spoon on barbecue sauce if desired. Top with about ¼ cup coleslaw.
  6. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 570, Calories from Fat 300, Total Fat 33g (51% DV), Saturated Fat 11g (55% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 70mg (23% DV), Sodium 2480mg (103% DV), Carbohydrates 41g (14% DV), Dietary Fiber 2g (8% DV), Sugars 14g, Protein 26g, Vitamin A 15%, Vitamin C 25%, Calcium 10%, Iron 20%.

View Party Plan: Celebrate an Unforgettable 4th of July!

Blue and Red Velvet Cake

Blue and Red Velvet Cake

Moist delicious red velvet cake is a classic. We've taken it to the next level by topping the cake with beautiful fresh fruit.

Hands-on Time: 40 min. | Total Time: 2 hrs. 15 min. | Serves: 16 | Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 bottle (1 oz.) red food color
Frosting:
  • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tsp. milk
  • 4 strawberries, quartered
  • ¼ cup fresh raspberries
  • ¼ cup fresh blueberries
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Grease 3 (8” or 9”) round cake pans. Line bottoms with 3 circles of waxed paper or parchment paper. Grease paper; flour pans lightly.
  2. In large bowl, beat ½ cup butter, sugar, vanilla and vinegar with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in eggs until creamy.
  3. Add all remaining cake ingredients. Beat on low speed until dry ingredients are moistened. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes.
  4. Divide batter evenly among 3 pans. Bake 23-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans; remove from pans and cool on cooling rack 1 hour or until completely cooled.
  5. In large bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Add powdered sugar; beat on low speed until moistened. Beat on medium speed until creamy, adding enough milk for spreading consistency.
  6. Spoon about 1½ cups of the frosting into a pastry bag fitted with medium star tip. Brush any loose crumbs from all cake layers. Place one cake layer on cake plate, top side down; spread with ⅓ of the remaining frosting.
  7. 1. Using frosting in pastry bag, pipe a decorative border around edge of cake. Place another cake layer over frosting, top side down. Spread with ⅓ of the frosting; pipe a decorative border around edge of cake.
  8. Place the last cake layer over frosting, top side up. Frost with remaining frosting and pipe decorative border around edge of cake. Cover loosely and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
  9. Arrange strawberries in circle on top of cake. Top with raspberries and blueberries. Store cake covered in refrigerator.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 570, Calories from Fat 270, Total Fat 30g (46% DV), Saturated Fat 11g (55% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 45mg (15% DV), Sodium 320mg (13% DV), Carbohydrates 73g (24% DV), Dietary Fiber 1g (4% DV), Sugars 57g, Protein 4g, Vitamin A 10%, Vitamin C 4%, Calcium 4%, Iron 6%.

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Individual Berry Trifles

Individual Berry Trifles

Individual trifles are easy to serve, and clean-up is a breeze!

Hands-on Time: 30 min. | Total Time: 1 hrs. 30 min. | Serves: 8 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 (10.75 oz.) frozen pound cake, thawed
  • 1 container (32 oz.) vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup Cool Whip, thawed
  • 8 stemmed maraschino cherries, patted dry
  • 8 (9-10 oz.) clear plastic glasses
Directions:
  1. In medium bowl, mix strawberries and 1 tablespoon of the sugar; mash slightly. In another medium bowl, mix blueberries and remaining sugar; mash slightly. Set aside.
  2. Trim brown edges from cake; cut in small cubes (about ½”). Place about ½ of the cake cubes in bottoms of glasses. Top each with ¼ cup of the yogurt. Spoon strawberries evenly over the yogurt. Repeat cake and yogurt layers. Top with blueberries.
  3. For best flavor and texture, cover loosely and refrigerate 1 hour to overnight. When ready to serve, top each with whipped topping and cherry.
  4. Refrigerate leftovers
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 300, Calories from Fat 70, Total Fat 8g (12% DV), Saturated Fat 4g (20% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 30mg (10% DV), Sodium 230mg (10% DV), Carbohydrates 51g (17% DV), Dietary Fiber 2g (8% DV), Sugars 28g, Protein 8g, Vitamin A 4%, Vitamin C 50%, Calcium 25%, Iron 6%.

View Party Plan: Celebrate an Unforgettable 4th of July!

Firecracker Vodka Lemonade

Firecracker Vodka Lemonade

There's no substitute for fresh lemon juice in real lemonade. A shot of ice cold vodka adds a little extra pop to the flavor.

Hands-on Time: 15 min. | Total Time: 45 min. | Serves: 8 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4½ cups very cold water, divided
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice (4 or 5 large lemons)
  • 8 oz. well-chilled vodka
  • 8 Firecracker® Popsicles®
Directions:
  1. In small saucepan, mix sugar and 1 cup of the water. Heat just until sugar dissolves. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
  2. In medium pitcher, mix sugar syrup, lemon juice, remaining water and vodka; mix well. In each of 8 glasses, place a Firecracker® Popsicle®. Fill glasses with lemonade.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 200, Calories from Fat 0, Total Fat 0g (0% DV), Saturated Fat 0g (0% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 5mg (0% DV), Carbohydrates 36g (12% DV), Dietary Fiber 0g (0% DV), Sugars 33g, Protein 0g, Vitamin A 0%, Vitamin C 30%, Calcium 0%, Iron 0%.

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Firecracker Fruit Slush

Firecracker Fruit Slush

These icy cold fruit slush cocktails are perfect sipping on a hot summer day.

Hands-on Time: 15 min. | Total Time: 15 min. | Serves: 4 | Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 slice (½” thick) watermelon
  • 1½ cups frozen unsweetened strawberries
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 1½ cups frozen unsweetened pineapple chunks
  • 1½ cups frozen unsweetened blueberries
  • 1½ to 2 cups club soda, well chilled, divided
  • ½ cup well chilled vodka, divided
Directions:
  1. With 1½” canape star cutter, cut 4 stars from watermelon flesh; set aside.
  2. In blender container, combine strawberries, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, ½ cup of the club soda and 2-3 tablespoons of the vodka. Cover; blend on high speed until smooth and slushy. Add 2-4 tablespoons more club soda if necessary for processing. Pour into 4 chilled glasses.
  3. Quickly rinse blender and lid with cold water. Repeat above directions with frozen pineapple. Carefully spoon over strawberry layer.
  4. Quickly rinse blender and lid with cold water. Repeat above directions with frozen blueberries. Carefully spoon over pineapple layer.
  5. Garnish each glass with a watermelon star and serve with short straws for sipping.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 250, Calories from Fat 5, Total Fat 0.5g (1% DV), Saturated Fat 0g (0% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 30mg (1% DV), Carbohydrates 47g (16% DV), Dietary Fiber 4g (16% DV), Sugars 40g, Protein 1g, Vitamin A 6%, Vitamin C 80%, Calcium 4%, Iron 6%.

View Party Plan: Celebrate an Unforgettable 4th of July!

Tortellini Caprese Salad

Tortellini Caprese Salad

All of the flavors of the classic Italian caprese salad are combined in this easy picnic pasta salad. Fresh tomatoes, basil and mozzarella balls combine with Italian dressing for a winning flavor combo.

Hands-on Time: 15 min. | Total Time: 45 min. | Serves: 10 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 2 packages (9 oz.) refrigerated white and/or spinach cheese tortellini
  • 1 cup Italian vinaigrette
  • 1 package (12 oz.) cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 package (8 oz.) fresh mozzarella pearl balls
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, torn
Directions:
  1. Cook tortellini as directed on package; drain. In large bowl, mix warm tortellini with vinaigrette. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  2. Mix tomatoes and mozzarella balls with tortellini. Just before serving, toss in basil.
  3. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 320, Calories from Fat 160, Total Fat 18g (28% DV), Saturated Fat 5g (25% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 35mg (12% DV), Sodium 770mg (32% DV), Carbohydrates 25g (8% DV), Dietary Fiber 2g (8% DV), Sugars 4g, Protein 13g, Vitamin A 10%, Vitamin C 8%, Calcium 20%, Iron 8%.

View Party Plan: Celebrate an Unforgettable 4th of July!

Raspberry Lemonade Slush

Raspberry Lemonade Slush

Lemonade concentrate and carbonated lemon-lime soda combine for a sparkling, refreshing summer beverage. Red frozen pops and blue candy sippers add a fun twist.

Hands-on Time: 15 min. | Total Time: 15 min. | Serves: 8 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • Blue decorating sugar
  • 8 blue licorice twists
  • 1 can (12 oz.) frozen lemonade concentrate, partially thawed
  • 12 oz. cold water
  • 4 cans (12 oz.) well chilled 7-Up®
  • 12 red raspberry and strawberry Popsicles®, chopped
Directions:
  1. Moisten the rims of 8 glasses with water. Pour blue sugar on a small plate; dip the rims of the glasses in the sugar. Add a twist to each glass, cutting off some of the length to fit the glass.
  2. In large pitcher, mix lemonade concentrate and water until blended. Pour in chilled beverage; stir.
  3. Divide chopped frozen pops evenly among the glasses; fill with lemonade.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 270, Calories from Fat 0, Total Fat 0.5g (1% DV), Saturated Fat 0g (0% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 80mg (3% DV), Carbohydrates 67g (22% DV), Dietary Fiber 0g (0% DV), Sugars 57g, Protein < 1g, Vitamin A 0%, Vitamin C 25%, Calcium 0%, Iron 0%.

View Party Plan: Celebrate an Unforgettable 4th of July!

Fresh Mango Salsa

Fresh Mango Salsa

Sweet-tart juicy Mango Salsa is a hit at any summer picnic. Serve it with chips, or spoon it over grilled chicken or on grilled burgers.

Hands-on Time: 20 min. | Total Time: 20 min. | Serves: 12 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 1 fresh mango, peeled, seeded and diced
  • ½ large red bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ seedless cucumber, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded, finely minced
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. grated lime peel
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • ¼ tsp. salt
Directions:
  1. In large bowl, mix all ingredients. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate up to 2 days.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 20, Calories from Fat 0, Total Fat 0g (0% DV), Saturated Fat 0g (0% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 50mg (2% DV), Carbohydrates 5g (2% DV), Dietary Fiber < 1g (2% DV), Sugars 4g, Protein 0g, Vitamin A 10%, Vitamin C 30%, Calcium 0%, Iron 0%.

View Party Plan: Celebrate an Unforgettable 4th of July!

Grilled Watermelon Pizza

Grilled Watermelon Pizza

Watermelon heated on the grill takes on a whole new flavor and texture. The sweet smoky flavor is enhanced by the salty feta cheese and bacon.

Hands-on Time: 15 min. | Total Time: 15 min. | Serves: 8 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2 slices (¾") watermelon, each cut in half
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme or oregano
Directions:
  1. Cook bacon until crisp; drain and crumble. Set aside. Meanwhile, heat gas or charcoal grill to medium heat.
  2. Brush both sides of watermelon slices with oil. Grill 5 minutes on one side. Turn over; top with cheese and bacon. Grill 3 minutes longer or just until warmed. Cut each in half and sprinkle with fresh herbs.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 100, Calories from Fat 80, Total Fat 9g (14% DV), Saturated Fat 3.5g (18% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 20mg (7% DV), Sodium 180mg (8% DV), Carbohydrates 3g (1% DV), Dietary Fiber 0g (0% DV), Sugars 3g, Protein 3g, Vitamin A 6%, Vitamin C 6%, Calcium 6%, Iron 2%.

View Party Plan: Celebrate an Unforgettable 4th of July!

Raspberry Banana Fizz

Raspberry Banana Fizz

Adding carbonation to pureed frozen fruit provides you with a smoothie with attitude! The bubbles add a refreshing fizz to the beverage.

Hands-on Time: 15 min. | Total Time: 55 min. | Serves: 6 | Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:
  • 2 bananas, peeled, cut in chunks
  • 2 cups frozen unsweetened raspberries
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 6 cups chilled 7-Up®
  • Fresh blueberries and raspberries, and mini marshmallows for garnish, if desired
Directions:
  1. Place banana chunks in freezer bag or container, and freeze at least 30 minutes. Place raspberries, sugar and 1 cup of the chilled beverage in blender container; cover. Blend on high speed until completely smooth, pushing down with tamper, or stopping machine and scraping sides with rubber scraper.
  2. Spoon raspberry mixture into 6 glasses or small Mason jars. Place in freezer for about 30 minutes or until firm.
  3. Place frozen bananas and ¾ cup of the chilled beverage in clean blender container. Cover and blend until completely smooth; spoon over firm raspberry mixture. Place in freezer 10 minutes or until set.
  4. Place upside down bowl of teaspoon over openings of glasses or jars. Carefully pour chilled beverage over the spoon to fill the glass. Thread blueberries, raspberries and/or mini marshmallows on wooden skewers to garnish.
  5. Serve with straws, and stir to mix fruit with fizzy beverage.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 240, Calories from Fat 0, Total Fat 0g (0% DV), Saturated Fat 0g (0% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 25mg (1% DV), Carbohydrates 61g (20% DV), Dietary Fiber 5g (20% DV), Sugars 53g, Protein 1g, Vitamin A 2%, Vitamin C 30%, Calcium 2%, Iron 4%.

View Party Plan: Celebrate an Unforgettable 4th of July!

Fresh Fruit Salad

Fresh Fruit Salad

Limeade adds an extra sweet-tart flavor to the fresh fruits of summer and gives the fruits a glossy shine.

Hands-on Time: 15 min. | Total Time: 15 min. | Serves: 12 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 1 package (6 oz.) fresh blueberries
  • 1 package (6 oz.) fresh raspberries
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, quartered
  • 1 cup green grapes, halved
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple tidbits
  • ¼ cup frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
  • 1 slice fresh watermelon
Directions:
  1. In large bowl, mix all ingredients except limeade and watermelon. Stir in limeade concentrate. With small star canape cutter, cut star shapes from watermelon slice; garnish top of salad with stars.
  2. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 hour to mellow flavors.
  3. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 60, Calories from Fat 0, Total Fat 0g (0% DV), Saturated Fat 0g (0% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 0mg (0% DV), Carbohydrates 14g (5% DV), Dietary Fiber 2g (8% DV), Sugars 11g, Protein < 1g, Vitamin A 4%, Vitamin C 40%, Calcium 2%, Iron 2%.

View Party Plan: Celebrate an Unforgettable 4th of July!

Hearty Picnic Baked Beans

Hearty Picnic Baked Beans

Andouille sausage adds a smoky, slightly spicy flavor to thick and hearty baked beans. Baking time helps concentrate all of the robust flavors.

Hands-on Time: 25 min. | Total Time: 1 hr. 55 min. | Serves: 16 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 1 package (12 oz.) andouille sausage, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cans (28 oz.) pork & beans or baked beans
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 Tbsp. yellow mustard
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. In 12” nonstick skillet, cook sausage over medium-high heat 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in onion and bell pepper; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Stir in all remaining ingredients. Pour into 2½-quart baking dish or casserole. Bake, uncovered 1½-1¾ hours or until bubbly and mixture has thickened, and until internal temperature reaches 145°F.
  3. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 220, Calories from Fat 70, Total Fat 8g (12% DV), Saturated Fat 3g (15% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 25mg (8% DV), Sodium 610mg (25% DV), Carbohydrates 29g (10% DV), Dietary Fiber 6g (24% DV), Sugars 9g, Protein 8g, Vitamin A 6%, Vitamin C 30%, Calcium 8%, Iron 15%.

View Party Plan: Celebrate an Unforgettable 4th of July!

Loaded Baked Potato Salad Bites

Loaded Baked Potato Salad Bites

Loaded baked potatoes and potato salad are family picnic favorites. We've combined both in these fun little 2-bite appetizers.

Hands-on Time: 30 min. | Total Time: 1 hr. 10 min. | Serves: 12 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 12 small (1½") red potatoes
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 radishes, finely diced
  • 2 green onions, finely diced
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp. yellow mustard
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. real bacon pieces
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly rub potatoes with oil; cut small slit in side of each. Bake 40 minutes or until tender when pinched.
  2. Cool 10 minutes; cut each potato in half. With teaspoon or melon ball scoop, scoop out cooked potato, leaving a little flesh on the sides. Place cooked potato flesh in small bowl.
  3. Stir in all remaining ingredients except cheese and bacon, breaking up any large pieces of potato; mix well. With same scoop or spoon, fill potato skins. Top with cheese and bacon. Serve slightly warm, or cover and refrigerate to serve cold.
  4. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 220, Calories from Fat 90, Total Fat 11g (17% DV), Saturated Fat 2g (10% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 10mg (3% DV), Sodium 250mg (10% DV), Carbohydrates 27g (9% DV), Dietary Fiber 3g (12% DV), Sugars 2g, Protein 5g, Vitamin A 2%, Vitamin C 25%, Calcium 4%, Iron 8%.

View Party Plan: Celebrate an Unforgettable 4th of July!

Patriotic Coconut Cream Pudding Cups

Patriotic Coconut Cream Pudding Cups

Created by: Margaret Chapman, The Plant Philosophy

Celebrate with this festive Vegan treat!

Hands-on Time: 10 min. | Total Time: 18 min.

Pudding (yields 1 pint):
  • 1 can Simple Truth™ Coconut Milk*
  • ¼ cup corn starch
  • 3 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract, optional

*Can substitute for any non-dairy milk in-place of coconut milk.

To Layer:
  • 1½ cups strawberries
  • 1½ cups blueberries
  • ⅛ cup Simple Truth™ Slivered Almonds, crushed
Directions:
  1. Pour your coconut milk into a small pot over medium heat.
  2. Measure and whisk in your cornstarch until dissolved. Add in your sweetener of choice, plus vanilla extract and continue whisking.
  3. Bring the liquid to a medium simmer, whisking for 4-6 minutes. Once the liquid begins to boil it will instantly thicken up.
  4. Turn the heat off and remove from the stove once it thickens up, continue whisking to keep it smooth.
  5. Transfer to a bowl and cover, chilling overnight or at least 4 hours.
  6. The mixture will firm up even more, to make it the perfect pudding consistency, transfer to a blender or food processor and pulse until light and fluffy. Feel free to add a tablespoon of non-dairy milk if you would like a thinner consistency - adding more will bring it back to an almost liquid.
  7. Wash and cut your strawberries. Grab two pint-sized mason jars and begin to layer each ingredient.
  8. Top with an extra dollop of pudding, plus a sprinkle of crushed slivered almonds.
  9. Serve chilled or seal with a lid and chill for up to 4 days.

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Fresh Fruit Tart

Fresh Fruit Tart

This tart can easily be made square, rectangular or round. And feel free to switch up the fruit to use whatever is fresh and in season.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup butter, (2 sticks), softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 package (8 oz) neufchatel cheese, or cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup kiwi fruit , peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh
  • 1 cup strawberries, halved
  • 1/4 cup raspberries, fresh
  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade, warmed
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream butter and 1 1/4 cups sugar. Add egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat well.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and baking soda, then add to the butter mixture and mix well.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4" thickness. Place dough on a large round pizza pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until edges are light brown. Remove immediately from baking sheet and cool.
  5. In small bowl, combine cream cheese, remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; beat until fluffy. Spread mixture over cooled cookie crust. Arrange fruit over cheese layer.
  6. Spoon or brush warm marmalade over fruit. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Cut into squares or wedges. Store in refrigerator.

View Party Plan: Celebrate an Unforgettable 4th of July!

Farmhouse Potato Salad

Farmhouse Potato Salad

Yams, bacon and green onions put a fresh new spin on potato salad!

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 pounds yams, cubed
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbsp. bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Directions:
  1. In a pot of boiling water, boil yams for 8-10 minutes, until fork tender. Drain and cool.
  2. In a large bowl, mix green pepper, red pepper, and onions. Add bacon and yams. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, tarragon, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Toss with vegetables. Chill until ready to serve.

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More S'mores!

More S'mores!

Summer isn’t summer without s’mores. Whether you’re looking for specific instructions on how to build your favorite campfire treat or a more relaxed mix-and-match approach, your s’more options are many!

  • Apple-Cinnamon: Top an oatmeal cookie with thinly sliced apple sprinkled with cinnamon. Add a toasted marshmallow, then top with another cookie. A drizzle of caramel adds a delicious touch!
  • Birthday Cake: Top traditional s’more fillings with colored sprinkles before sandwiching between sugar cookies.
  • Marshmallow-a-holic: Spread graham crackers with marshmallow crème, then fill with toasted marshmallows and chocolate.
  • Peanut Butter-Banana: Spread crackers with peanut butter and fill s’more with thinly sliced banana and toasted marshmallows. You can also up the ante by adding a few half-slices of cooked bacon.
  • Red, White & Blue: Spread bottom graham cracker (or a shortbread cookie) with strawberry jam. Top with chocolate, blueberries, toasted marshmallow and remaining graham cracker or cookie.
  • Sweet ‘n’ Salty: Add a few potato chips to the traditional s’more sandwich.
  • Toasted Almond Fudge: Spread one side of each graham cracker with fudge frosting, then sandwich around toasted marshmallow and toasted sliced almonds.
  • Tropical: Use marshmallow crème instead of toasted marshmallows and press mixed dried fruits (pineapple, apricot, mango, etc.) into the crème before sandwiching crackers around chocolate bar.
  • Turtle: Include toasted pecans and caramel sauce with the more traditional s’more ingredients.

Click to download your own Printable Menu!

View Party Plan: Celebrate an Unforgettable 4th of July!

Hot Dog Toppings!

Hot Dog Toppings!

Wherever you’re travelling this 4th of July, we have you covered with our regional hot dog and topping suggestions.

  • Chicago: All-beef dog topped with yellow mustard, chopped white onion, bright green sweet pickle relish, dill pickle spear, tomato slices or wedges, pickled sport peppers and a dash of celery salt. If you can find poppy-seed buns, this is the time to use them.
  • New York: Beef franks with an all-natural casing, topped with mustard and sauerkraut. You can also go the extra mile with an optional topping of sweet onions sautéed in a tomato-based sauce.
  • Texas: Bring on the heat! Top with spicy chili (Texas-style means beef, no beans) and shredded cheese.
  • New Jersey: Also known as a potato dog, this spicy frank is topped with diced stewed potatoes tossed with brown mustard.
  • New Mexico: Toppings include chili-spiked mayonnaise, diced green chilis, shredded Monterey Jack cheese and pico de gallo.
  • Midwest: Just the basics here: ketchup, mustard, sauerkraut and/or pickle relish.
  • California: Slip on those Hollywood-style sunglasses as you top your dogs with guacamole, chopped cooked bacon, diced ripe tomatoes and shredded American or Cheddar cheese.
  • Georgia: Southern-style means a scrambled dog. Chop cooked hot dogs and spoon into buns, then top with chili, minced onions and pickles. On the side: oyster crackers, of course!
  • Kansas City: Pork sausage served up in a sesame seed bun, topped with brown mustard, sauerkraut and melted Swiss cheese.
  • Cincinnati: Top your hot dogs with yellow mustard, chili, diced onion and shredded Cheddar.
  • Carolina: Classic toppings such as chili and diced onion are joined by traditional coleslaw in this regional favorite.

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No-Sew American Flag Photo Backdrop

No-Sew American Flag Photo Backdrop

Want to send guests home with a snapshot of their time at your July 4th gathering? This lovely DIY backdrop is all you’ll need to furnish a patriotic photo booth.

All supplies can easily be found at a craft store if they’re not already on hand. If you don’t have fabric scraps hidden away, you can buy the red and white rectangles (dimensions depend on the size of flag you want for your backdrop) at a fabric store. The blue cloth could be a bandana or you can cut a square from an old t-shirt. And the stick? Find one in your backyard or wooded area.

One of the perks of this project is that it’s meant to look rustic. Your fabric cuts, potato-star stamps and fabric-to-stick knots can all look less than perfect. Precision not required! Just have fun and take pride in your colorful salute to the U.S.A.

Things You'll Need:
  • Fabric scissors
  • Large rectangles of red and white fabric (one of each color)
  • Long stick or wooden pole
  • Square of blue fabric
  • Paring knife
  • Potato
  • White fabric paint
  • Hemp string or other strong rope
Directions:
  1. Cut red and white fabric into long thin strips. You’ll want seven red stripes and six white.
  2. Tie the strips, alternating colors, to the stick or pole.
  3. Use a “potato stamp” for the stars on the blue fabric square. First, cut the potato in half, then cut the surface of one half into a star shape. Dip the star stamp in the white paint, then stamp stars onto the blue fabric to resemble stars on a flag.
  4. Tie two corners of the blue fabric onto the stick so it becomes the left-hand corner of your flag.
  5. Tie two ends of string or rope to the stick for hanging.

View Party Plan: Celebrate an Unforgettable 4th of July!

"Firework" Poppers

"Firework" Poppers

Fireworks are fun, but you can shake things up a bit with these kid-friendly homemade poppers.

What You'll Need:
  • Metallic tissue paper or gift bag filler (or buy metallic confetti to skip step 1 below)
  • Scissors, both standard and fringe
  • 9” balloons
  • Empty toilet paper tubes
  • Packing tape
  • Patterned paper (scrapbook and wrapping paper work well)
  • Stickers, markers, glitter and other decor
Directions:
  1. To make the confetti, cut long strands or strips of metallic tissue paper or filler into small bits using fringe scissors. (Standard scissors work as well, but it’s an easier task with fringe.) You’ll want about 3 tablespoons confetti for each popper. Set confetti aside until ready to fill the poppers.
  2. For each popper, tie a balloon and cut off the rounded tip. Stretch balloon tightly around one end of a toilet paper tube. Secure balloon in place with packing tape.
  3. Let your imagination run wild as you wrap the tubes with patterned paper, then decorate with stickers, markers, glitter, etc. There is no need to secure the open end of the tube.
  4. Spoon confetti into tubes or use a funnel or a rolled piece of paper to help guide the confetti into the open end of the tubes. Keep poppers upright until ready to use.
  5. To launch, pull down tightly on the bottom knot of the balloon, and let go. Watch as the confetti shoots high in the air. Even better, you’ll hear a firework-worthy POP!

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Bandana Bonanza

Bandana Bonanza

Bring red, white and blue outdoors with patriotic and festive centerpieces. These DIY projects are as easy as gathering a stack of inexpensive red, white and blue bandanas (dollar and discount stores are great places to look) and assembling as desired. Wrinkle-free bandanas look best on the table, so you’ll want to iron any that look less than perfect.

If you’re good with needle and thread (or a sewing machine), you can stitch together any combination of colors and quantities – from individual placemats to a full tablecloth. You can also place the bandanas next to each other, without stitching, to create the illusion of a larger piece. Alternate colors or gather a few of the same for a more streamlined effect.

Another option is to place individual bandanas under vases of red, white and blue flowers, dessert displays, festive fruit salads and anything else that calls for a patriotic background. Bandanas can also be folded into smaller squares and used as coasters. If you fold them in half, then into vertical thirds you have napkins. Possibilities are nearly endless and effort is minimal on your part. After the party, send the bandanas home with guests as lovely party favors.

View Party Plan: Celebrate an Unforgettable 4th of July!

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