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Summer eats: Best dishes for a Fourth of July barbecue

Make your friends jealous with lemonade, chorizo and more

Summer eats: Best dishes for a Fourth of July barbecue

These five recipes will have your Fourth of July guests asking for more. 

Fourth of July is here and that means it’s time to get excited about your next barbecue. Friends and family can come together and not only enjoy each other’s company, but also some delicious food.

This year, instead of letting your friends and family cook up the entire feast, take the initiative to make something special yourself. With these five recipes, you can impress your friends and family with the perfect summer meal that will have them coming back for more.


Watermelon Mint Lemonade

If your guests will be spending most of their time outside, it is likely they will get parched. Instead of water or soda, try something a bit more fun. This unique twist on lemonade adds a bit of pizzaz to the classic recipe.

Serves: 4-6 people

Total Time: 15 minutes

Special Equipment Needed: Blender

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts of 1 inch seedless watermelon chunks
  • 1 cup of fresh juice from 10 to 12 lemons
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • Cold water as needed
  • 1 small bunch of mint
  • 1 quart of ice

Directions

  1. Blend the watermelon chunks, lemon juice, sugar and salt on high for 1 minute. Strain the contents through a mesh strainer, add cold water to equal 1 quart.
  2. Stir in mint with a wooden spoon, lightly. Add watermelon mixture to pitcher and stir to combine. Add ice to finish.

Queso Fundido con Chorizo (Melted Cheese with Chorizo)

This chorizo dip is a great appetizer while you and your guests wait for the rest of the food to finish cooking. The best part about this dip that you can add and take out ingredients as you see fit. If you’re not into spicy foods, drop the jalapenos. Huge fan of cheddar cheese? Swap that mozzarella for your favorite cheddar and monterey jack blend.

Serves: 10 people

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces of fresh chorizo, casings removed, crumbled
  • Olive oil as needed
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, Finely chopped
  • 5 teaspoons of all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup Mexican lager style beer (Example: Negra Modelo)
  • ¼ cup of chopped pickled jalapeno, plus 1 teaspoon pickling juice
  • ¾ cup of milk
  • 4 ounces of whole milk mozzarella, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro
  • Warmed tortilla chips

Directions:

  1. Cook the chorizo over a medium-high heat until golden. Remove the chorizo with a slotted spoon and pour out any excess fat. Hold on to about 1 tablespoon of the excess fat.
  2. Reduce the stovetop to medium heat and cook the onions and garlic while stirring, occasionally. Add the flour and cook until golden.
  3. Pour in the Lager beer and bring it to a boil. Add in the chopped jalapenos and pickling juice, cook for two minutes. Gradually add milk and bring to a boil until thickened.
  4. Time for the best part: add the cheeses and bring to a low heat. Stir frequently until the cheese fully melts. Stir in the remaining chorizo. Serve warm with tortillas.

Baked Bacon Mac n’ Cheese

Serves: 12-16 people

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

No summer cookout is complete without a good plate of mac n’ cheese. It’s very hard to master the perfect plate, but you can definitely come close. The best part about this recipe is the bacon, which creates a surprise in every bite.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of dried cavatappi pasta
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 4½ cups of half & half
  • 4 tbsp of butter
  • 4 tbsp of all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups Cabot New York Sharp Cheddar, shredded (sold as an 8 oz. block of cheese, so you’d use 1 ½ blocks)
  • 1½ cups of whole milk mozzarella, shredded
  • ¾ to 1 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated
  • 1 tsp of fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tsp of fresh thyme
  • 2-3 tbsp of fresh basil, chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp of green onion, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves of fresh garlic, minced (not the stuff in the jar)
  • ⅛ to ¼ tsp of nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp of cayenne pepper (or more)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 8-12 slices of semi-crisp hardwood smoked bacon, chopped (or more)
  • Up to ¼ cup seasoned breadcrumbs (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with bacon slices, each separated by at least one inch between each slice. Place it on the lowest rack and let it cook for 8-10 minutes.
  3. Boil water in a large pot of water with about a tablespoon of salt. Add the pasta and let boil for 5 minutes. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water.
  4. Rinse the pot place on stove under medium heat. Add butter and once it starts to sizzle, add flour and whisk vigorously until smooth. Let cook for 1 minute and then add 1 cup of half & half for about 20 to 30 seconds. Add another 2 cups and continue whisking. Add rosemary, thyme, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, and minced garlic. Mix well. Adjust the seasoning as needed.
  5. Increase heat to medium-high and let mixture come to a simmer while whisking. Once the mixture is thick enough, add the parmigiano-reggiano and cheddar cheese. Stir until melted completely. Combine the cooked pasta with the cheese in the same pot. Gently fold together until the pasta is completely coated. Fold in basil and green onion at the last minute.
  6. Put half of the pasta and cheese mixture into a lightly greased baking dish. Sprinkle ½ cup of mozzarella over the first half and pour the remaining pasta mixture on top of the second layer. Add the leftover mozzarella cheese on top. Sprinkle the top with the bacon and breadcrumbs.
  7. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 25-35 minutes, or until golden brown.
  8. Allow the dish to cool for about 10 minutes before you dive in.

Classic Potato Salad

This potato salad is a necessity for every summer BBQ. While you can serve it for any time of year, it always tastes best outside, alongside a nice plate of mac n’ cheese. The most important thing to remember when serving potato salad to make sure that it is at the perfect temperature, not too warm and not too cold.

Serves: 4-6 servings

Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds of potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 5 or 6 hard-boiled eggs, cooled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chopped red onion
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chopped celery, optional
  • Thinly sliced tomatoes and cucumber, for garnish, optional
  • 3/4 cup of mayonnaise (a little more or less, as desired)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of prepared mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Place the cubed potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and place them over medium heat until the water comes to a boil. Cover and boil for 15 minutes until potatoes are tender then drain until potatoes are completely dry.
  2. Combine the cubed potatoes, chopped hard boiled eggs, chopped red (or sweet) onions, and the chopped celery with ½ cup of mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon. of mustard. Add more or less mayonnaise or mustard till it gets to where you are satisfied.
  3. Season with salt and ground black pepper. Serve chilled.

Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwiches

It’s safe to say that dessert is the best part of any event. With a hot day under the sun, your guests will be looking forward to something sweet and cold. This super easy ice cream sandwich recipe can be created in under five minutes. With a shelf life of three days, the dessert can be enjoyed even after the event.

Serves: 4

Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • ½ pint of strawberry ice cream, slightly softened
  • 16 small crisp cookies (such as Pepperidge Farm Bordeaux's, Gingersnaps or Shortbread)

Directions:

  1. Place a scoop of strawberry ice cream in between two crisp cookies.
  2. Serve immediately or freeze covered for up to 3 days.

lfaulk@theeagleonline.com


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