Summer’s into full swing with parties, grilling, and sun. And the fourth of July festivities seem to bring out the cook in everyone. Every year my girlfriend Mariann throws a fabulous fourth of July bash in her amazing backyard. She is the perfect hostess, greeting each guest in a timely manor and putting out any fires along the way. She is a seasoned party-throwing pro, but I often wonder how she does it. Her party is always festive, creative, and the food ever so scrumptious. Each year guests bring an appetizer, entree, or dessert, and every year I struggle with my dish. Although I work in food, and there’s a chef in the family, I too struggle to find the perfect recipe. Like many women, I vow to make something from scratch, but I can’t seem to find the time. This year I’ve started early and compiled a few simple, time-saving recipes to help you make the most of your bash.
Fruit Tart Flag
Time: 5 minutes
- miniature tart shells or phyllo cups
- 8 ounce container of mascarpone cheese
- 3 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 cup whipped cream
Fill premade miniature tart shells or phyllo cups with sweet mascarpone cream (recipe below), then arrange on a tray and top with blueberries and halved strawberry slices to create stars and stripes.
Mascarpone Cream Recipe:
Beat an 8-ounce container of mascarpone cheese and 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar with a mixer until smooth. Gently fold in 1/2 cup freshly whipped cream.
Red, White and Blue Nacho Appetizer
Time: 10 Minutes
- 1 bag blue corn tortilla chips
- Cooking spray
- Aluminum foil
- Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
- Sour cream
- Place blue corn tortilla chips on a foil-covered baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
- Sprinkle the chips with shredded Monterrey Jack, then bake at 350° for 5 to 7 minutes.
- Top the nachos with salsa and sour cream. Recipe courtesy of Family Fun
- Blue sugar or edible glitter
- 12 ounces white chocolate chips
- Melt 12 ounces of white chocolate chips in a microwave according to the package directions (make sure the container and the berries are dry; even a little moisture will alter the texture of the candy).
- One at a time, dip strawberries into the chocolate and then into blue sugar or edible glitter.
- Set them to harden on waxed paper.
- Makes 35 to 45 decorated berries.
Spicy Sausage Wonton Stars
Time: 20 minutes
- 1 pound bulk spicy pork sausage
- 2 medium carrots, finely shredded
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup finely chopped sweet red pepper
- 1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper
- 1 cup (4 ounces) finely shredded pepper Jack cheese
- 1 cup (4 ounces) finely shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
- 36 wonton wrappers
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- Sliced cherry tomatoes, optional