Who doesn't love the Fourth of July? With plenty of sunshine and warm beautiful weather, there is no better way to celebrate America's Independence, especially if you can spend it outside with friends and family enjoying a parade or picnic, and of course, fireworks at night. This special day also means plenty of good food to be shared with the people you care about most.

While there are a countless number of foods that can be prepared to commemorate our nation's independence, why not take it a step forward and make it extra special this year? Why not give your family patriotic food? It will not only impress everyone who sits down at your table or picnic blanket, but it will make eating more fun and spirited.

Patriotic food can include any sort of traditional American fare that you enjoy throughout the year, or you can take a dish and turn it into a patriotic one by simply adding foods with the right colors, i.e., red, white, and blue. It's actually easier than you think, and the more creative you get with it, the better, especially if you can accomplish it without the use of artificial dyes, which we try to avoid. The biggest challenge is finding blue food, but again, with a little ingenuity, you can do amazing things.

Here are a few fun suggestions.

Crunchy Fourth of July Cheeseburger

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef, made into 4-5 patties
  • 6 slices white American cheese (can use white cheddar)
  • 1 onion (white and red), sliced finely
  • Sliced tomatoes, lettuce, pickle, ketchup and mayonnaise
  • 1 package blue corn tortilla chips
  • 1 jar salsa
  • 1 container sour cream

Method

Grill the burgers to how you like them, then top with tomato and ketchup (red), cheese (white), and onions. Top the burger with blue corn tortilla chips and add a little crunch to the burger, or serve blue chips on the side with salsa and sour cream (red, white, and blue).

Grilled Patriotic Pita Pizza

Ingredients

  • 5-6 pita breads
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce
  • 2 cups grated cheese (any white cheese, including mozzarella, cheddar, jack)
  • 1 package blue corn tortilla chips
  • 2 cups purple cabbage, chopped finely (optional)
  • 3 plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced

Method

Get your grill going hot. If using purple cabbage, saute in olive oil until tender. The cabbage will turn a bluish purple color when it cools.

Grill pita bread on one side until it is toasted. Spread sauce on toasted side and then add an even layer of cheese and toppings. The cheese is your white, tomatoes and/or peppers are blue, and the blue-purple cabbage or blue corn tortilla chips are the blue. Place pizzas on the grill and cover, cooking until cheese is melted and bubbly in the middle, about 3-5 minutes. Alternatively, you can omit the blue corn tortilla chips and serve them on the side with salsa and sour cream

Red, White, and Blue Nachos

Ingredients

  • 1 package blue and white corn tortilla chips
  • 1 cup white cheddar and/or jack cheese, grated
  • 1 jar tomato salsa

Method

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a 9X12 casserole dish, arrange white and blue chips in an even layer. Cover chips with cheese and place in oven until cheese melts, checking regularly (about 10 minutes). Let nachos cool for 5 minutes and then add salsa on top with a dollop of sour cream, or on the side.

Firecracker Potato Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 lb blue potatoes, washed but not peeled
  • 1 lb white potatoes, washed and peeled
  • 2 eggs, hardboiled
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 cup celery, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup chopped red pepper
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 T white vinegar
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1/4 t fresh black pepper

Method

Adirondack blue potatoes can be found in most big supermarkets. Cut the potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes and place in a pot of cold water with 2 tsp of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and cool. Removed yolks from hard boiled eggs and chop the whites into small pieces. In a large bowl, add all the ingredients and toss gently. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Patriotic Strawberry Short Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 quart strawberries
  • 2 pints blueberries
  • 1 container whipping cream
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 T sugar
  • 1 1/2 T baking powder
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 12 T cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 t vanilla extract

Method — Filling

Remove stems from strawberries and cut into medium thin slices. In a bowl, combine strawberries, blueberries, and 1/4 cup of sugar and let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Whip cream and add a drop or two of vanilla. Put in refrigerator until ready to use.

Method — Biscuit

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter, fork, or food processor until the pieces are the size of a pea. In a separate bowl, add cream and vanilla together and add to the center of the flour mixture. Mix with a fork until combined and knead gently until it forms a loose ball.

Place dough onto a lightly floured surface and form into an 8 inch square that is about an inch thick. Place on baking sheet with parchment paper and chill for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator and cut into 9 even square. Place squares onto baking sheet about 2 inches apart and place in oven. Bake until medium golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool.

To serve, break up each biscuit into pieces in a bowl and ladle berry mixture on top. Add a dollop of whipped cream and enjoy.

From all of us at Parenting Squad, we wish you a happy and safe Fourth of July.