Today I have some really great recipes that would be perfect for your 4th of July picnic! They are all really easy to make and healthy! There are a lot of fresh vegetables so go out in your gardens and pick them!!
Sautéed Fresh Corn With Herbs
- 8 to 10 ears of corn
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
Remove the husks and silk from the corn. Cut the kernels off the corn carefully, making sure to not remove any of the husk. Heat the butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Sauté the corn with the salt, pepper and thyme for about 10 minutes, until nice and brown. Sounds good right?
This next one reminds me of when I was in Girl Scouts forever ago and we would make hobo packs with carrots, potatoes, italian dressing and chicken. These ones are a little more adult friendly instead of things children would normally eat!
- 1 medium yellow summer squash, halved and cut into 3/4-inch slices
- 1 medium zucchini, cut into 3/4-inch slices
- 6 large fresh mushrooms, quartered
- 2 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 1 medium sweet red pepper, julienned
- 1 medium green pepper, julienned
- 1/2 cup fresh baby carrots, quartered lengthwise
- 1/4 cup prepared ranch salad dressing
- 1/4 cup prepared Italian salad dressing
Divide vegetables between two pieces of double thickness heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Fold foil around vegetables and seal tightly. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 10-13 minutes on each side or until vegetables are tender.
Open foil carefully to allow steam to escape. With a slotted spoon, remove vegetables to a serving dish. Combine the salad dressings; drizzle over vegetables and toss to coat.
I love this next one. I’m kinda in love with fresh tomato bruschetta after I went to Italy and found out that they don’t put anything but tomatoes and a little bit of salt and olive oil for their bruschetta. Amazing, let me tell you. I think it was because the tomatoes they used were so fresh and here in the States who knows how long the tomatoes have been sitting in the store and the fact that we smother them in all kinds of seasonings to ‘enhance’ the flavor doesn’t help. But in actuality we are just hiding the freshness of the tomatoes, which is the best part of bruschetta!! Anyways here’s a simple recipe for it!
Fresh Tomato Bruschetta
- Whole ripe tomatoes
- Olive oil
- French baguette bread
- salt & pepper
Rub the tomatoes with olive oil and char them over a hot fire. While they’re cooling, cut a loaf of bread into thick slices and grill until crisp; spread them out on a platter. Core and roughly chop the tomatoes. Spoon them on the bread along with their juices. Sprinkle on salt and pepper, drizzle on olive oil, and scatter on chopped fresh basil.
So everyone loves Caesar Salad and when we order it at the restaurant we always think we are being oh so healthy since its a salad and everything. Well guess what, its not healthy at all! The dressing packs a ton of calories onto your salad and makes it not healthy at all! Here’s a recipe I found that substitutes some of the not so healthy things (like to much olive oil and egg to the dressing) to make it less impacting on your waist line!
- 4 ounce(s) Italian bread
- 1 clove(s) garlic, cut in half
- Nonstick olive oil cooking spray
- 1/4 cup(s) light mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup(s) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoon(s) fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon(s) olive oil
- 1 teaspoon(s) anchovy paste
- Coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 package(s) (18-ounce) hearts of romaine lettuce
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut bread into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Rub bread slices, on both sides, with cut sides of garlic. Cut bread into 1/2-inch cubes; place in jelly-roll pan. Spray bread liberally with cooking spray. Bake 10 minutes or until golden-brown and crisp. Cool croutons in pan.
Meanwhile, in large salad bowl, with wire whisk, mix together mayonnaise, Parmesan, lemon juice, olive oil, anchovy paste, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Add lettuce and croutons to dressing in bowl; toss to coat.
This next one is really simple that can be thrown together for that last minute get together!!
Greek chopped salad
- Diced tomato
- Red Onion
- Can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
- Light red wine vinaigrette dressing
Combine diced tomato, cucumber, and red onion with a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas. Add in some “light” red wine vinaigrette dressing (or whisk up your own) and toss to coat.
Everyone loves chips and salsa right? Well most salsas that you find in the store are filled with fats and preservatives that you really don’t need or want! This one is really quick & simple, you might even have most of these ingredients in your garden!!
Pico de Gallo
- 3 cups diced ripe tomatoes (3-4 medium)
- 1 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1-2 jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 lime, zested and juiced
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
Combine tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapeño to taste, lime zest and juice, and sugar in a medium serving bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with tortilla chips (homemade or store bought!)
Mmm this next one I want to make for this weekend sooo bad! I love corn, its delicious I’ll take it anyway, cob, canned, fresh or frozen. Really I will. So when I saw this recipe I thought ‘I have to make this and share the recipe!!”
Roasted Corn Salad
- 3 cups fresh corn kernels
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss corn and oil to coat and spread out on a large baking sheet. Bake, stirring once, until some kernels begin to brown, about 20 minutes. Combine basil, shallot, vinegar, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the corn; toss to coat. Serve warm or cold.
I can’t decide if it would be better warm or cold but I’m willing to try it either way!!
This next one is kind of a classic picnic food, Beer Chicken, so here’s a new recipe I found for it that sounds pretty good to me!
Beer BBQ chicken
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon packed dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 4-pound chicken
- 1 12-ounce bottle beer, preferably pale ale or American lager, divided
Preheat a gas grill (with all burners lit) to 400°F or build a fire in a charcoal grill and let it burn down to medium heat (about 400°F).
Combine paprika, oregano, salt, brown sugar, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, chipotle chile and pepper in a small bowl.
Remove giblets from chicken (if included) and trim any excess skin. Loosen the skin over the breast and thigh meat. Rub the spice mixture under the skin onto the breast meat and leg meat, a little on the skin and inside the cavity. Tuck wings under the body and tie the legs together with kitchen string.
If using a gas grill, turn off one burner (leaving 1 to 2 burners lit, depending on your grill). If using a charcoal grill, move the coals to one side. Wearing an oven mitt, carefully place a drip pan under the grill rack on the unheated side. Place the chicken breast-side down on the rack over the pan. Pour half the beer into the cavity (it’s OK if some drips out into the drip pan).
Close the lid and roast undisturbed for 45 minutes.
Turn the chicken breast-side up. Pour the remaining beer into the cavity. Cover and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching bone registers 165°F, 30 to 45 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board; let rest for 10 minutes before removing the string and carving.
I know I’ve been giving you all mostly recipes with vegetables but what can I say, they look and taste delicious and they are good for you! Didn’t you parents always tell you to eat your vegetables any way? This is just the grown up more tasty version!!
Italian Vegetable Hoagies
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion, separated into rings
- 1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, rinsed and coarsely chopped
- 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 16- to 20-inch-long baguette, preferably whole-grain
- 2 slices provolone cheese, (about 2 ounces), halved
- 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
- 1/4 cup sliced pepperoncini, (optional)
Place onion rings in a small bowl and add cold water to cover. Set aside while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
Combine artichoke hearts, tomato, vinegar, oil and oregano in a medium bowl. Cut baguette into 4 equal lengths. Split each piece horizontally and pull out about half of the soft bread from each side. Drain the onions and pat dry.
To assemble sandwiches, divide provolone among the bottom pieces of baguette. Spread on the artichoke mixture and top with the onion, lettuce and pepperoncini, if using. Cover with the baguette tops. Serve immediately.
No picnic is complete without some desserts and some drinks to wash it down with! I’m not much of a wine person but I do enjoy sangria so I found a white wine version instead the classic red wine version.
- 1 1/2 cups mixed colorful bite-size melon pieces, such as cantaloupe & honeydew
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 750-ml bottle crisp white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 2 tablespoons Triple Sec, or other orange-flavored liqueur
- 3/4 cup sparkling water, or club soda
- Ice cubes
- Lime or starfruit slices, for garnish
- Small mint sprigs, for garnish
Stir melon and sugar together in a large pitcher. Let stand for 15 to 30 minutes to draw out the juices.
Just before serving, stir wine, brandy, Triple Sec (or other orange liqueur) and sparkling water (or club soda) into the pitcher. Add ice cubes to 6 glasses. Fill the glasses with the sangria, spooning some of the fruit into each glass. Garnish each drink with a slice of lime (or starfruit) and a sprig of mint.
Here’s another tasty drink, this time with watermelon (which I enjoy a lot!) This one you could make nonalcoholic as well!!
Watermelon Gin Fizz
- 5 cups diced watermelon, divided
- 6 ounces gin, divided
- 8 tablespoons lime juice, divided
- 1 1/3 cups ginger ale, divided
- Lime wedges, for garnish
Freeze 1 cup watermelon for garnish. Puree the remaining 4 cups watermelon. Strain; divide the juice among 4 ice-filled glasses.
Top each with 1 1/2 ounces gin, 2 tablespoons lime juice and 1/3 cup ginger ale. Garnish with the frozen watermelon and lime wedges. Non-alcoholic variation: Omit the gin.
Now onto some desserts!
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar plus 3 tablespoons
- 1/2 stick cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 egg
- 1 egg white
- 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Coat an 8-x-8-x-2-inch baking pan with nonstick spray; set pan aside.
In a small mixing bowl, combine 3/4 cup flour and 3 tablespoons sugar; cut in butter until crumbly. Pat mixture onto the bottom of prepared pan. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in the same bowl, combine egg and egg white. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until frothy. Add remaining sugar and flour, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon water, and baking powder. Beat on medium 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Pour mixture over baked layer in pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes more or until edges are light brown and center is set. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
Sift powdered sugar over top. Cut into 16 bars. Store in refrigerator.
This next one is one of my favorite things, tarts. I swear every day when I was in France for dinner our desert was always an apple tart, delicious. But since blueberries are more in season and so fresh right now I thought well lets look for some deserts with berries!!
- 1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted (see Tip)
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs, preferably whole-wheat (see Note)
- 1 large egg white
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon peanut or canola oil
- Pinch of salt
- 8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
- 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, preferably grade B, divided
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
To prepare crust: Preheat oven to 325°F.
Coarsely chop walnuts in a food processor. Add graham cracker crumbs and process until the mixture looks like fine crumbs.
Whisk egg white in a medium bowl until frothy. Add the crumb mixture, butter, oil and salt; toss to combine. Press the mixture into the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of a 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan. Set the pan on a baking sheet. Bake until dry and slightly darker around the edges, about 8 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
To prepare filling: Beat cream cheese, sour cream and 1/4 cup maple syrup in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth. When the crust is cool, spread the filling evenly into it, being careful not to break up the delicate crust. Arrange blueberries on the filling, pressing lightly so they set in. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons maple syrup over the berries. Chill for at least 1 hour to firm up.
I think adding some raspberries or strawberries to this would make it perfect for 4th of July!!
Wow that was a lot of recipes!! I hope everyone likes them and tries them out this weekend!! Let me know how it goes!! Talk to everyone Monday and have a happy and safe 4th of July!!