Independence Day is this weekend. I am excited for one of my favorite Fourth of July traditions: the cookout. Each summer, I search for new and delicious fare to serve for this festive occasion. This year, I found some great recipes on Good Housekeeping’s website and also on azcentral.com.
Firecracker Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches
If you’d like to add a little spice to your holiday lineup, this sandwich will really hit the spot.
- ½ c. hot sauce
- ¼ c. unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp. ketchup
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Hamburger buns
- ½ c. ranch dressing
Bleu Cheese-Apple Slaw
- 1 c. packed shredded Savoy cabbage
- 1 small apple
- 2 celery ribs
- 1½ oz. bleu cheese
- ¼ c. coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 shallot
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 1½ tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- ½ tsp. sugar
- Preheat grill to medium-high.
- Combine the first three ingredients in a bowl; reserve 1/4 cup of the mixture. Add chicken to the remaining mixture and toss to coat. Marinate for 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from marinade; discard marinade.
- Grill chicken, covered, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F, 5 to 7 minutes per side. Grill buns until lightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Spread dressing on buns.
- Serve chicken topped with Bleu Cheese-Apple Slaw and drizzled with reserved sauce between buns.
- To make the slaw:Combine all slaw ingredients in a large bowl.
Smoky Barbequed Shrimp & Peach Kabobs
For lighter fare, these flavorful skewers kick it up a notch.
- 12 metal or bamboo skewers
- 1 tbsp. packed dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp. chile powder
- 1 tsp. sweet paprika
- ½ tsp. ground cumin
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 lb. shelled de-veined shrimp
- 3 medium peaches
- 1 bunch green onions
- Lime wedges
- If using bamboo skewers, soak skewers in cold water at least 30 minutes to prevent burning. Prepare outdoor grill for direct grilling on high.
- In large bowl, combine brown sugar, chile powder, paprika, cumin, cayenne, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Add shrimp, peaches, and onion; toss until evenly coated.
- Thread shrimp, peaches, and onion alternately onto skewers.
- Grill 3 to 4 minutes or until browned and shrimp become opaque throughout, turning once. Serve with lime wedges.
Red, White, and Bleu Potato Salad
This fresher version of a traditional staple is a welcome accompaniment to any summer barbeque.
- 3 lb. red potatoes
- Kosher salt
- ¼ c. aged sherry vinegar
- 1 small shallot
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- ½ c. bleu cheese
- ⅓ c. olive oil
- 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 14 oz. watercress
- 2 green onions
- Place potatoes in an 8-quart saucepot. Add water until potatoes are immersed. Add 2 tablespoons salt and heat to boiling on high. Reduce heat to medium. Boil 10 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are just cooked through, but not soft. Test by piercing a potato with a thin skewer or toothpick; when skewer meets some resistance but can slide all the way through, drain potatoes immediately. Potatoes can be drained and set aside at room temperature up to 4 hours ahead.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, shallot, mustard, bleu cheese, and 1/3 cup oil. This vinaigrette can be covered and refrigerated up to 4 hours ahead.
- Prepare outdoor grill for direct grilling on high.
- Cut potatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Brush both sides of each slice with the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, then sprinkle with a 1/2-teaspoon of salt and a 1/4-teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.
- Place potato slices on the hot grill grate. Grill 5 to 10 minutes or until the potatoes are lightly browned on both sides, turning over once.
- Place watercress on large serving platter. Top with the potatoes and green onions. Drizzle the vinaigrette on top. Serve immediately.
Firework Fruit Skewers
The kids (and adults) will love these colorful and festive fruity fireworks.
- 1 set of 10-inch skewers
- Star cookie cutter
- Mini marshmallows
- Red grapes (optional)
- Raspberries (optional)
- Wash fruit and skewers.
- Slice watermelon into 1-inch pieces that fit your cookie cutter’s width.
- Cut out stars from the watermelon using your cookie cutter.
- To assemble the skewers, slide a blueberry onto a stick. Follow with a mini marshmallow.
- Repeat, rotating between berries and marshmallows until there is about an inch of stick left.
- Place a star-shaped watermelon slice at the top of each skewer, making sure the pointed stick is not exposed.
- If desired, add red grapes or raspberries after the marshmallows to make a red, white, and blue pattern on the stick.
Don’t forget a crisp and refreshing beverage to beat the summer heat.
- 1 bottle white wine
- 3 oz. elderflower liqueur
- 2 c. blueberries, washed
- 2 c. strawberries, washed and quartered
- 3-4 Granny Smith apples
- 12 oz. sparkling water
- Combine the first four ingredients in a pitcher.
- Slice the apples into 1/4-inch pieces, wide enough to fit your cookie cutter.
- Cut out stars from the apple slices using your cookie cutter.
- Chill beverage for at least 4 hours.
- Just before serving the sangria, add sparkling water.
- Serve sangria in a tall glass with ice and garnish with an apple-star cutout.
Now that you have some delicious ideas for your holiday cookout, you can have peace of mind going into this busy holiday weekend. Just remember to hit your local farm stands and farmers’ markets to get the freshest local organic ingredients.