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10 Fourth of July Party Recipes

Celebrate America with some of our all-time favorite backyard dishes.

Photo by Jennie Tewell

1. Cowboy Conecuh Dog

Robertsdale’s rodeo scene meets Bellingrath’s Coca-Cola roots in a savory, sweet frank.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 pound Conecuh sausage, sliced into 6-inch “dogs”
4 - 6 hot dog buns 
6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
Coca-Cola Barbecue Sauce (see recipe here)

1. Heat grill to medium heat. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onion. Cook about 20 minutes, stirring until golden and tender.
3. Grill sausage dogs until slightly charred, about 6 minutes, turning occasionally.
4. Toast buns in oven about 3 minutes, until lightly browned.
5. Place sausage in buns. Top with onions, bacon and cheese. Drizzle Coca-Cola barbecue sauce on top, if desired. Makes 4 - 6 hot dogs.

2. Blue Cheese Burgers with Summer Herb Aioli

Photo by Elizabeth Gelineau

 

Pungent bits of blue cheese and a sassy, herb-laced aioli elevate the ordinary burger to a tasty, gourmet treat.

2 pounds Greer’s Black Angus Select Ground Chuck
8 ounces blue cheese crumbles
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
Summer Herb Aioli (see below)
hamburger buns
lettuce
tomato, sliced

1. In a bowl, combine ground chuck, cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix gently; do not over mix. Form meat mixture into 6 - 8 patties.  
2. Make a small indention in the center of each patty. This will ensure the burgers will have a flat top when cooked.  
3. Grill over medium-high heat until desired doneness is reached. Serve with Summer Herb Aioli, lettuce, tomato and other toppings of choice. 
Serves 6 - 8

Summer Herb Aioli

1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1 garlic clove, grated
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Makes about 1 1/3 cups.

3. Beer-Brined Wings

Photo by Ashley Rowe

 

Hot wings are a classic combination with an ice-cold beer. This twist on the traditional is extra flavorful.

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 (12-ounce) bottle of beer
2 pounds chicken wings (about a dozen or so)
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup red pepper sauce

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.
2. In large bowl, beat brown sugar, salt and beer with whisk.
3. Add chicken wings; toss gently to coat. Refrigerate 30 minutes to brine.
4. In a large zip-top bag, mix onion powder, garlic powder and paprika.
5. Drain chicken; pat dry with paper towels. Discard brine. Add chicken to bag with spices, and toss until evenly coated. Place chicken on cookie sheet.
6. In 1-quart saucepan, melt butter. Stir in pepper sauce. Heat to a simmer.
7. Pour mixture over wings. Bake 30 - 35 minutes or until juice of chicken is clear when thickest part is cut to bone (internal temperature should be 165 degrees). If desired, shake extra pepper sauce over wings after baking. Serve warm. Serves 6 - 12. 


Photo by Ashley Rowe

4. Snappy Cheese

This pimento-less version of cheese spread has a sassy, zesty flavor. For the small set, or for those with timid taste buds, simply omit the jalapeño and banana peppers. It is also divine with a little crumbled cooked bacon on top.

2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 (4-ounce) block cream cheese, softened
1/2 - 1 tablespoon minced pickled jalapeños
1/2 - 1 tablespoon minced banana peppers
1/4 cup mayonnaise 
1 pinch garlic salt
1 pinch Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning

1. Blend together all ingredients and enjoy. Serve with crackers or use as a spread to make quesadillas, sandwiches, or to top burgers. Makes about 2 1/2 - 3 cups.

5. Bama Baked Beans

Easy to assemble the day before and bake right before the big party.

1 pound regular or spicy sausage
1 pound Conecuh sausage, sliced
2 medium onions, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 (16.5-ounce) cans baked beans, drained
1 cup ketchup
1 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup yellow mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
3/4 cup brown sugar
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Cook sausages in sizable skillet until browned. Drain, reserving small amount of fat in skillet. Sauté onions and bell pepper in remaining fat until soft, several minutes. Add garlic and sauté several more minutes.
3. Combine beans, sausages, sautéed mixture and remaining ingredients.
4. Pour in large baking dish. Bake uncovered 30 - 40 minutes. Serves 14 - 16.

6. Seafood Jubilee Macaroni & Cheese

Photo by Jennie Tewell

 

The traditional side gets a coastal twist when infused with fresh-from-the-Gulf shrimp and crabmeat. Substitute crawfish for a Cajun kick.

salt, to taste
1 pound elbow macaroni
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
3 cups whole milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 pound shrimp, boiled, deheaded, peeled and deveined
1/2 pound fresh crabmeat, rinsed, drained and picked over for shells
4 cups (1 pound) mixed grated cheeses, such as Parmesan, cheddar, Swiss and fontina
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook macaroni 2 minutes less than al dente. Drain; rinse with cold water. Set aside.
2. While pasta is cooking, in a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Transfer 2 tablespoons melted butter to a medium bowl and reserve. Add onion and garlic to pan; cook until softened, 3 - 5 minutes. Add flour. Cook and continue stirring for 1 minute. Add milk; whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil; reduce to simmer. Cook 2 - 3 minutes, until sauce has thickened. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Remove pan from heat.
3. Fold seafood, pasta and cheese into butter mixture; transfer to a shallow 4-quart baking dish. 
4. To prepare topping, add breadcrumbs and Creole seasoning to the bowl with the reserved butter. Toss, and scatter over macaroni mixture. Place dish on a baking sheet. 
5. Bake 15 - 20 minutes, until topping is golden and sauce is bubbling. Let cool 5 minutes before serving. Serves 6 - 8.

7. Frozen Iced Tea

Photo by Ashley Rowe

 

This family-friendly libation is a frosty version of the Southern staple. Freeze it in large Ziploc bags or a plastic container, and allow it to slowly melt to slushy consistency.

3 lemons
2 oranges
9 family-sized tea bags
1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
3 cups sugar
1/4 cup maraschino cherry juice
fresh mint, for garnish
maraschino cherries, for garnish

1. Squeeze lemons and oranges.
2. Chill juices and reserve the lemon hulls.
3. Bring 2 quarts of water to a good boil; remove from heat.
4. Add tea bags, mint leaves and lemon hulls. Let mixture steep for 30 minutes.
5. Strain. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
6. When tea is thoroughly cooled, add lemon, orange and cherry juices, plus 1 1/2 quarts more cold water.
7. Stir well and freeze. When serving, garnish with fresh mint leaves and cherries. Makes 1 gallon.


Photo by Ashley Rowe

8. Chocolate Marshmallow Cookie Bars

S’mores are a classic summer treat. This twist on the tradition is perfect for satisfying that sweet craving when a fire is not an option, or while you patiently await the necessary marshmallow perfection before assembling the tried and true treat.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream butter and sugar until smooth and well combined.
3. Beat in 1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks (reserving the whites for later).
4. Mix in the flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla.
5. Spread mixture into a lightly greased 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
6. Sprinkle marshmallows and chocolate chips on top of batter.
7. Beat reserved egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in brown sugar.
8. Spread this mixture over the chips and marshmallow to cover.
9. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into bars. Makes approximately 24 bars. 

9. Lemon Squares

Photo by Ashley Rowe

 

The cool, tart flavor of these dessert squares is a welcome refresher at any summer party.

2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 cups flour, sifted
4 eggs, slightly beaten
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
grated lemon rind (optional)
confectioners’ sugar, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine butter, 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar and 2 cups of flour. Press into the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
3. Bake for 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, mix together eggs, 4 tablespoons of flour, sugar, lemon and lemon rind (if using).
5. Pour lemon mixture over hot crust and return to oven. Continue baking for 20 minutes more.
6. Let cool slightly. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar to liking. Cut into squares. Makes 12 or more, depending on the size of squares. 

10. Blackberry Shortbread Bars

Photo by Elizabeth Gelineau

 

Cook up sweet Alabama berries for a summer treat.

blackberry preserves
1 1/2 cups blackberries
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
fresh mint, for garnish 

1. Place preserves and blackberries in a saucepot. Using a potato masher, break up the blackberries.  
2. Add 1 1/4 cups sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Stir and bring to a boil. Continue to stir and reduce heat slightly to medium-high. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.
Remove from heat and allow to cool. 
3. Meanwhile, make shortbread. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream together butter and 1/4 cup sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla. Mix until combined. 
4. In a separate bowl, sift together flour and a pinch of salt. Add to butter mixture. Beat until combined. Mixture will be crumbly.  
5. Prepare a 9-inch-by-9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray, or grease lightly with butter. Pour shortbread mixture into baking dish and use your fingertips to press the dough out evenly. 
6. Bake dough for 20 minutes until lightly browned. Allow to cool for 15 - 20 minutes. 
7. Spread cooled preserves over the baked shortbread. Bake for another 20 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into squares. Garnish with fresh mint. 

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