July 3, 2013 11:35:38 AM
Jan Swoope - firstname.lastname@example.org
So, you've been too busy washing sand out of vacation swimsuits to plan much for the Fourth of July. Or, maybe you've been putting in so much extra effort at work so you can actually be away from the office tomorrow you've not had time to dream up a holiday menu. Perhaps you just need a little special something to take to a gathering of family or friends.
Well, don't fret. You still have time to add some red, white and blue sparkle to your Independence Day celebration. We've found some simple recipes that don't take a day to make. Whether you're grilling steaks out on the patio, or picking up take-out chicken, these are pretty simple ideas you might consider incorporating.
First of all, we're in luck: The season's tastiest foods -- like watermelon, tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries and cherries -- are the right colors.
How about a patriotic fruit tray that salutes the Grand Old Flag? Strawberry. blueberry and banana kabobs (marshmallows make great white stripes, too) on skewers are a swift and healthy fix. Serve these with a drizzle of chocolate, if desired.
Prefer watermelon? Try a melon and feta flag, an idea found at wenderly.com. A white rectangular (or oval, if need be) platter, half a seedless watermelon, an 8-ounce block of feta cheese, blueberriees in a bowl and toothpicks are all it takes.
You can show your colors, too, with layered drinks that are non-alcoholic and kid-friendly. The ingredients are 1 cup of Ocean Spray red cran-apple juice, 1 cup of white Sobe Piña Colada flavored drink, 1 cup blue G2 Gatorade and ice.
Pour 1 cup of cranapple juice into your glass container, then fill it all the way to the top with ice. Slowly pour 1 cup of the piña colada drink directly on top of a piece of ice. Finish by slowly pouring 1 cup of the Gatorade on top.
The secret is sugar content. The beverage with the heaviest sugar content goes on the bottom; the lightest sugar content goes on top. Some recipes call for Diet Sprite or Diet 7UP instead of the piña colada drink. You may come up with other selections. Just always pay attention to the sugar content -- and remember, pour slowly on top of ice. Practice makes perfect.
Read on for recipes for pretty dessert trifles in individual Mason jars, a look-at-me red, white and blue dessert pizza and a zesty watermelon and tomato salad. They're all do-able dishes, even with one day to countdown.
Sometimes, amid the fanfare, we tend to forget the reason we celebrate the Fourth of July. It can be fun to play a game of Independence Day trivia before or after your feast. An Internet search will turn up a multitude of great quizzes geared toward kids or adults. Most of all, make a point of enjoying family, friends, food and fireworks tomorrow. Happy Birthday, America.
PATRIOTIC TRIFLE IN A JAR
Makes 8 servings
2 store-bought pound cakes
1 pint blueberries
1 pint raspberries
Whipped cream (heavy)
HOMEMADE WHIPPED CREAM
Makes 2 cups
1 cup heavy cream (not ultra-pasteurized)
3 tablespoons sugar (granulated or confectioners)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
RED, WHITE AND BLUE DESSERT PIZZA
1 box (1 pound, 2.3 ounces) fudge brownie mix
Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on brownie mix box
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 cup strawberry jelly
Makes 4-6 servings
5 cups (3/4-inch) seeded watermelon cubes
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
3 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 small red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Romaine lettuce leaves (optional)
Cracked black pepper to taste
(Source: "Seasoned in the South: Recipes from Crook's Corner and from Home," Southern Living)
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.