Sunday, June 19, 2011

Time to Plan a Fourth of July Picnic

Are you planning a Fourth of July gathering?  One of the first things you'll want to decide is your menu. What can you serve that will be delicious for your guests, but won't keep you in the kitchen or standing over the grill for the entirety of your party?  After all, you'll want to enjoy the holiday, your family and your guests.

With two weeks until the Fourth of July it is time to get crackin' on the menu planning.  Here's my suggestion for a Fourth of July menu that is sure to delight your guests.


BBQ Jalapeno Poppers

Jalapeno Popper Ingredients

Guacamole with Tortilla Chips (store bought)

Slammin' Guacamole

Cocktail Meatballs

You'll make the BBQ Jalapeno Poppers ahead of time and freeze them. The cocktail meatballs will be made in your slow cooker and the guacamole will be made quickly the day of the party.

In addition to water and soft drinks plan for a couple of special adult beverages for your guests.  Here are two suggestions that are tasty crowd pleasers.
Rum Punch


Both the rum punch and the margaritas can be made ahead of time and stored in large beverage containers. To convert the margarita recipe for a large group just change the word "ounces" to "cups".   Remember to buy enough ice for the party.  You'll want plenty of ice to keep the drinks nice and cold.

The Meal
Southwest Chipotle Chicken
No grill is required.  Bake your chicken in the oven and top it with spicy and delicious Chipotle Barbecue Sauce.  Make the Chipotle Barbecue Sauce ahead of time so it is ready to go for your party.

The Chipotle BBQ Sauce Ingredients

Buy bone-in chicken parts and marinate them in your favorite bottled Italian salad dressing for a minimum of one hour before you bake them in your oven the day of your party. Just before serving you will brush the chicken with a generous amount of the chipotle barbecue sauce.   It's really easy, but very tasty.

Slammin' Pork Ribs

These pork ribs take a little preparation, but they are worth the effort.  They'll cook slowly in your oven the day of the party.  Again, no grill is required.

Remember to allow enough time to reduce the braising liquid to a glaze the day of your party. 

Red Potato Salad

What is a summer picnic without potato salad?  Craziness, that's what.  Potato salad is also a make ahead dish.  The flavors bloom after a couple of days in your refrigerator.
Red Potato Salad
Make your potato salad three or four days before the party.  That will give the potato salad plenty of time to meld the flavors in your refrigerator and the yumminess will improve.

Corn on the Cob with Chili-Lime Butter
If you have never grilled corn-on-the cob you'll be amazed at what a difference the grill can make in the juicy sweetness of your corn.  Add the Chili-Lime Butter for a bit of spice.
Grilled Corn on the Cob with Chili-Lime Butter

This corn on the cob is a winner.  My family LOVES this corn.  Make the Chili-Lime Butter ahead of time.  It will keep well in your refrigerator until the Fourth of July party.  The corn-on-the-cob will be cooked on your grill the 30 minutes before you are ready to serve it.  You can place it on a large platter as it comes off the grill and add pats of the Chili-Lime Butter here and there over the hot corn. Let the butter melt and drip over the corn.  Cover with foil and let it sit a few minutes to cool off a bit and absorb the flavor from the butter.

These are make ahead desserts that are sure to please the sweet tooths at your party.

Select you favorite brownie recipe either from you own recipe files or from one of the three contenders in my search for a favorite brownie recipe.  Make your brownies ahead of time and you can freeze them until the day of your party.

Coconut Tres Leche Cake

Make the cake portion of this recipe ahead of time.  You can make it this week and freeze it until the day before your party or make the cake the day before the party.  The cream step of this recipe will be completed the day before the party.  The only thing you will need to do the day of the party is make the sweetened whipped cream and garnish the cake.

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

These perfect chocolate chip cookies will be a favorite of your picnic.  Want to step it up?  Make Chocolate Chip ice cream sandwiches.  Make them ahead, wrap them individually in plastic wrap and you'll have a delicious and decadent treat for the Fourth of July.

This menu is sure to please your family and your guests.  Are you in?  If yes, click this link for the Fourth of July prep schedule

Time to celebrate the Fourth of July!


  1. I can't believe it is that time of year again. I am thinking of doing a picnic for the family this year - no bbq's, no heavy dishes, but lots of tasty cheese and wine and quiches and things like that.

  2. Tina, That sounds like a great idea, too. It should be fun for everyone.

  3. Sounds wonderful.....What time do I arrive?????? BFF

  4. What time is dinner? They all look good. Can't wait to show up unexpectedly at your house.


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