To celebrate Independence Day this year, our staff shared their favorite meals to enjoy with family and friends.
In our recent July issue, our staff shared some of their favorite Fourth of July family recipes and mealtime memories. Here, we break down the ingredients and directions for a few classic dishes to enjoy along with the fireworks.
Hot dogs with mustard, relish, and shredded cheeses. Bush’s Honey Baked Beans. Cold beer. And, if I'm lucky, a marathon of classic Western movies or TV shows on a cable or streaming channel.
—Joe Leydon, senior writer
My very best memories of food on the Fourth are of my mom’s German potato salad. Everyone else in my family especially loved her lemon meringue pie, and there was a lot of dessert anticipation at our backyard cookouts. But the main attraction for me as a kid was her potato salad. I rarely eat bacon anymore, but if I were to go on a bacon bender, it would be for this tangy-sweet warm dish of skin-on red potatoes, parsley, sugar, vinegar, garlic, a little Dijon mustard, and not just bacon but bacon grease! Best to digest while lighting sparklers and watching fireworks with the family.
—Dana Joseph, editorial director
My great-grandmother’s coleslaw! I didn’t realize how far this recipe went back until my sister included it in a family cookbook a few years ago, but it goes all the way back to Mary Laskowski, my dad’s paternal grandmother, born in 1896 in south Texas to first- and second-generation Polish immigrants. Pretty amazing!
—Emily C. Laskowski, managing editor
2 lbs. cabbage
½ onion, diced
½ green pepper, diced
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup vinegar
½ tsp. celery seed
Red pepper flake to taste
1. Placed cut-up cabbage in a large bowl.
2. Add onion, green pepper, and salt – stir around.
3. Pour sugar over cabbage, etc.
4. Cover and let sit for at least an hour.
5. Drain excess liquid from cabbage in colander. Sometimes I rinse with cold water to get as much sugar off as I can.
6. Rinse large bowl of remaining sugar and return cabbage mixture to large bowl.
7. Add dressing and mix together. Red pepper flakes are optional.
8. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
Corn Dogs and Rice Krispies
A tradition in my house is homemade corny dogs and for dessert rice crispy treats made into the American flag. They are so much fun to make with my kids. Placing the hot dogs, or for me chicken apple sausage dogs, on a stick and dipping in the corn meal batter to deep fry in the oil. For dessert, coloring the rice crispies and making layers of red and blue to design an American flag. These two recipes combined make the perfect summer and Fourth of July statement.
—Kera Gonzales, accounting assistant and business subscriptions
Red, White, & Blue Salad
Easy. Red, white, and blue salad: Watermelon, blueberries, goat cheese, and I use a Champagne vinaigrette. Yummy and beautiful!
—Brandy Minick, associate publisher
Frito Corn Salad
I love Frito corn salad. Although, I don’t think salad is a very accurate description. Nothing screams summer more than shucked corn, and of course nothing is more American than mixing something healthy with mayo and cheese. The fresh corn, mayo, shredded cheddar cheese, red onion, green bell pepper, and Frito mixture is something you can pair with the classics — hot dogs and hamburgers.
—Kaylee Brister, digital editor
I love a good summer salad with surprising ingredients. This one’s is a winner, especially if you have a cherry tomato plant that produces like crazy.
—Sharon Kilday, senior designer
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups cubed seeded watermelon
6 large basil leaves, thinly sliced
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients.
Heirloom Tomato Salad
My favorite food for 4th of July is usually some kind of grilled or smoked meat. That is pretty broad and not really a recipe though…so I’ll say heirloom tomato and burrata salad, which makes an excellent side dish with meat. I cut really good heirloom tomatoes (the more colors the better) into chunks, season them with a little salt and black pepper, throw on generous dollops of creamy burrata cheese…then finish with some ripped-up basil and a drizzle of good balsamic vinegar. If I have peaches on hand and a hot grill going, I’ll slice those, grill them for a few minutes and mix them in with the tomatoes, before topping with the burrata, basil, and balsamic.
—Matt Russell, regional sales manager
Good Old Strawberry Shortcake!
—Ann Kidd, chief financial officer
1 ½ lbs strawberries, stemmed and quartered
5 tbsp. sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
2 tbsp. sugar
¾ tsp. salt
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 ½ cups heavy cream, chilled
3 tbsp. sugar
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest (optional)
1. Mix strawberries with 3 tablespoons sugar and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
3. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and salt in medium bowl. Add heavy cream and mix until just combined. Place mixture in ungreased 8-inch square pan and bake until golden, about 18-20 minutes.
4. Remove shortcake from pan and place on rack to cool slightly. Cut into 6 pieces and split each piece in half horizontally.
5. Spoon some of the strawberries with their juice onto each shortcake bottom. Top with a generous dollop of whipped cream and the shortcake top. Spoon more strawberries over the top and serve.
For whipped cream, beat all ingredients until soft peaks form, about 1 ½-2 minutes.
Easy Strawberry Shortcake
One of the easiest ways to get mouths watering at your July Fourth gathering is to construct a strawberry shortcake before the very eyes of your guests. Cut an angel food cake in half horizontally, grab some whipped topping and a container of cut strawberries that have been marinating all day in simple syrup. Put all the good stuff between the cake layers and then pile it on top as well, with plenty of strawberries showing. See how long it takes them to start cutting.
—Hunter Hauk, editorial director
Homemade Ice Cream
Homemade ice cream was always my favorite food to have on the Fourth of July. My Mom would mix up the recipe and my Dad would hand crank the freezer. My sister and I would try our hand at turning the crank but the closer it got to freezing the harder it was to crank. It was certainly worth the time and effort because eating homemade ice cream is the perfect ending to a festive day.—Marcia Ordway, office manager
2 Junket™ Rennet Tablets
2 tablespoons cold water
1 can Carnation evaporated milk
2 cups sugar
2 quarts Whole milk
4 teaspoons vanilla
1 box Rock salt
1. Dissolve Junket® Rennet Tablets in cold water. Set aside.
2. Combine milk, eggs, and sugar in a double boiler. Cook on medium heat stirring constantly until mixture is thick. Remove from heat.
3. Add dissolved Junket tablets and vanilla. Stir until mixed and pour into 4-quart freezer canister. Let set at room temperature until cool.
4. When cooled, place container into the ice cream freezer and pack with alternating layers of ice and rock salt. Begin churning until it is frozen.