Celebrating the Fourth: Festive (and Easy) Food and Drink

The Fourth of July is quite possibly my favorite Holiday. There’s nothing like a summer day spent celebrating our freedom as Americans with friends and family. I love getting everyone together for a festive meal and some celebratory cocktails before heading out to watch the fireworks

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Aside from the incredible guide to easy summer drinks, dips, and desserts put together by Real Simple‘s food team, here are the “go-tos” I’ll be turning out this year:

Watermelon and Feta Salad – my guests rave every time I serve this dish, and it couldn’t be easier to make. 

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It’s very refreshing – the perfect compliment to burgers and corn on the cob, which I’ll also be serving. 

Why not mix it up with one of these inventive burger variations?

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A Fourth of July meal wouldn’t be complete without corn on the cob. I like mine grilled with butter and salt. This recipe calls for parsley, which is a nice extra touch. 

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While I’m not interested in serving a spread of exclusively red, white, and blue food (which risks looking forced and over-done), I do like to keep these colors in mind when selecting dishes. Done in a subtle way, it can add that extra touch of festivity to your party. 

This incredible desert is the perfect example; a friend of mine made it for a dinner party last week, and it was an instant hit. It’s the best-looking – and most delicious – red, white and blue dessert I’ve found.

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On to the drinks…While the Boyfriend claims that every “true American” drinks Budweiser (not Bud Light) on America’s Birthday – preferably out of the “Redcoat Can” (sidenote: what is this?) – I like to offer my female guests a watermelon cocktail

I call them Pink Ladies, and while they don’t readily admit it, most men at the party end up trying one, loving it, and asking for more. I think it’s the sweet-tart combo of the watermelon and lemon that makes it so addictive. I add some lemonade mix (powdered) while blending to give it an extra kick. 

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And when it comes to dressing the table, I keep it simple this time of year. I’d rather be out enjoying some time on the water than fretting over an elaborately coordinated table setting. The colorful food and drink I’m serving takes care of making things look festive. I’ll grab some sparklers at the grocery store and anchor them in a sand-filled vase as a centerpeice (for easy post-dinner lighting), and probably set out a few mini-flags and Uncle Sam hats from the dollar store. 

How are you planning to spend the Fourth of July? Any favorite dishes or drinks? Share them here.