I know it's not my style to post on the weekends, but I couldn't leave you without a menu for the biggest holiday of the summer. The 4th of July is just under a week away (!), and everyone and their mother seems to be spending this weekend brainstorming, organizing, and shopping for all the fixin's. I've made your life a little easier and rounded up 20 of my favorite recipes, perfect for a crowd of any size on a sizzling summer day. Most of these can be prepared ahead of time, so you can devote your attention to the fun stuff. Here's to life, liberty, and the pursuit of grilled meats, cool treats, and great company! :)
- Two-ingredient fruit dip - Cool, creamy, and easy enough for the men/children to whip up!
- Matt's ranch pretzels- What makes this a perfect picnic/party food is what I've deemed its "all day snackability factor." That right there is a scientific term.
- 3-layer Black Bean, Salsa & Guacamole Dip - Can't stop, won't stop. A dairy-free dip that'll be safe outside all day. You'll never be able to go back to plain salsa again.
- Grilled asparagus - Quick, easy, and can be scaled up or down for 20 or 2. If you've never had roasted asparagus before, be warned -- it's the best way to enjoy it!
- Watermelon, arugula & goat cheese salad with balsamic glaze - I have yet to meet a salad that's as refreshing as this. Assemble the elements and serve the balsamic glaze in a separate bowl on the side for drizzling.
- Sally's Baked Beans - These beans are my life. Bacon, beef, sweet molasses... what's not to love? Make these and Sally will be the hit of your party, too!
- Broccoli slaw salad - Who needs soggy pre-made coleslaw from the store when you can have crisp broccoli slaw that's made from scratch right in your own kitchen? Love the surprising sweet cranberries and crunchy almonds.
- Three bean salad - Don't let this simple recipe fool you -- you'll go back for seconds of this fresh bean salad, thanks to the tangy dijon dressing.
- Caprese quinoa-stuffed tomatoes - A great make-ahead vegetarian option to utilize garden fresh produce. These are great served warm or even cold. Plus, don't you just love that they're individually packaged?
- Andy's BBQ Chicken - I've had lots of barbeque chicken in my life but none has come close to Andy's master recipe. Mix and marinate the night before, and grill when ready. How easy is that?
- Grilled chicken sausages with peppers, onions & maple dijon sauce - Though I originally made these for breakfast, they are truly a hit any time of the day. Grill or roast the veggies and make the sauce ahead of time, and have an assembly line ready with buns, toppings, and hot sausages off of the grill.
- The best slow cooker pulled pork - Some folks prefer to give the
grillgrill master a break and have a Crock Pot full of something yummy ready for hungry guests. If that appeals to you, then I recommend this pulled pork recipe. A few extra steps stand between you and homemade BBQ sauce bliss!
- 3-ingredient Nutella brownies - I can't remember a summer picnic without some kind of brownies at the dessert table. Up your brownie game with these easy bar cookies and watch people go crazy when you say the magic word: Nutella!
- Grandma's ice cream Oreo dessert - No summertime (or fall, winter, spring) Kemp family get together would be complete without Grandma's famous Oreo dessert. Crunchy, cool, and that gooey butterscotch layer that always sends me back for seconds... and patroling others' plates to make sure none of it goes to waste. Not even a little ashamed.
- S'mores cupcakes - A lot less messy but just as delicious as the fireside version. Make ahead and watch both kids and adults mmm and ahhh at this spin on the nostalgic flavor combination.
- Blueberry "boy bait" cake -Simple, sweet, and chock full of bright blueberries. The ultimate July cake. To make it extra patriotic, serve with a batch of this easy strawberry sauce for topping.
- Mini chocolate chip cookie cup sundaes - Bake these cups ahead of time and roll out an old fashioned ice cream sundae bar after dinner. FYI, sprinkles are a must :)
- No bake flag cake cups - Because no 4th of July menu would be complete without a flag-inspired dish. My patriotic brainchild of last year is at the top of my must-make-again list for this year's holiday. I love how you can make as many or as few as you like!