From Shop Cheap's perspective, the best thing about July Fourth is its simplicity. Gather friends and family, cook food outdoors and enjoy. But if you want to go a little gourmet, we've asked recipe researcher Sheila Kern to give us some options. We'll start with simple desserts then head to the salads and the grilling. Enjoy!
2 cups blue Powerade, Gatorade, or Kool-Aid
12 5-ounce disposable cups
1 cup frozen whipped topping
1 cup vanilla yogurt
12 craft sticks
2 cups cran-raspberry juice
To make the pops, equally divide the blue juice among the plastic cups, then place the cups in the freezer until the juice is partially frozen, about 30 to 45 minutes.
Mix together the whipped topping and yogurt and divide this mixture among the cups.
Set a craft stick in the center of each pop and return the cups to the freezer for approximately 45 minutes.
For the final layer, add the cran-raspberry juice to the cups and place them in the freezer until solid.
To remove the pops, run warm water over the outside of each cup.
Red, White & Blue Cheesecake
Serves 12 to 16
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 pint fresh blueberries
Heat the oven to 325º F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with waxed paper.
Put the graham cracker crumbs in a medium bowl. Add the butter and mix with a fork until evenly moistened. Press the mixture over the bottom and up 1 inch of the sides of the pan. Refrigerate until ready to use.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl when necessary. Beat in the sour cream until blended. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Pour half of the batter into the pan.
Put the jam and lemon juice in a small saucepan and warm over low heat, stirring often, until melted and smooth (about 4 minutes). Drizzle one fourth of the jam mixture in stripes over the batter in the pan. Spoon the remaining batter over the jam, then drizzle with 1/8 cup of jam. Reserve the last of the jam mixture to drizzle over the cheesecake.
Swirl the batter gently with a thin knife to marbleize it slightly.
Bake the cheesecake until firm around the edges but still slightly wobbly in the center, 70 to 80 minutes. (Don't worry if your cheesecake cracks while baking or cooling.) Set the cake in the pan on a wire rack, run a knife along the inside edge to loosen the sides, and let it cool completely. Wrap the cake in plastic and chill it for at least 4 hours.
Take the cake out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. Remove the pan sides and place the cake on a platter. Warm the remaining jam mixture until liquid, then drizzle it over the cheesecake. Serve with the fresh blueberries.
Makes 4 servings
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup julienned, peeled jicama
1 medium apple, chopped, or 1 medium peach or nectarine, peeled, pitted, and chopped
1/2 of a small red onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
3 tablespoons light mayonnaise dressing or salad dressing
2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro or parsley
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
Dash to 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
Purple kale (optional)
In a large mixing bowl combine the cabbage; jicama; apple, peach, or nectarine; and red onion.
In a small bowl stir together the mayonnaise dressing or salad dressing, cilantro or parsley, vinegar, sugar, and ground red pepper. Pour the dressing over cabbage mixture, tossing to coat. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours or up to 4 hours. Transfer to a salad bowl. If desired, garnish with kale.
Cabbage and Corn Slaw with Cilantro and Orange Dressing
Makes 8 servings
1/3 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/3 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
2 (8-ounce) bags coleslaw mix
4 ears of fresh corn, shucked, kernels cut from cob
2 medium carrots, peeled, coarsely grated
1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, cored, cut into thin strips
6 medium green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Whisk orange juice concentrate, rice vinegar, and canola oil in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Dressing can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.
Combine slaw mix, corn kernels, carrots, red bell pepper strips, sliced green onions, and chopped cilantro in large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Season slaw to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand 15 minutes for flavors to blend. Toss again and serve.
Southern Dill Potato Salad
Makes 8 servings
10 unpeeled red potatoes
5 hard boiled eggs, roughly chopped
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, or to taste
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, or to taste
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 teaspoon celery salt
salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon dried dill weed
Place the potatoes in a large pot, cover them with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through but still firm, about 20 minutes. Remove from the water, let cool, and cut the potatoes into chunks. Set the potatoes aside.
In a bowl, stir together the sour cream, mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, onion, celery, celery salt, and salt and pepper until well mixed.
Place the potatoes and eggs in a large salad bowl, and sprinkle with dried dill. Pour the dressing over the potatoes and eggs, and mix lightly. Cover and refrigerate the salad for at least 30 minutes. Serve cold.
Garden Pasta Salad
From EatingWell: June/July 2005
Makes 6 servings
2 cups whole-wheat rotini, (6 ounces)
1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar, or lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup diced yellow or red bell pepper, (1 small)
1 cup grated carrots, (2-4 carrots)
1/2 cup chopped scallions, (4 scallions)
1/2 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
1/3 cup slivered fresh basil
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes, or according to package directions. Drain and refresh under cold running water.
Whisk mayonnaise, yogurt, oil, vinegar (or lemon juice), garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl until smooth. Add the pasta and toss to coat. Add tomatoes, bell pepper, carrots, scallions, olives and basil; toss to coat well.
Tips & Notes
Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
Three Bean Salad
1 (14.5 ounce) can green beans, drained
1 (14.5 ounce) can wax beans, drained
1 (15.25 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
1 red onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon ground dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 1/2 teaspoons dried cilantro
In a large bowl, layer the beans, onion and green pepper. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, mix the vinegar, sugar, oil, mustard, tarragon and cilantro. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and pour over bean mixture. Stir until all ingredients are coated. This is best if it is left to marinate for a few hours in the refrigerator, and stirred occasionally.
Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers
Makes 2 servings
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh basil or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 large fresh portobello mushrooms, stems removed
2 slices reduced-fat provolone cheese
2 hamburger buns, split
2 lettuce leaves
2 slices tomato
1. In a small bowl, whisk the first seven ingredients. Add mushroom caps; let stand for 15 minutes, turning twice.
2. Drain and reserve marinade. Using long-handled tongs, dip a paper towel in cooking oil and lightly coat the grill rack. Grill mushrooms, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from the heat for 6-8 minutes on each side or until tender, basting with reserved marinade. Top with cheese during the last 2 minutes. Serve on buns with lettuce and tomato.
Favorite Turkey Burger
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (93 percent lean)
1/2 cup finely grated Gruyere cheese
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
Heat grill to high. In a medium bowl, use a fork to gently combine ground turkey with Gruyere, scallions, breadcrumbs, mustard, and garlic; season generously with salt and pepper. Gently form mixture into four 1-inch-thick patties.
Lightly oil grill. Place patties on hottest part of grill; sear until browned, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Move patties to cooler part of grill; continue grilling until cooked through, 5 to 10 minutes per side.
Grilled Corn with Lime Butter
Cooking Light, July 2002
Yield: 8 servings
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon grated lime rind
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
8 ears shucked corn
Prepare grill or broiler.
Combine butter, rind, juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
Place corn on grill rack or broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Cook 10 minutes, turning frequently. Remove from heat; brush corn with butter mixture.
From EatingWell: June/July 2005
Makes 4 servings
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1 pound 90%-lean ground beef
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Preheat grill to medium-high or preheat the broiler.
Combine Cheddar and Gruyere in a small bowl.
Gently mix beef, Worcestershire, paprika and pepper in a large bowl, preferably with your hands, without overworking. Shape into 8 thin, 4-inch-wide patties. Mound 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture on each of 4 patties, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Cover each with one of the remaining patties. Crimp and seal the edges closed.
To grill: Lightly oil the grill rack. Grill the stuffed patties over medium-high heat, about 4 minutes per side for medium-well. (Be sure not to press the burgers as they cook or they'll split open and the cheese will ooze out.) To broil: Cover a broiler pan with foil and coat with cooking spray. Broil the stuffed patties in the upper third of the oven, about 4 minutes per side for medium-well. In either case, let the burgers stand for 5 minutes before serving.