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25+ All American Recipes for your 2017 Fourth of July Celebration

25+ All American Recipes for your 2017 Fourth of July Celebration

On the Fourth of July, we the people celebrate the Declaration of Independence 🙂

This is the birthday of the nation when, besides taking the time to contemplate what freedom means, we come together to share our patriotism and pride with family-and-friend gatherings, parades, fireworks, patriotic speeches, bells, balloons, singing, and dancing…

But Fourth of July is also a perfect day to share the love for good food and fun! So, however you decide to celebrate this year, there is one thing you’ll need for sure –delicious eats!

 

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Fourth of July Celebration Tips

There is nothing more fun that a 4th of July picnic – warm weather and happy people seated in the shadows, enjoying the day, while waiting to see the fireworks after dark. “A Fourth of July picnic is as traditional as Uncle Sam’s striped trousers”, as someone wise (or a bit drunk after a 4th July picnic) once said 😊

The first written record of 4th July family picnics is from 1862. Old-time picnics usually involved fried chicken and potato salad, whereas traditional refreshments were lemonade and watermelon.

If you are hosting the party, you don’t need to go too far. It can take place in the backyard or on the porch. The eats should be festive, tempting, and most importantly, all-American! However, no matter how delicious and attractively served the food is, the hostess should be as relaxed as her guests. What’s a holiday if you get stuck in the kitchen all day and miss all the fun? Being responsible for all the food for a large group of friends and family is not an easy task; that is why we offer a few tips to help you stay organized and relaxed.

fourth of july

  • Choose foods that are easy to prepare and simple to serve, i.e. don’t require the use of knives, forks, or spoons (We believe that the recipe selection we have offered below will largely contribute to a relaxed Independence Day party).
  • Your good time on the Fourth largely depends on forethought. Plan the main dish(es) and make a shopping list. Do all the shopping for ingredients 2-3 days in advance and see which foods you can prepare the day before.
  • If you decide to go with a backyard barbecue, feel free to leave food preparation to your significant half. Just place a tub full of ice and beer by the grill and watch all the male guests follow their natural instinct and gather to help with the preparation of meat.
  • To minimize the mess, pack box lunches for the children with simple items like sandwiches and sat them under a big shade tree where they can play (and make noise) without disturbing the adults. For the grown-ups, serve the food buffet style on the porch/terrace. Bear in mind that this is not a formal dinner but a relaxed get-together, so feel free to use paper plates, cups, glasses, napkins. You’ll be glad to avoid massive dishwashing on a hot day!
  • Another option is to tell everyone to bring one dish. This will leave you enough time to prepare patriotic favors for the guests, come up with fun game options, suitable decorations, and most importantly, prepare the fireworks!

 

Declare Your Independence from Plain Food with These Amazing Traditional 4th July Dishes

Have you ever wondered why we eat hamburgers and hot dogs on Independence Day? Have barbecues always been a part of America’s birthday? There are so many questions about traditional Fourth of July foods.

You’ll be surprised to find out that on the first celebration of the Fourth, President John Adams, along with his wife and thousands of other Americans, enjoyed – soup. That’s right, a dish as plain as the green turtle soup. And yes, it was a soup made from the flesh of real turtles. In fact, turtle soup was extremely popular at the time, especially on 4th July. Its popularity decreased due to concerns related to endangering turtles (thank God!). Today, Americans in the South still enjoy turtle soup, but a mock one, usually made with veal.

If you really must eat soup on this day, we have just the thing: a cool and refreshing recipe, perfect for hot days:

Cool Cucumber Soup

Cucumbers, onion, and parsley make up a refreshing, emerald-green summer lunch.  This soup allows a number of modifications. For instance, you can use baked and chopped potatoes (without the mint springs) or omit the chicken broth, increase the amount of parsley, and add some garlic. Another option is to substitute one cup of mayonnaise for one cup of sour cream. Then, put all the ingredients in a blender and process the mixture until smooth.

According to reports, this festive meal also included poached salmon, green peas, egg sauce, boiled potatoes, apple pandowdy, and Indian pudding. How much have 4th July menus evolved since 1776? Let’s find out.

Barbecue

4th july barbecue

Today, barbecues are probably the first thing that pops up when mentioning the Fourth. Grilling became popular in the 19th century when the Fourth wasn’t even a national holiday. In some US regions, political leaders started organizing gatherings to mark this day, but also to boast with their patriotism. On some of these rallies, especially in the South, barbecues were prepared as an expression of regional pride. Large crowds were attracted by roasting oxen or pigs.

These huge public barbecues became more private in the 20th century. This transition might have something to do with the fact that charcoal grills became widely popular and entered almost every household.

Here is a fun fact: Last year, 74 million Americans reported attending a barbecue on Independence Day!

Down-home Barbecue Chicken

For best results, make your own barbecue sauce and store the extra in the fridge. You’ll have it on hand for a quick weeknight meal.

Barbecued Spareribs

It’s a good thing you’ll be using plastic utensils and not-so-fancy tablecloths because these saucy ribs are quite messy. But we couldn’t resist! Tip: For well-trimmed, easy-to-eat ribs, boil the uncut spareribs and let them cool slightly. Then trim and discard the skin from the back of the ribs and cut them into sections.

Barbecued Beef Roast

The most economical choice for this dish is beef chuck roast with a very mild flavor. However, for those who like beefy flavor, you can use a bottom round roast instead. The leftovers of the barbecue are delicious when shredded and served on a corn cake.

Tarragon-Grilled Chicken

The mixture of tarragon and Dijon gives this all-America dish a classically French twist. To capture all the juicy goodness of this chicken, serve it with fluffy white rice. Less messy sides include bread or rolls for dipping in the juices.

Maple Barbecue Ribs

Liven up your Fourth of July barbecue with baby back ribs marinated in a spicy glaze that features the added sweetness of maple syrup. For an Asian flair, replace the Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and spices with Chinese five-spice powder and grated ginger.

Asian Barbecue Chicken

Grilled chicken drumsticks are basted with a rich hoisin sauce enlivened with orange zest, and garnished with grilled orange wedges. Tip: you can substitute hoisin sauce with a thick barbecue sauce.

Hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and hot dogs

fourth of july burgers

Burgers and hot dogs are another great way to celebrate Independence Day!

Did you know that it was the Spanish who brought domesticated farm animals like pigs, chicken, and cattle to the New World? In the early days, cattle ranches did not exist and cattle meat was rarely eaten. No wonder people opted for turtle soup instead of eating burgers!

Today, burgers are usually made with beef and served with tomatoes, pickles, salad, and, in the case of cheeseburgers, cheese. Some recipes also include bacon, green chili, jalapeños, or chipotle mayonnaise. Even vegetarians can celebrate 4th July with quinoa patty burgers!

Want a few fun facts? During the holiday season, Americans eat about 150 million hot dogs (that’s enough hot dogs to stretch from Washington, D.C to L.A!). In addition, they devour 750 million pounds of chicken!

Cheddar-filled Burgers

This burger combines bacon, cheese, and barbecue sauce in an absolutely juicy and tasty treat! Tip: These burgers can be prepared on the stove top with a griddle pan or outside on the grill.

Shrimp Burgers

If you are a fan of fish and seafood, try this variation! Tender shrimp blended with seasonings and breadcrumbs for deliciously unique patties. Add a slice of pepper cheese on top of each patty in the last minute of cooking for a special zip!

Swiss Mushroom Burgers

These hearty burgers topped with melted Swiss cheese and mushrooms will be your party sensation. Add a little cornstarch mixed with water to quickly thicken sauces and gravies.

Hawaiian Burgers

Grilled pineapple rings combined with a sweet-and-tangy sauce give these great burgers tropical Hawaiian flair.

Greek Chicken Burgers

This 4th July, savor the Mediterranean flavors. These open-face patties include a tart cucumber sauce, reminiscent of the famous Greek tzatziki. Tip: use a sieve to drain the moisture from the yogurt and cucumber to make the sauce authentic, creamy, and rich.

Tex-Mex Hamburgers

This is the burger of your dreams. Every bite is a perfect blend of tastes and textures that will satisfy any appetite. Tip: use spicy Pepper Jack cheese instead of Monterey Jack. If you want to shorten the preparation time, buy prepared guacamole from the supermarket.

Fried Chicken

fried chicken

Chicken leg

While at the meat department, it’s worth mentioning fried chicken as a separate Fourth of July staple food. The chicken is covered with flour, seasoned with salt and pepper, then fried in a pan. It is usually served with gravy, composed of some of the oil which the chicken has been cooked, flour, cream (or milk), and black pepper. Here are a few varieties to try.

Blue-Ribbon Fried Chicken

This is a spicier version of the classic Southern fried chicken recipe. Tip: cast-iron pans are the best choice for frying chicken. They keep the heat consistent and provide even browning.

Maryland Fried Chicken

The traditional cracker crumb coating this crispy chicken is complemented with a traditional Chesapeake Bay seasoning composed of celery, cloves, allspice, and salt. Tip: use tongs to stay safe while transferring the chicken in and out of the hot oil. In addition, the tongs won’t pierce the chicken and let the juices out.

Crispy Batter-Fried Chicken

This crispy chicken breast in golden coating seasoned with garlic and fresh tarragon is perfect for sandwiches. Prepare some baguettes and buns, and complement with a creamy mustard dressing, lettuce, and tomato.

The Strength of a Great Fourth of July Barbecue Lies in the Side Dishes

Even though meaty recipes are definitely the stars of our Fourth of July celebrations, they still need suitable companions (besides beer) to form a hearty and balanced meal. Potato salads, baked beans, and corn are the top three choices. In numbers, this translates into the following: one-half of the Americans eat potato salads/chips or corn with their BBQ, whereas about one-third opt for baked beans.

Potato Salad

fourth of july potato salad

There are two reasons why we love eating potato salad on the Fourth. First, it is very easy and it can be prepared the night before. Potatoes are boiled for about 20 minutes and then cut into cubes. Then, they are combined with boiled eggs, mayonnaise, onions, and dressing. Second, this salad is served cool, after being refrigerated for a few hours or, better yet, overnight. That’s the basic version. If you want something slightly different, here is an inspiration.

Roasted Potato Salad

The potatoes are roasted along with garlic to sweeten the garlic taste. For real garlic fans, increase the mashed garlic amount up to 6 teaspoons.

Fresh Sweet Potato Salad

This salad has the best texture and flavor on the day it is made, so we suggest making it in the morning. However, if the salad is chilled overnight, just drain the liquid that had accumulated in the bowl before serving. Also, you can use shredded carrots instead of sweet potatoes because carrots produce less liquid.

Make a variation of the original recipe by substituting one cup of shredded or chopped Mexican potato (jicama) for one cup of the sweet potato. Add a cup of dried cherries to the salad as well.

Sweet Potato Salad

For a colorful salad with extra crunch, combine sweet potatoes with toasted pecans, celery, and mayonnaise. For a change of pace, replace the sweet potatoes with new potatoes or red-skinned potatoes, and leave the skin on.

Honey Mustard Potatoes

The secret to this quick potato dish is the sweet honey-mustard dressing that gives it additional flavor. Turn this side dish into a main meal by layering the potatoes with diced ham or chopped cooked bacon.

Baked Beans

Baked beans

This New England staple is the number one choice alongside all grilling foods simply because its taste pairs great with… well, everything 😊

Boston Baked Beans

This dish is made of pinto beans, bacon, and onion baked in a sweet-and-smoky sauce. To add extra flavor and spice, replace the bacon with a sausage (regular or chorizo) and add some chili powder.

Corn Dog Casserole

This creative recipe that combines a few American favorites: corn dogs, baked beans, and cheese. Tip: if you have the time and patience, you can easily turn this casserole into cute muffins: Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Divide the corn mixture evenly, then press 2-inch hot dog pieces into the center of each muffin. Bake and serve with a dollop of ketchup or mustard.

Corn

fourth of july corn

According to the old adage “Knee-high by the Fourth of July”, our nation’s birthday isn’t just a celebration of independence but also an important milestone for the corn crop. Even though this seems strange since today waist-high (or even higher) corn is typical on the Fourth, in the past farmers had much lower yield expectations, and having knee-high corn by July was considered a great success.

Herbed Corn-on-the-Cob

Buttered corn-on-the-cob is the simplest yet delicious food. it doesn’t need much improvement, just some fresh herbs added to the butter.

Mashed Potatoes with Corn

A dish that unites two Fourth of July traditional foods – potatoes and corn, complemented with carrots and onions. Tip: to save time when chopping carrots, shred them on the large holes of the grater.

Paprika Corn Casserole

Sweet, corn in a buttery sauce, well-seasoned and complemented with veggies & bacon – a perfect holiday side dish. To make it spicier add dried jalapeños place some crushed tortilla chips on top.

Cajun Corn

This creamed corn is truly satisfying and can be served even as a main dish. Tip: if you have some leftover Cajun spice after you make this recipe, store it in an airtight container. You can use it later for various meat and vegetable dishes.

Dips

fourth of july dips

The great eating experience on Independence Day wouldn’t be the same if there weren’t several dips on the buffet table.

Warm Spinach Dip

Fresh spinach, pimiento peppers, and herbs compose a colorful and flavorful dip with great taste and even better nutritive properties! Frozen spinach also works well, but make sure to sauté and drain it before adding to the other ingredients. As far as herbs are concerned, dried ones have a much more concentrated flavor, so when using fresh herbs, don’t forget to increase the amount.

Festive Cheese Dip

This multifunctional dip can be used for dipping, topping, or spreading on top of bread slices and works especially well paired with fresh cucumbers or pickles. This brings us to the next subject of interest.

Pickles

fourth of july pickles

Pickles ate more eaten on Independence Day than any other period of the year. They are consumed either right out of the jar or placed inside burgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches.

Crisp Zucchini Pickles

If you want to have some great homemade pickles ready for Fourth of July, this recipe is perfect for you. To sterilize canning jars, put a clean kitchen towel in a large pot, then place the jars on it and fill the pot with water. Bring the water to a boil and boil for about two minutes. Place the lids and rings and boil for another minute. Remove the jars using tongs, drain, and fill.

If there is one word that lies at the core of all Fourth of July traditional foods, it would be ‘simplicity’. Being a nation of immigrants, thriftiness was in the roots of early celebrations. But people coming from different countries also contributed to different kinds of foods, which ultimately transformed our Independence Day picnics from pig roasts to a more diverse, rich selection.

We’re done with the main dishes and sides, but try not to overeat. Leave some room for dessert…

Celebrate the Sweet Land of Liberty with These Amazing Patriotic Desserts

Let the food be the decoration on your festive buffet table by choosing from a palette of patriotic desserts in red, blue, and white color scheme!

Blue is the most difficult hue from this trio since nature doesn’t offer many options. If we set artificial ingredients like gelatins and food colorings aside, we’re left with delish natural options like blueberries and grape juice.

Red is presented in more varieties:

Vegetables: beets, pimiento peppers, paprika, red cabbage, tomatoes, red radishes;

Fruits: cherries, strawberries, cranberries, watermelon slices…

White is found in white grapes and radishes, but also in all dairy products like cheese, yogurt, milk, sour cream, whipped cream…

However, these are just the basics. Many of these ingredients can be incorporated in delectable desserts that appeal both eye and palate.

Flag Cake

fourth of july flag cake

According to the legend, Betsy Ross is the name of the woman who sewed the first American flag in 1776. She is also credited for convincing George Washington to change the shape of the stars from six-pointed to five-pointed.

The national flag was adopted on June 14, 1777 by the Continental Congress with the purpose to promote national pride and unity. “Resolved: that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation”.

This flag cake will certainly show your patriotic spirit! Top it with luscious fresh fruit and fluffy whipped cream, and make it a centerpiece of your July 4th picnic table!

Sweet Strawberry Shortcakes

Statistics say that strawberry shortcake is the no.1 dessert served on the Fourth! This cool and refreshing delight is served in almost every household on this day. We offer a cuter alternative in the form of smaller, lighter-than-air cakes. They are filled with fresh strawberries and sweetened whipped cream. You can also add blueberries (or raspberries) to the red strawberries to capture the symbolic red, blue, and white trio. If you want even more color, add mint leaves as well.

Creamy Sponge Cake

This tasty, good-looking cake is perfect for special occasions, but when you are not celebrating Independence Day, bear in mind that it goes well with a wide variety of toppings (as long as they’re fruits 😊).

Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream

Let’s not forget ice cream first, because you can expect hot weather in July and second, because kids will be ecstatic when you serve it. You can go with the tri-color scheme and make strawberry-vanilla combo topped with blueberries or make our recipe suggestion.

A few tips if you’re using an ice cream freezer: Turn it on before packing the ice and salt around the canister. Use seven parts of ice to one part of salt. Dribble some hot water over the ice and salt if they clump together.

Drinks

fourth of july drinks

Barbecues, burgers, and hot dogs simply cry for beer. No wonder 23 million cases of beer are sold every 4th July (that’s more than 5% of the national yearly beer consumption!)

But in order to endure the hot weather easier and help your stomach win the battle with all the food eaten on the Fourth, besides beer, you’ll need a few more refreshments. Cold water and lemonade? Sure, but we have more interesting suggestions.

Strawberry Lemonade

There’s nothing cooler and more refreshing than a lemonade. We offer a recipe with a twist; trust us, you’ll never reach for powdered lemonade after you have a sip of this natural beauty made up of fresh strawberries and lemons!

Margarita-Style Coolers

The beauty of this cocktail is that it is a mock one. This means that it doesn’t contain any alcohol, only strawberries and lime. However, if you want an adult-friendly version, add a cup of white tequila instead of water (and make sure the kids don’t go near it 😊).

Fourth of July Decoration Ideas

fourth of july decorations

Now that we have compiled the menu for America’s birthday, it’s time to dedicate some space to the décor (For what’s a birthday without decorations?) Here are a few interesting ideas:

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  • Costumes and outfits: Dress up like Betsy Rose, Uncle Sam, Abe Lincoln, Paul Revere, Lady Liberty… Or, if you think you’ll be too hot wearing a costume, invest in patriotic accessory kits consisting of sunglasses, hats, necklaces, bracelets, headbands, shirts…
  • Party supplies to consider: invitations, tablecloths and runners, plates, napkins, cups, bottles, straws, coolers, serving utensils, trays, and galvanized buckets, all printed to look like the American flag.
  • Baking supplies: baking cups, cake pans, cookie molds, cupcake stands, icing and sprinkles, American flag toothpicks.
  • Candies: lollipops, candy sticks, jelly beans, and more, arranged in patriotic favor boxes and bags and decorated with stickers & ribbons to create the sweetest 4th of July candy buffet.
  • And of course, lots of flowers, balloons, and confetti in red, blue and white

Don’t forget the flags! Happy Fourth of July!

13 Patriotic Foods to Celebrate Veterans Day 2017

13 Patriotic Foods to Celebrate Veterans Day 2017

When we started compiling the recipes in honor of Veterans Day, we were guided by one simple question: “What would a soldier stationed somewhere far away want the most?” There was a fiery discussion among the members of our editorial team, but all ideas had something in common – comfort food! Add ‘homemade’ to the picture and you’re all set to show your love and support for all the brave military members who fought for our freedom.

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Veterans Day is an official public holiday in the States, observed annually on November 11 since the 1950s. It is meant to honor the people who served in the Armed Forces, i.e. military veterans. And since many workers and students have Veterans Day off, it is a perfect opportunity to gather and make the veteran(s) in your life happy to be home.

You can cook a delicious meal at any point of the day – breakfast, lunch, or dinner (don’t forget the dessert!).

Veterans Day Breakfast Recipes

Buttermilk Pancakes with Blueberry Compote

veterans day

What better way to warm up a veteran’s heart (and fill their belly) than by serving breakfast in bed? These fluffy buttermilk pancakes topped with a sweet blueberry compote will fill the house with an incredible smell and make everyone ask for more.

Topping them with a fruit-based sauce is a great change from maple syrup routine. Blueberries will not only add a tangy note, but they will also contribute that beautiful deep color. Not to mention how healthy they are!

Breakfast Pizza with Kale, Pesto, and Sun-dried Tomatoes

veterans day

Credit:lynnecurry.com

If you have a veteran who is not a big fan of sweet things, this is the recipe that will save the morning! Composed of a bunch of good-for-you-ingredients on top of a perfect dough that is crispy on the outside & soft on the inside, this cheesy perfection is the best way to show how much you care!

Veterans Day Lunch Recipes

Savory Chicken Pot Pie

veterans day

A creamy blend of chicken and vegetables covered with a delicious, flaky pastry crust—a dinner table delight! For a boost of flavor, mix 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley into the chicken mixture in Step 2.

Chicken Paninis

veterans day

A brick wrapped in foil is the secret to deliciously sealing the flavors of chicken, tomatoes, pesto and melted cheese into tasty grilled bread. Sun-dried tomatoes can be purchased in packets (often pre-chopped in diced, julienned or chunk form) or in jars of olive oil. The oil-packed tomatoes are best for sandwiches.

Healthier Macaroni and Cheese

veterans day

Mac & cheese is definitely one of the most beloved comfort foods. This take on the popular dish takes a healthier turn with the use of Greek yogurt. This ingredient also makes the this mac & cheese super-creamy. In addition, it is done in less than 15 minutes, allowing you to relax and enjoy Veterans Day!

Veterans Day Snacks

Chicken Quesadillas

veterans day

These tasty appetizers are loaded with a spicy chicken filling and baked so they are light and crispy. A quick and easy way to cut your quesadillas is to use a pizza cutter. A pizza cutter, with its rotating wheel, slices through easily, without dragging any of the filling out. It’s also great for cutting pastry dough, homemade pasta and, of course, pizza! Note: For more heat, use canned chopped jalapeños

Veterans Day Dinner Recipes

Sesame Ginger Steaks

veterans day

This sirloin is made even better with a delicious blend of soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger root, and sesame oil poured over the top. Keep the steaks warm while you make the sauce: Put them on a baking sheet, cover them with foil and place in the oven at 200°F.

Cheddar-Filled Burgers

veterans day

The bacon, cheese and barbecue sauce are on the inside this time, for an incredibly juicy and tasty burger! These burgers can be prepared on the stove top with a griddle pan too, or outside on the grill.

Grilled Steak Fajitas

veterans day

Fresh vegetables and sirloin steak are marinated in a fiery sauce, then grilled to perfection and folded into soft flour tortillas. To heat the tortillas on the grill, wrap 4 tortillas in foil, making 2 foil packets. Place on the grill and heat, turning once, for 2–3 minutes.

Homemade Chicken Pizza

veterans day

Who doesn’t like pizza? For a chewier crust, Grandma sometimes layered the ingredients on the unbaked pizza dough. She baked it until the edges of the crust were brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. The crust stayed moist under the toppings.

Veterans Day Desserts

Our favorite part of any holiday or celebration is dessert. Not only because we love sweets but also because desserts leave most space to show our creativity. You can pull off amazing decorations in red, white, and blue by utilizing natural ingredients like strawberries and blueberries; or you can turn to food coloring and sprinkles. Whatever you choose, rest assured that these Veterans Day sweet treats will look amazing!

Classic American Buttercream

veterans day

Credit:oliviasrecipes.com

Speaking of decoration, here is a recipe for a topping that you can use on almost any dessert you make. The classic American buttercream is creamy, fluffy, and and sweet. Furthermore, it is one of the easiest buttercream varieties out there. We love it because there is no cooking required and because of its beautiful light color. Due to the high butter content, this cream is quite firm, which means you can complement it with almost anything without worrying that it will fall apart.

Great American Cheesecake

veterans day

Credit:caloriecontrolcouncil.com

The zwieback called for in this recipe can be replaced with graham crackers or digestive biscuits. You can also use gingersnaps and chocolate wafers for the crust.

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Flag Cake

veterans day

Credit:vvsupremo.com

We just can’t imagine holidays like Fourth of July, Memorial Day, or Veterans Day without Flag Cake! There is no other food that shows your patriotic spirit better than a lavish cake topped with luscious fresh fruit and fluffy whipped cream!

Happy Veterans Day!

Celebrate All the Hard Work You Do with These Cookout Labor Day Recipes

Celebrate All the Hard Work You Do with These Cookout Labor Day Recipes

“It’s only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.” – Theodore Roosevelt

This year, we have decided to put all our painful efforts into compiling a list of the best recipes to help you celebrate Labor Day. We also stand firm in our resolution to invest our grim energy and resolute courage in cooking all these delicious foods. We’re absolutely sure it will make things better for all our hard-working friends and family 🙂

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The History of Labor Day

Labor Day in the US is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. This year we’ll be celebrating on Monday 4 with a cookout in the backyard. So, make sure you have a good story to tell your kids and make this gathering as educational as it is delicious

Labor Day in was first celebrated in Toronto, Canada in 1872 but quickly made its way to the States. In the late 19th century, with the growth of the trade union and labor movements, workers proposed to set a day to celebrate work. September was first proposed as an option in the 1880s.

The first Labor Day parade was held in New York City in 1882 when 10.000 workers marched from City Hall to 42nd Street and met with their families in Wendel’s Elm Park for a picnic and concert (This parade still takes place every year, moving throughout the 20 blocks north of the 1882 labor march). Oregon was the first state to make it an official public holiday in 1887. Seven years later, thirty states were celebrating it and Labor Day became an official federal holiday.

The celebration of Labor Day was much more than just parades and fun. It resulted after a long-time fight for workers’ rights and dignity. During the 19th century, Americans worked seven days a week for 12 hours. Five-year-old kids worked in factories and mines! Conditions were unbearable and wages were ridiculously low. With the passing of the Adamson Act on September 3, 1916, an eight-hour work day was finally established.

labor day

Credit:http://dailyjournalonline.com/

The holiday honors the 155 million men and women in the USA workforce who continue to contribute to the prosperity and well-being of our country.

Canada’s also celebrates this holiday on the first Monday of September, as do over eighty countries worldwide, only some of them have chosen to do so on May 1.

Labor Day also marks the end of the summer and the returning to school. This means that warm days are soon to be over and lots of school projects are coming our way. All the more reason to make this Labor Day memorable!

The expression “No white after Labor Day” is also connected to the ending of summer. It comes from when the upper class would return from their summer holidays and pack their light summer clothes preparing to go back to work/school.

So, kids will mourn the beginning of the school year, while moms look forward to a quieter house. Where does it leave dads? Well, the football season starts on (or around) Labor Day, so there’s something for everyone!

labor day

Celebrating Labor Day

Parades were the earliest form of celebrating this holiday. They were supposed to exhibit the strength of workers and labor organizations. They were followed by a festival and later, speeches by prominent people were introduced.

In modern day America, people celebrate this day a bit differently. Eating, drinking, and leisure are the favorite ways to spend Labor Day.

Most Americans choose barbecuing as their favorite way to spend Labor Day. The second most favored activity is watching a movie at home or at the theater, followed by outdoor activities, going to a party, shopping, or just having some quiet time.

Both men and women choose beer as the best pair for barbecued meat. But what kind of meat do they mostly put on the grill? Burgers hit the top spot, closely followed by hot dogs. In fact, Labor Day marks the end of the hot dog season which starts on Memorial day, signalling the beginning of summer as well.

Beef remains the most favorite type of meet on this day. Statistics say that people consume the largest amounts of beef on Memorial Day, whereas Labor Day and Fourth of July come second on the list. Barbecued chicken has been on the rise these last few years, together with steak and ribs.

And finally, which part of the States likes barbecuing on Labor Day the most? Believe it or not, it’s the East!

labor day

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Throw Your Own Labor Day Party

Skip the regular Labor Day local parade and throw your own in the backyard! The food will be the real star of the show, but why not go an extra mile and offer an all-inclusive party experience? Here are some simple ideas that will make your party super-fun.

Pick a theme

Pick a theme for your party and send out simple invitations (print them from the Internet). The theme could be “our private Labor Day parade” where guests get to be creative and dress up in colorful costumes. After a few beers, everyone will feel brave enough to walk to the park all dressed up!

If you are more into simple things, throw an “all-white party”. This way, everyone will get to wear their light summer clothes one last time before packing them up.

Décor

If you decide to go with the “all-white” theme, let white be the color of your décor, flowers, and cake frostings! So stylish!

Alternatively, you can go full patriotic and decorate the backyard in red, white, and blue. Finding suitable decorations is very easy. All you need to do is go to the mall and choose from the wide range of star-spangled items: bowls, cups, picnic spreads, table cloths, napkin rings, flags…

For a minimalist but effective decoration, let your centerpiece take the main stage. Cover the table with a blue tablecloth. Fill a metal planter with ice and place glass bottles filled with cranberry juice inside. Finish off with fresh white flowers tucked between the bottles.

Labor Day Recipes

When compiling your Labor day menu, bear in mind that the weather will be hot. Also, remember that you should also allow yourself to enjoy so, choose quick and easy recipes. Better yet, pick foods that can be done the night before. And, by all means, leave the barbecue to your significant half!

labor day

Appetizers and Snacks

California Appetizer Pizzas

The beauty of this recipe is that it is so quick and simple to make. It is based on store-bought pizza dough and it will take no more than 20 minutes. Plus, if you don’t have the topping ingredients listed in the original recipe, you can easily use whatever you have in the fridge, such as olives or mushrooms.

Wait, there’s more. You can substitute the pizza dough with one package refrigerated crescent roll dough. Unroll, press edges together, then prepare as directed!

Sweet & Salty Snack Mix

Here is something the little ones will adore! This stellar blend of tastes and textures works for backyard parties, picnics, beach parties, or camping trips. Even the grown-ups will enjoy it with beer or cocktails.

Add sweetness and festive color to this party mix by incorporating candy-coated chocolate pieces, chocolate-covered raisins, or flavored baking chips (chocolate or butterscotch). Want some more? Try also gummy candies, yogurt-covered nuts, and marshmallows!

labor day

Mains

Citrus Grilled Chicken

The inclusion of oranges sauce and pink onions adds fantastic colors to this delicious dish. The recipe originates in Baja, California, where oregano and cinnamon are usually added. Try it yourself, by adding 1/2 teaspoon oregano or 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon to the marinade for a Mexican twist. Leave the meat to soak in the marinade overnight and throw on the barbecue when ready to eat.

Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus Beef

If you’re in the mood for something a bit fancier, try this Italian classic with a twist—tender sirloin steak wrapped around snappy asparagus, with savory bacon encircling them both.

Beef Vegetable Burgers

Or, if you prefer to stay on the simple side, go for burgers. But not just any burgers. These are comprised of ground beef patties, bacon, and veggies (carrots, onion, bell pepper) and complemented with Cheddar cheese, among other things.

Save this tip for colder days: these burgers can be cooked under a broiler. For a charcoal-grilled taste, use smoked mozzarella or other smoked cheese in place of the Cheddar, or add a drop or two of liquid smoke to the ground beef mixture.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

A festive lunch ready in 20 minutes! Add crushed garlic cloves and cover with soy sauce for extra flavor! Tip: Reserve the marinade in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Serve with the grilled pork.

labor day

Sides & Salads

Roasted Red Potatoes

Red potatoes taste terrific when roasted in olive oil and tossed in a dressing composed of bacon, green onions, and parsley. For a quicker clean-up, use precooked bacon or bacon bits instead of frying bacon in a skillet.

Roasted Vegetable Medley

Hearty roasted vegetables flavored with thyme, honey, andbalsamic vinaigrette. Vary the flavor with sesame ginger, rosemary, white-wine vinaigrette.

Twenty-Four Hour Salad

It is a fact that the ultimate make-ahead salad actually tastes better after you leave it be overnight. The flavors in this bountiful bowl play off each other deliciously. To save a little prep time, buy hard-cooked eggs at the deli counter when you’re buying the turkey and blue cheese. Pick up some pre-cooked bacon, too!

German Potato Salad

What better pair for your grilled meat than a potato salad? This warm variety is especially good at the end of barbecue season when autumn is in the air! Customize your potato salad with two tablespoons snipped chives, one tablespoon mustard or two tablespoons chopped red bell pepper.

labor day

Desserts

S’mores Cookies

The great thing about this recipe is that it makes a big batch, which is perfect for a family and friends gathering. Not to mention they’re done in only 7 minutes!

If there are any S’more cookies left after the party, the best way to store them is placed in a single layer in a wide, shallow plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. If you must stack the cookies in two or more layers, place a sheet of waxed paper between the layers to prevent the marshmallows from sticking the cookies together.

Banana Split Crepes

These fruit-filled crepes with hot fudge topping are a wonderful take on everyone’s favorite ice-cream sundae. Prepare the batch of crepes the day before and store in the fridge. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds before serving and garnish with the topping given in the recipe or with your personal favorite. Complete with a cherry on top!

Strawberry Cream Freeze

This heavenly combination of sweet strawberries and rich cream is the best dessert to beat the summer heat! Choose ripe strawberries for the best flavor and color. As an alternative, try adding fresh blackberries and raspberries.

labor day

Drinks

Beer might be the most beloved Labor Day drink, but there must be something for the little ones. What about refined ladies? We’ve got them covered too!

Strawberry Lemonade

Fresh strawberries and lemons combine for a fantastic fruit drink. You’ll never reach for store-bought powdered lemonades again. Healthy and delicious!

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Sparkling Party Punch

Hello, ladies! Orange juice, lemon-lime soda, and champagne create a colorful, light, and festive punch. A decorative ice ring adds the perfect finishing touch. To ensure a crystal-clear ice ring, use distilled water. Boil the distilled water and let it cool before filling the mold.

Happy Labor Day everyone!

The Best Recipes for a Low Carb Diet (Nutritional Info Included)

The Best Recipes for a Low Carb Diet (Nutritional Info Included)

If you have a soft spot for food, but still want to eat healthily then maybe you should consider implementing a low carb diet. The simplest way to explain what a low carb diet is all about is to actually understand the word itself – “carb” is the abbreviation for “carbohydrates” and “low” means well, “low” – your diet should include foods that are low in carbohydrates.

 

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In layman’s words, you will have to say bye-bye to bread, pasta and sugary foods. But don’t get your tissues out just yet, there is a wide variety of foods you can enjoy and low carb recipes you can prepare that are equally as delicious as these high carb ones.

Low Carb Diet Dos and Don’ts

Although there are many variables (How much weight do you want to lose? Do you exercise? Do you have any health issues?) to consider when it comes to what foods you should eat, here’s а general list of dos and don’ts.

Dos

Eat These Foods

First off, let us take a look at the food you are to eat, because it is the most important part of the whole story. You should be on the look for foods that are high in protein and natural fat. Such foods include fish, meat, veggies growing above ground, eggs, fruit, seeds, nuts, high-fat dairy, natural fats, and healthy oils.

Stay Committed

Do know that entertaining the idea of implementing a certain diet is not the same as actually doing it. So, yes, you will crave cake, and yes, you will be tempted to give up and devour a whole pack of candies, but once you start with this diet, you will have to stay committed.

Exercise

Don’t expect to lose weight by couch potatoing. Exercising is critical for your physical and mental health. Regular exercise will result in an increase of your muscle mass and an improvement of your hormonal environment. As for your mental health, if you have ever gone to the gym, then you know the rewarding feeling after an intensive workout, and if not, then trust me when I say: your overall mood will be improved!

Don’ts

Don’t Eat These Foods

Now, on to the foods you should avoid: sugar, seed oils, trans fats, wheat, and all those “diet” products. As we have already mentioned, the low carb diet means you should implement more fat, so low-fat products are a no.

Don’t overeat

Yes, the food you are going to eat when you are on a low carb diet is much healthier, but this doesn’t mean you should eat all day long. So eating only when you are hungry and just until you are satiated is crucial.

Don’t Back Down

This is along the same lines as the staying committed part. Persistence and self-affirmation are vital! Don’t say you can’t do it. Don’t say it’s too difficult. Just, don’t give up. 🙂

The Easiest Low Carb Diet Recipes

Low Carb Not No Carb Diet

Before revealing to you these delicious and easy to prepare recipes, it is of vital importance to remember this: if you are looking for a way to lose weight but still eat healthily, every meal you consume has to be balanced. This means that a meal is nutritious only if it contains protein, fat, and CARBS. Remember: it is a Low Carb Diet NOT No Carb Diet. And now you are probably wondering what is considered a “moderate” carbohydrate intake. Well, 100-150 grams per day is ok. As for the best sources to get your carbs from, feel free to eat vegetables, several pieces of fruit per day and a moderate amount of healthy starches (potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, and oats).

# Appetizers, Starters, and Sides

  • Garlic Mushrooms

Cook time: 12 minutes

Can you think of a tastier starter or side dish than mushrooms tossed with garlic and sautéed in lemon juice? Finish everything off with a balsamic dressing made of olive oil, parsley, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Nutritional information Per serving:

calories 155,

fat 13.7g (sat fat 1.8g),

carbs 7.7g

Serving ideas: if you are not a big parsley fan, then go ahead and replace it with chopped fresh sage. These mushrooms will be a great companion to a marinated chicken or steak, or if you want to serve them as appetizers, go ahead and serve them along with soft breadsticks to soak up the delicious juices.

see full instructions for this low carb recipe here

  • Stuffed Mushrooms

Cook time: 35 minutes

mushrooms

In case you haven’t noticed, we LOVE mushrooms. This time, they are stuffed with savory goodness: seasoned bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and fresh parsley all make their way into this incredibly easy to prepare recipe. An appetizer everyone will go crazy about!

Nutritional information Per mushroom:

calories 89,

fat 8.3g (sat fat 5.1g),

carbs 1.7g

Serving ideas: these will be great with cheese, and crackers, bruschetta and colorful fresh veggies. If you are to host a crowd, you can easily triple the recipe to make plenty of these stuffed beauties.

see full instructions for this low carb recipe here

  • Italian Summer Squash

Cook time: 34 minutes

This summer squash will become your go-to side dish this summer, and it can even become a vegetarian main dish. A vegetable medley that has summer written all over: yellow squash, tomatoes, and zucchini combined with garlic and onions, and a true Mediterranean touch of olive oil and basil- Perfect!

Serving ideas: substitute the re-roasted diced tomatoes with green pepper, or plain diced tomatoes. As for the main dishes, these can go with, fish and chicken are your best bet.

Nutritional information Per serving:

calories 64,

fat 1.9g (sat fat 0.3g),

carbs 11g

see full instructions for this low carb recipe here

# Main Dishes

To have a nice and balanced meal, combine one of the side dishes above with one of these incredibly delicious main meals. Regardless of whether you are camp beef or camp chicken, you will adore these recipes.

  • Garlic Clove Beef

Cook time: 25 minutes

Are you ready for an all garlic main dish? A beef steak cooked in garlic oil, topped with sautéed garlic and served with garlic butter! It is one of those main dishes that go well with everything, but we’d recommend mashed red-skinned potatoes with sour cream or steamed green beans.

Nutritional information Per serving:

calories 809,

fat 64.1g (sat fat 34.2g),

carbs 3.3g

see full instructions for this low carb recipe here

  • Zesty Drumsticks

Cook time 1 hour 30 minutes

Perfect for a summer picnic, these tangy drumsticks grilled to perfection are all you ever wanted. Orange rind and orange marmalade come together to make these the freshest, most unique chicken drumsticks ever!

Serve these with a potato salad made with cooked baby new potatoes, cooked peas and chopped green onions with just a bit of mayonnaise. Yum!

Nutritional information Per serving:

calories 269,

fat 12.9g (sat fat 3.5g),

carbs 4.8g

see full instructions for this low carb recipe here

  • Southwest Calico Chicken

Cook time 36 minutes

chicken

Bring chicken drumsticks and tights to a whole new level of awesome with this taco-seasoned chicken recipe.  Serve your chicken on a bed of corn, black beans, pinto beans and green chilies.

Nutritional information Per serving:

calories 774,

fat 39.1g (sat fat 10.2g),

carbs 40.5g

see full instructions for this low carb recipe here

# Dessert

  • Avocado, Pear and Grape Salad

Cook time 15 minutes

tasty salad

 

A fruit salad is the best way to satiate your sweet tooth without fearing you’ll get too many carbs. And this colorful salad is not only delicious but it looks so inviting it might even steal the show! Mind you, the recipe below is actually a savory salad, but to make it dessert worthy, swap the crushed red pepper flakes with cinnamon and the white vinegar with maple syrup. As for the onion and the minced pepper, skip them altogether.

Nutritional information Per serving:

calories 134,

fat 9.6g (sat fat 1g),

carbs 13.1g

Serving ideas: for an even more stunning presentation, serve the salad in scooped-out cantaloupe halves. Leave about 1 /2-inch of the melon flesh intact. (Dice the scooped-out melon flesh, and serve over vanilla ice cream drizzled with honey for dessert.)

see full instructions for this low carb recipe here

  • Low Carb Patriotic Dessert Pizza (Grain Free)

Cook time 27 minutes

Surprise your friends and family with this incredibly scrumptious cake and make the 4th of July even more memorable.

Serving ideas: you can easily substitute the blueberries with blackberries. You can even cut this giant cookie into small rectangles and prepare a dozen patriotic cakes.

Nutritional information Per serving:

calories 95,

fat 8.3g (sat fat 5.2g),

carbs 6g

see full instructions for this low carb recipe here

There you go guys, easy and delicious low carb recipes that will help you venture into the healthy-eating world more easily than ever!

 

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7 Famous American Recipes and How They Came to Be

7 Famous American Recipes and How They Came to Be

America is defined by versatility. Be it its nature that goes from ragged to lush, its people that come from all around the world, or the many cuisines that were brought by them, diversity is what makes America great! This is why we are revealing the tales of how some of America’s most famous foods came to be.

Eggs Benedict

This traditional American breakfast dish, consisting of two halves of an English muffin, each one topped with poached eggs and (Canadian) bacon, and covered with hollandaise sauce is still a staple in American households as well as luxurious restaurants.

When it comes to the origins of this dish, there have been many variations of the story, but here we offer you the most interesting one.

In 1984, the Waldorf Hotel at Fifth Avenue and 33rd Street was visited by a flamboyant, and slightly hangover stockbroker named Lemuel Benedict. Although we don’t specifically know whether he frequented the restaurant, one thing that is certain is, on this historic date he placed his breakfast order and it was as follows: two poached eggs, buttered toast, bacon, and a pitcher of hollandaise sauce.

As luck would have it, this momentous order was witnessed by Oscar Tschirky, more famous as Oscar of the Waldorf, the then maître d’hôtel, who decided that this dish was worthy of being put on the hotel’s menu. As we know from what we today call Eggs Benedict, he substituted the toast with an English muffin and secured Eggs Benedict a place in history.

Caesar Salad

If you thought that the dice-resembling pieces of sautéed or re-baked bread, also known as croutons, had anything to do with Julius Caesar’s “Alea iachta est” (The die is cast) and it is how this salad got its name then you are very wrong!

Although it was invented by an Italian man called Caesar Cardini, the salad was actually invented in Mexico. Who would have thought, right? The story traces back to a Fourth of July weekend in 1924, when in lack of supplies, the resourceful restaurateur threw together whole lettuce leaves, coddled eggs, Italian olive oil, topped everything with parmesan cheese and dressed with Worchester sauce. This concoction soon became one of the most sought for salads that made its way to America.

Boston Cream Pie

Boston cream pie

Regardless of whether you are a New Englander, live in Massachusetts (where the Boston Cream Pie was proclaimed the official State Dessert in 1996), or come from the Pacific Northwest, you are bound to love this “hybrid dessert”.

Actually, it is the name of this dessert that people cannot wrap their heads around, because clearly, this pie is in fact, a cake! The reason behind this is simple: the two-layer yellow cake, filled with cream or custard, and topped with chocolate glaze, was first prepared in pie tins, which were much more popular than cake tins in that period, hence the name.

As to its origin, the very first appearance of the Boston Cream Pie can be traced down to 1856, in The Parker House Hotel (now the Omni Parker House Hotel), where their French chef, Sanzian, hired for the opening of the hotel, prepared the very first Boston Cream Pie. (At the time known as Parker House Chocolate Cream Pie).

Reuben Sandwich

Reuben Sandwich

This American grilled sandwich consists of corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing, placed on rye bread. And while its deliciousness and popularity are certain, the story of how it came to be is not that straight forward.

There are many legends surrounding the creation of the Reuben Sandwich, but there are two that can be considered as the soundest ones. We will let you be the judge of which one is more likely to be true, but we are going to give them both the same attention.

According to the first story, told by Patricia B. Taylor, the daughter of the late Arnold Reuben, the founder of Reuben’s Restaurant and Delicatessen, it is her father that we should thank for the existence of this scrumptious sandwich. The scene is set in 1914, when an actress, Annette Seelos entered the restaurant and ordered a sandwich that will be enough to satiate her hunger. Reuben took a loaf of rye bread and stuffed it with sliced Virginia ham, roasted turkey, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese. The funny part is, we could have been ordering an “Annette Seelos Special”, instead of a Reuben Sandwich, if it came down to the actress’ wish.

The second story doesn’t include actresses, but is equally as interesting because it involves poker! A voracious poker player and wholesale grocer by the name of Reuben Kolakofsky loved fixing sandwiches for the poker group games that took place weekly sometime between 1920 and 1935 in the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha, Nebraska. One of the fellow players, Schimmel, the hotel’s owner paid homage to his friend by putting the Reuben Sandwich on the hotel menu.

Meatloaf

Meatloaf

This now American classic traces its root down to the fourth or fifth century AD. It was in a Roman cookbook that the recipe for patties made of chopped meat, bread, peanuts, and wine was first introduced. But, meatloaf, as we now know it, first came to be in America in the 1800s, when the invention of the meat grinder spurred manufacturers to be inventive in order to sell their product. And then, in the 1930s, the Depression set in, and meatloaf gained in popularity due to the fact that people were able to put as many add-ins as they could think of and reduce the amount of the expensive meat. This went so far as to inventing the now known “vegetarian meatloaf”, or the meat-free meatloaf in the 1940s when World War II was in its full swing. In the aftermath of the war, that is in the ’50s and ’60s many new takes on meatloaf came to be and its re-invention is still ongoing.

Banana Bread

While on the topic of dishes that were introduced or popularized during the Great Depression, this American staple cannot go unmentioned. This quintessential American dessert/breakfast came to be as a result of people’s resourcefulness and their unwillingness to throw food (in this case ripe bananas) away. Of course, the recipe has been upgraded ever since, resulting in varieties like the Triple Chocolate Banana Bread, or even Reese’s Banana Bread.

You can find amazing banana bread recipes in our collection!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

If the fact that “the average American will have eaten 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by the time they graduate high school” isn’t enough of a proof that this sandwich is a total hit among Americans, then nothing is!

The first mention of peanut butter paired with jelly in the United States was in 1901 in the Boston Cooking-School Magazine of Culinary Science and Domestic Economics.

But, although this is the first mention of them being paired, there were no advertisements or mentions of a sandwich before the 1940s. This, in turn, means that PB&J wasn’t popular by then. Many assign the increased popularity of PB&J to returning GIs, who depended on the peanut butter and jelly combination during WWII.  One thing is for certain, a postwar hit, or not, PB&J will be America’s favorite for centuries to come!

We hope that you found this to be an interesting read and that it made you more appreciative of the foods and dishes we tend to take for granted, and whose existence oftentimes is connected to the hardships our land had to go through to become what it is today.

 

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