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4th of July Inspiration

This Independence Day, upgrade your typical burgers, dogs and barbecue fare with some fun, colorful foodie inspiration.

Every American family looks forward to the Independence Day holiday. Nowadays, celebrating our autonomy means gorging on the most delicious food known to man. Burgers, dogs, chicken, pasta salad, corn on the cob—we’d gladly pay Uncle Sam double if it meant unlimited goodies from the grill.

This year, instead of limiting the 4th of July meal to the barbecue, we’re inspiring home cooks everywhere to think outside the box. Not only can you jazz up your burgers and dogs with some unique ingredients, but a pop of unexpected color is also great for impressing family, friends, adults and children alike.

Home of the free, land of the hungry

While planning your party menu, consider this point. Manning the barbecue is an essential job for any 4th of July bash. But wouldn’t you agree it’s also a thankless one? You wind up sweating over a scorching flame for half the festivities while everyone else happily sips their red, white and blue cocktails by the pool.

If you’re cooking for a crowd, maintain your sanity by making use of your indoor cookware as well. There are plenty of tasks you can complete on the stovetop with your usual tools. In fact, many of these recipes require you to prepare a few things in the cool, air-conditioned kitchen.

We won’t make your tummy rumble any longer. Gather your pots, grab the sparklers, and let’s get cracking!

5 Awesome Recipes for Your 4th of July Feast

1. Red, White & Bleu Burgers

Breathe some much-needed life into the usual cheeseburger with this magnificently modern recipe. Red, white and bleu burgers require no special cooking or grilling instructions. In fact, the description refers to swapping the old, tired staples like cheddar, bacon, and tomato for a flag-inspired trio of tantalizing ingredients.

The burger’s red component is comprised of roasted red peppers, which you can char directly on the stovetop or on the grill. The white stands for mozzarella. Place a generous chunk atop each burger, and finish with ‘bleu’ cheese crumbles. Feel free to add more fixings to taste. And don’t worry—if it rains, you can easily prepare this course indoors with a traditional skillet or grill plate.

Photo & Recipe: Tablespoon

2. Firecracker Hot Dogs

The most amazing thing about hot dogs is their simplicity. Toss them on the grill or boil them in a pot of water, place in a bun, top with your favorite condiments, and you’ve got a mouthwatering meal that every partygoer adores. Still, there’s something so boring about your standard wiener.

In honor of the greatest American holiday, we found an explosive firecracker hot dog recipe sure to leave guests in awe. This take on a ballpark classic makes consumption even cleaner by placing the dog on a wooden skewer (similar to a corndog). Next, you wrap the meat with strips of premade crescent roll or similar dough and cook in the oven on a sheet pan until done.

Before serving, pop a cut-out star of cheese on top of the kebob. Talk about creative!

3. Patriotic Pasta Salad

Beat the heat by taking a break and making this marvelous patriotic pasta salad recipe indoors. So, the question of the hour: where in the world can you buy red and blue pasta? The answer is, you don’t. You make it!

Start by cooking any traditional pasta variety over the stove in your stockpot. Drain, rinse with cold water and separate into two Ziploc bags. Add 40 drops of food coloring to each one [blue and red, respectively], let the color infuse until your ideal color is achieved, and rinse in the colander.

Next, you prepare the salad with other colorful ingredients like cubes of mozzarella cheese [white], red onion [red], quartered pepperoni [red], and your favorite dressing to taste. Best of all, this recipe can be easily adapted to your own ‘famous’ pasta salad recipe, so feel free to get creative!

Red Pasta

Photo & Recipe: Lynnaemccoy

4. Red, White & Blue Chicken Tacos

Visitors are anticipating the burgers and dogs. But if you really want to exceed their expectations, consider offering a 3rd main course in the form of a make-your-own taco bar. The following recipe for red, white and blue chicken tacos with blueberry jalapeno salsa knocks it out of the park.

The basis of your spread is simple shredded chicken, which you can make in the crockpot or over the stove in your trusted crockpot. Other ingredients include beautiful red cherry tomatoes and vibrant purple cabbage. The real ‘blue’ inspiration comes in a delicious salsa, which is made from crushed blueberries, mayo, cilantro, and jalapeno.

Photo & Recipe: PDX Food Love

5. Mojito Fruit Salad

Don’t you love rolling up to a barbecue and seeing the massive watermelon overflowing with your aunt’s fruit salad? Update this party classic with a fun flag-inspired spin, which also happens to conjure flavors of one of your favorite adult drinks: the mojito.

For our recommended mojito fruit salad recipe, dice up some watermelon and strawberries and toss with raspberries and blueberries. Now for the zinger—chop up some mint, spritz with sugared lime, combine, and serve nice and cold for an instant refresher. Now that’s a dessert worth standing for!

Photo & Recipe: Jamie Oliver

Ready for your 4th of July feast? Enjoy, and don’t forget to grab all your ingredients before the big holiday

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