Are you throwing a July Fourth party but don't have your menu set? Don't worry -- we've got you covered with easy recipes to make for any Independence Day celebration. Take a look below at some creative twists on comfort food favorites.
Appetizers: To get the party started, make grilled bacon jalapeño poppers. Cut jalapeños in half lengthwise and seed them, then spread cream cheese inside and wrap with slices of bacon. Use toothpicks to keep everything in place, then grill until crispy.
— Tastebook (@Tastebook) May 4, 2015
Entrees: If you want an easy way to serve a big crowd, make pulled pork. The recipe couldn't be simpler -- just throw a 2-lb.pork tenderloin in a slow cooker with a little salt and a can of root beer. Let it cook for six hours, then drain and shred with a fork. Mix in one bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce, then serve on hamburger buns.
— America'sTestKitchen (@TestKitchen) June 29, 2015
Looking for something fancier that can still be eaten with your hands? Put together rosemary ranch chicken kabobs. Make a marinade of olive oil, salt, rosemary, ranch dressing, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, vinegar and pepper and let skinless, boneless chicken breasts absorb it for about 30 minutes. Put it on skewers and grill for about 10 minutes.
Serve either -- or both -- with grilled corn. Simply shuck a few ears of corn, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt, then grill for about five minutes. It should be charred. When you take the corn off the grill, sprinkle each ear with salt, crumbled queso fresco, cayenne pepper and fresh lime juice.
Desserts: Let your guests end the evening on a sweet note. Simply bake a pan of brownies -- you can make them from scratch, though mix will do -- and let them cool. Then spread white frosting over the top and place blueberries and sliced strawberries on it in the design of the American flag. Chill it in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve.
— Ronique Gibson (@stagetecture) June 28, 2015
If you're looking for something cooler, freeze popsicles for your guests ahead of time. Blend 1 cup of strawberries with a big spoonful of vanilla yogurt and set aside, then do the same with 1 cup of blueberries. In a popsicle mold, layer 1 tablespoon of the strawberry mixture, 2 tablespoons of yogurt and 1 tablespoon of the blueberry mixture. Freeze and serve. When you pull them out, they'll look red, white and blue.
Drinks: Make a pitcher of good, old-fashioned lemonade by mixing 2 cups of fresh lemon juice with 6 cups cold water and 1 cup sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Chill and serve over ice with lemon slices.
— Imperial Sugar (@ImperialSugar) June 27, 2015
If you can handle something a bit more complex -- and spicy -- mix watermelon schnapps with cranberry juice and pour the mixture into the bottom of a glass. Separately, muddle a slice of jalapeño with lemon, lime, tequila, simple syrup and blue curacao. Strain, then pour over the schnapps-juice solution. Serve chilled and admire your patriotic cocktail.