Top 10 delicious side dishes you need at your 4th of July celebration
There are certain things that every 4th of July table needs. Red, white and blue plates, napkins and cups with festive flags proudly displayed for all to see. And what better way for Americans to celebrate this special day than with some amazing, healthy foods! Check out Mary's top ten list of things you have just got to have at your celebration to compliment the main dishes!
1. Chocolate Coffee slushies. Looking for a tasty way to start the festivities? Offer your guest one of these chocolate coffee slushies!
Take fresh brewed coffee, ice cubes, chocolate syrup, and milk and blend in a blender until it reaches a slushy consistency. Top with a quick squirt of whipped cream and a few mini chocolate chips for a refreshing treat. And for the kiddos, just leave out the coffee, making them a frozen chocolate milk treat!
2. Lemonade iced tea. It's hot and the only thing better than running through a cold sprinkler or diving into an ice cold pool is a tall glass of iced tea! Try this super easy take on the traditional beverage at your celebration and have the family singing your praises!
Add half of a 12 oz container of frozen lemonade concentrate to 1 gallon freshly brewed tea. Sweeten and serve over ice. For a special touch, allow guests to add fresh sliced berries to their glass. Strawberries and peaches make an excellent addition to this beverage.
3. Blackberry cooler. In the south, the blackberry vines are heavy with fruit and ripe for the picking. Grab a few handfuls of the fresh berry for this fun summertime drink that's sure to please everyone.
Using a spoon, crush 3 blackberries in the bottom of a short glass. Fill the glass with sprite. Toss in a few whole blackberries for presentation and enjoy!
4. Fruit salad with a twist. Fruit is perfect at any meal, but around the 4th of July, all of the juicy melons are ready to pick and serve. Serve up this super simple fruit salad, with a twist, and leave your guests in awe!
Take a large watermelon and cut in half. Using a melon baller, scoop out the meat of the watermelon and place balls in a bowl. Using the same balling tool, scoop out a whole cantaloupe and add to the bowl. Slice a pineapple and add chunks to the bowl. Add red grapes to the mix. Sprinkle mixture with unsweetened coconut. Mix all together. Scoop the mixture into the hollowed out watermelon and put on your table to serve.
5. Pasta toss up. What's a 4th of July celebration without pasta salad? I've taken the traditional pasta salad and made it a little more waist friendly, allowing you a bigger serving of a summer classic.
Cook whole wheat spiral pasta according to package directions. Drain and pour into large bowl. Add 1/3 cup low fat mayo, 1/3 cup plain low fat yogurt, 1 1/2 TBSP EVOO, 1 clove minced garlic, grape tomatoes, and thinly sliced carrots, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and cover. Make it the day before, refrigerate and serve cold!
6. Red, White and Blue Sprite Cakes. Every 4th of July table needs a dessert. Here's a simple, healthy take on the traditional cupcake.
Use 1 box of your choice cake mix and mix with 1 egg and 10 oz sprite zero. Bake cupcakes according to the box. Once cupcakes have cooled completely, and you are ready to serve them, top with strawberries and blueberries for that traditional red, white and blue! And, if your cupcakes will be served in a cool spot, top them with a spoonful of fat free cool whip for that extra yummy factor!
7. Stuffed Jalapeños. While you've got the grill burning for those burgers and dogs, throw on some stuffed jalapeños for the guests that like things a little spicy!
Slice jalapeños in half lengthwise and discard seeds. Mix low fat cream cheese with a crumbled up hamburger patty. Fill the hollowed out jalapeños with the mixture and place on the grill for approximately 10 minutes. Serve warm.
8. Deviled Avocado Eggs. Deviled eggs are great at every barbecue and family get together. they are my absolute favorite indulgence! Try this recipe and your guest will be asking for your secret!
Boiled eggs. slice in half lengthwise and remove yolks, placing them in a bowl. Add 1/2 an avocado, 3 TBSP of chunky salsa, and 2 tbsp fresh lime juice. Mash mixture together and fill egg whites with mixture. Top with 1/4 tsp of salsa for presentation. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
9. Fruit kabobs. These are easy to make, healthy and great for portioning out just the right amount of fruit! Tread the kabobs ahead of time and display them on your festive table by putting the sticks in a clear glass jar. This makes them easy to see and quick to grab.
Cut watermelon into square chunks. Thread 1 chunk watermelon, 2 marshmallows and 2 blueberries(or blackberries) onto a kabob stick and repeat, leaving 2 inches empty. Stand kabobs up in a clear glass jar.
10. Healthier S'mores. As your family and friends are settling down and getting ready for the beautiful fireworks that will surely fill the sky, make up some of these yummy, but calorie friendly s'mores.
Take one low fat graham cracker sheet and break in half. Top one half with 4 slices of a banana and a sprinkle of mini dark chocolate chips. Top with second half of cracker. Wrap in foil and toss on the grill for a few minutes, or into the oven if you've already cooled the grill for the day. These taste great without the guilt!
These are my top ten must haves during our celebration, what are some of yours?