How to Craft the Perfect July 4th Cookout
July 4th is fast approaching so it's about time to dust off the grill and invite friends over to watch the fireworks! Whether you'll be sipping beers on the Point, enjoying the display on Navy Pier, or celebrating in another city entirely, keep reading for a roundup of recipes perfect for any July 4th cookout. And for even more foolproof recipes, check out our article from last summer.
Chips and Guac
It doesn't get much better than an appetizer as simple and refreshing as tortilla chips and a side of freshly-made guacamole. This recipe only takes 20 minutes of prep time and utilizes a handful of in-season ingredients. Let it sit for an hour before serving.
Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing
The avocado theme continues with this super simple and refreshing salad recipe. With only 15 minutes of prep time required, toss together this salad and dress with mustard, vinegar and honey to complement the onions, strawberries, avocados and baby spinach. Add toasted almonds for a little crunch.
Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Kabobs with Cayenne Tahini Sauce
Burgers and hotdogs are a summer cookout staple, but if you have some extra time and/or are feeling ambitious, these chicken kabobs utilize a handful of spices probably lying around in your pantry to create a more memorable meal. The cayenne tahini sauce gives the whole dish a nice and unexpected kick, and as an added bonus, it only takes 12 minutes to cook on the grill!
Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is always a welcome dish on any table, and if you have an hour or two to whip together this dish, you're sure to please a lot of people. This recipe utilizes sharp Cheddar cheese as the centerpiece, but feel free to mix and match a handful of your favorite cheeses for a greater variety of flavors. Don't forget to season with plenty of pepper!
Grilled Fish Tacos
Utilize that grill again for this fun recipe. This site recommends mahi-mahi or Pacific halibut, but use your favorite fish or whatever is fresh and in season for the most successful rendition of this recipe. Incorporate your favorite summer veggies to complement your protein of choice and drizzle with lime.
Misc. Grilled Vegetables
Toss together some hardy veggies like eggplant, bell peppers, corn, zucchini, squash, asparagus, cremini mushrooms and onion in olive oil, vinegar, pepper and salt for a quick and easy side dish. Choose from your favorite spices and herbs for additional seasoning and grill for around 25-30 minutes or until the veggies have grill marks on either side.
I always think of apple pie and a generous dollop of vanilla ice cream on the side as a classic summer dessert, but feel free to edit this recipe with fruits of your choosing (cherry, peaches, or blackberries work particularly well). Bake for 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and don't forget the ice cream!
Long Island Iced Tea
We've helpfully compiled a list of super simple summer cocktail recipes for you ahead of time, but if you're looking for something especially refreshing (and boozy), a homemade Long Island Ice Tea can be thrown together in under 10 minutes. This recipe utilizes a decent amount of vodka, rum, gin and tequila, so clear out that liquor cabinet and remember to hydrate in between drinks!
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