While there are a lot of patriotic holidays throughout the year dedicated to honoring our country and the soldiers that serve us, Fourth of July is undoubtedly my favorite, and not only because it’s a prime opportunity to create a summer cookout menu.
While Memorial Day signifies the beginning of the summer, the weather hasn’t always caught up to the calendar.
In some parts of the country, the sun shines regardless, but where I’ve lived, Memorial Day can just as easily mean a day indoors on the couch with the heater on.
And Labor Day? Well, Labor Day is fine except for the fact that it essentially means summer is over and in just a few short weeks, we’ll be donning sweaters and winter coats.
Depending on the summer’s average humidity index I tend to be okay with that, but nonetheless, Labor Day is kind of a bummer, don’t you think?
So that leaves us with the Fourth of July.
A day for the pool, the beach, barbecues, Popsicles, fireworks and sunburn.
And of course, plenty of red, white and blue.
Since party planning can be overwhelming no matter how often you entertain, we’ve pulled together some of our favorite entertaining ideas for the perfect July 4th bash.
Summer Cookout Menu Tips
Do all of your baking the day before your party or picnic so that on the day of the party, your pie crusts will be baked, your salads will be chilled in the fridge and you’ll only need to set foot in your kitchen is to refill the sangria.
Buy extra ice
Whenever I have a party, one of two things happen: I forget to purchase ice at all and make a frantic call to one of my friends, asking them to pick some up on the way over OR I buy a giant bag of it and someone leaves it sitting out so it melts, leaving our drinks warm and our white wine room temperature.
I know, cue the violins.
Just don’t forget to buy ice.
Set the scene
Instead of buying tacky July 4th decorations that you’ll only use once, adorn your table with items you’ll actually use, like festive straws to add a retro vibe to your table, and also facilitate efficient cocktail consumption.
If you’re serving red sangria or a bright cocktail, serve it in a Mason Jar Drink Dispenser to celebrate traditional American style.
If your theme is red, white and blue, pick up a few sets of red, white and blue plates from Pottery Barn, which you’ll be able to use again when you’re not saluting the flag.
Baked Chicken Meatballs with Pancetta from We Are Not Martha
Black Bean Salsa from The Blond Cook
Spicy Shrimp Guacamole from In Good Taste
White Bean and Artichoke Dip from In Good Taste
Jalapeño Popper Dip from In Good Taste
Grilled Lamb Pitas with Pistachio and Mint Pesto from I Was Born To Cook
Grilled Shrimp from The Little Kitchen
Grilled Chicken Sliders with Roasted Tomatoes from Sweet Caroline’s Cooking
Sliders with Chipotle Mayonnaise from In Good Taste
Candy Chicken from Chez Us
Salads and Side Dishes
Macaroni Salad from 101 Cookbooks
Lemon Cole Slaw from One Perfect Bite
Cilantro Lime Corn on the Cob from The Little Yellow Kitchen
Basic Potato Salad from In Good Taste
Summer Heirloom Tomato Salad from In Good Taste
Blueberry Sour Cream Torte from In Good Taste
Berry Spangled Lemon Cheesecake from Eat, Drink and Be Merry
Thick and Chewy M&M Cookie Bars from Greens and Chocolate
Creme Filled Strawberries from Baker’s Royale
Cake nor Candy Brownies from In Good Taste
Pomegranate Sangria from In Good Taste
Sparkling Blueberry Lemonade Cocktail from My Diary of Us
Strawberry Margarita from Sweet Life
Fresh Basil Lemonade from In Good Taste
Strawberry Sangria from In Good Taste