Culture

25 Best Menu Ideas for 4th of July That’ll Wow Any Party Guest

When it comes to throwing a fiesta for the Fourth of July, the first thing you’ll want to concern yourself with is the menu. You already know who’s coming, and you want to make sure that your loved ones have a good time. Well, the best way to ensure that is to make sure that there is PLENTY of good food — which is where this list comes in. From grilled avocados stuffed with a quinoa and black bean salad to classic Elotes to vegetarian-friendly empanadas that even meat-eaters will love, here are 25 menu items that are sure to WOW all of your July 4th party guests.

1. Grilled Avocado Halves with Cumin-Spiced Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

CREDIT: Photo: Food52

Grilling is a time-honored tradition for any summer holiday, and never is it quite as good or delicious as when you grill avocados. Yes, you heard that right! You can grill avocados, and then stuff them with pretty much anything for a truly delicious meal. Of course, I’d suggest you start with this quinoa and black bean salad… But, seriously, once you get the hang of it, anything goes!

2. Patriotic Fruit Salsa with Sweet Star Chips

CREDIT: Photo: B-Inspired Mama

Never heard of star chips? Well, they’re much easier to make than you might think! All you really need is a star-shaped cookie cutter and some whole wheat tortillas. That’s right, these sweet chips are made with tortillas and they are absolutely scrumptious. Make them with your favorite fruit salad, like the one suggested here, or the one we have coming up later in this story and YUM!

3. Sparkling Red, White & Blue Sangria

CREDIT: Photo: Gimme Some Oven

If you ask me, it’s not a holiday without some sangria. One of the best parts about this delectable drink is that it is highly customizable to the occasion. In this case, since it’s July 4th, you’ll want to include some red, white and blue into the mix. This drink, made with white wine, apples (white), blueberries (blue), and raspberries and strawberries (red) is easy AND delicious.

4. Patriotic Easy Layered Taco Dip

CREDIT: Photo: Tastes of Lizzy T

A layered taco dip is one of the easiest things you can make to bring to your next barbecue or summer fiesta. It’s no wonder: You just put things together and they taste AH-mazing. Well, for the occasion of July 4th, the best thing you can do to add a little oomph to your usual taco dip is to make this patriotic version that’s assembled, thanks to cheese and tomatoes, just like the American flag. Hey, why not?!

5. Red, White & Blue Watermelon Salad

CREDIT: Photo: Will Cook For Friends

Watermelon salad is an always-refreshing choice for summer, but it’s even better when you pair watermelon with blueberries, fresh basil and… Jicama! That’s right, those little “white” chunks of fruit are actually jicama. This fruit salad is truly a treat that you’ll enjoy over and over again.

6. Red, White & Blue Jello Candied Popcorn

CREDIT: Photo: Tips from a Typical Mom

As we recently learned, popcorn is actually from Latin America. That’s why this red, white, and blue combo is absolutely perfect as a little snack for your Fourth of July party. Whether you’re hosting one yourself or simply going to someone else’s house, this is THE dish to bring or serve. It’s sweet, so it can even double as a healthy-ish dessert for those sweet tooths you know and love.

7. Watermelon, Blueberry & Coconut Daiquiri

CREDIT: Photo: Fresh Fit N Healthy

This daiquiri, which is served up in a margarita class, might just be TOO perfect. It’s oh-so-pretty and absolutely delicious for anyone who loves a sweeter cocktail. It does require you to be able to manage making two layers, though, so be careful here. It’s easier than it seems, but it’s not as easy as just pressing “start” on a blender. But, hey, the coconut rum in here will be well worth it. 

8. Red, White & Blue Fruit Skewers

CREDIT: Photo: Eat Yourself Skinny

Fruit skewers are easy to make and especially lovely because the kiddies at your party might seriously appreciate them. They’re pretty and fun, and these Fourth of July-inspired skewers are particularly delicious. And did I mention they’re pretty? The use of pineapple gives these a little tropical twist, but another way to spice these up is to serve them with a chocolate dip.

9. Spicy Black Bean Burger

CREDIT: Photo: Spoon Fork Bacon

This one’s for all of the burger lovers, vegetarians, and black bean fans out there. Isn’t everyone? You’ll want to make the patties a day or two before, but you might want to make extras because there is no WAY that these won’t be in high demand. Definitely make sure that you create a good continents bar, too, and I always try to include jalapeños, avocado, tomatoes, cheese, and anything else you’d like. 

10. Grilled Salmon Taco Salad

CREDIT: Photo: The Year In Food

Grilled salmon is a great dish for anyone who loves dish or is trying to watch their diet a little bit. But it’s also just a tasty something you can make that’s more than just your typical hot dogs and steak. Combining your salmon with a taco salad is basically the best of both worlds, too, so don’t be afraid to dress this up. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if you make this throughout the summer. 

11. Mexican Corn on the Cob

CREDIT: Photo: Damn Delicious

Mexican corn on the cob, a.k.a. Elotes, is pretty much everyone’s favorite. Corn is in season all summer long, which is why it is a standard at everyone’s July 4th menu. But you can take the corn to another level when you make it with this recipe, which includes everything we love: butter, chili powder, and Cotija cheese. Who can resist?

12. Coconut-Lime Fried Shrimp with Fiery Mango-Peach Jalapeño Sauce

CREDIT: Photo: Half Baked Harvest

Coconut and lime are flavors that are often used together in cooking because they’re basically BFFs. When you put them on top of shrimp, though, then it’s a Three’s Company situation. This shrimp recipe is definitely a winner but it’s made even more perfect by the salsa on the side. The mango and peach, combined with the jalapeño, give a spicy-sweet kick to an already delicious dish.

13. Big Batch Matador

CREDIT: Photo: Food52

If you’ve never made a big batch cocktail, then you are in for a TREAT. Making something large allows you to relax for the rest of the day, not having to deal with making and remaking the same thing over and over again. Instead, you can put all the ingredients together (in this case, tequila, pineapple juice, and lime juice) and just get ready to sip and enjoy. Your friends will appreciate it, too.

14. Grilled Banana Boats

CREDIT: Photo: Betty Crocker

Bananas are by far my favorite fruit (sorry to anyone who doesn’t agree, but you’re WRONG), so finding a dessert that takes bananas to the next level is pretty much my dream. These banana boats are grilled and basically have s’mores ingredients, which is why they are absolutely PERFECT for Fourth of July.

15. Skillet-Grilled Fish Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Crema

CREDIT: Photo: Food52

Fish tacos are a classic dish to do during the summer. It’s practically mandatory, especially for the Fourth of July, amirite? You can have a lot of different types of fish tacos, of course, using many different ingredients. But what I love about this particular recipe is that they’re easy, can be made inside or outdoors, and include a crema that’s pretty much to die for.

16. Corn and Black Bean Weeknight Nachos

CREDIT: Photo: Smitten Kitchen

What exactly are “weeknight nachos”? Well, basically, they’re just nachos that are so easy that you can make them any time of the week — including this July 4th, which is on a Wednesday. But who cares if our nation’s birthday is on a weekday instead of a weekend when these delicious nachos are around? Make them for your guests and everyone will be happily munching ALL. DAY. LONG.

17. Mexican Potato Salad

CREDIT: Photo: The Harvest Kitchen

Potato salad is one of those dishes that many, many people love. I love it too, but I specifically love this version because it brings in some of my favorite flavors and styles of cooking. Sure, potatoes on their own can be delicious, but why not also add some of the things you love about Mexican food into a potato salad as well? That way, you can have the best of both worlds.

18. Slow Cooker Beer Carnitas Tacos

CREDIT: Photo: How Sweet Eats

Have you ever made things in a slow cooker? It can be intimidating at first, but it is probably my absolutely favorite tool in the kitchen. These slow cooker carnitas tacos are really easy to make, and one of those dishes that you can cook overnight and set up the next day during your Fourth of July fiesta. That way, you’ll have more time to actually socialize and enjoy yourself, instead of always playing the host.

19. Portobello Steaks with Avocado Chimichurri

CREDIT: Photo: Minimalist Baker

You already probably know how to grill steak, which is why we’re putting something a little bit more inventive on your menu: Grilled portobello steaks. These are basically portobello mushroom caps that are seasoned and grilled, then topped with an avocado chimichurri. Now, regular old chimichurri is absolutely fabulous but adding some extra avocado is just, well, a special treat. 

20. Red, White & Blue Sangria

CREDIT: Photo: Montalvo Country

If you’re looking for a more classic sangria recipe than the one earlier, then look no further. Using peaches to represent white, strawberries and raspberries to represent red, and blueberries to represent blue, all you need now is some white wine. And that little bit of sparkling water? It’s just the cherry on top!

21. Avocado Crab Rolls

CREDIT: Photo: Food52

Crab rolls are a HUGE part of summer if you live in the Northeast, but you can translate them into Southwest flavors with this recipe. Thanks to avocado, this recipe is transformed and ready to be eaten by your friends and family. They’re delicious and will definitely up the ante in any celebration.

22. Cuban Mojo Chicken with a Citrus-Avocado Salsa

CREDIT: Photo: Chelsea’s Messy Apron

Being Cuban, I will pretty much try to inject the flavors I grew up with into everything. This Cuban mojo chicken is basically the culmination of all that work, and it’s absolutely one of my favorite dishes to serve during the summer months because it adds a certain lightness to any dish. Making it to pair with a citrus avocado salsa, well… That’s truly delicious and unique.

23. Quesadilla Burger

CREDIT: Photo: Will Cook for Smiles

What’s better than a burger? A quesadilla burger, of course! Whenever there is a heaping load of cheese involved, you can basically count me in. Cheese is delicious, which is why quesadillas have become so very popular. When you serve these quesadilla burgers at your next get-together, everyone will pretty much go nuts over these. Can I have seconds?

24. Potato and Goat Cheese Empanadas with Avocado Chimichurri

CREDIT: Photo: Honest Cooking

Empanadas are another dish that you can actually make ahead and serve on the big day of your Fourth of July party. That’s one of the things you’ll want to do, of course, so that you have more time to enjoy yourself during the actual fiesta. It’s time to step up your cooking game and make these vegetarian-friendly empanadas that even your meat-eating friends will love. Trust me on that!

25. The Pink Paloma Cocktail

CREDIT: Photo: The Kitchn

Another day, another cocktail. Although you have a few options on this menu already, the Paloma is a Mexican classic that is surely not to be missed. It’s delicious, refreshing, and one of those drinks that pretty much everyone can fall in love with. Make sure you have extras, too, because people will LOVE these.


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From Making Sure Your Turkey Actually Fits Into The Oven To Keeping It Moist — Here’s How To Avoid Messing Up Your First Adult Thanksgiving!

Culture

From Making Sure Your Turkey Actually Fits Into The Oven To Keeping It Moist — Here’s How To Avoid Messing Up Your First Adult Thanksgiving!

John Moore / Getty

So you’re stuck in a pandemic without your parents or abuelos to make the turkey and the duties are falling on you. Just about everyone knows that the task of cooking the Thanksgiving turkey is a real job that no one takes on lightly. Whether you’re roasting it or deep frying it, there are legends of just how dangerous and intense prepping a turkey can be.

In fact, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, an estimated 2,000 Thanksgiving Day fires happen every year across the country. Even more so, the National Fire Protection Association has said that deep fryer fires cause an “average of 5 deaths, 60 injuries and more than $15 million in property damage each year.”

To help, we dug around for the best tips on Reddit!

Below check out some recipes on how to avoid a Thanksgiving turkey disaster!

“When I did my first turkey I followed Altons method. Featured here on youtube. It was the best bird I have had, so moist and flavourful. I now have everyone in my family do the same. Low and slow is no way to go with turkey, unless you are bbq´ing it. Brine it for flavour and moist meat. And NO STUFFING the bird, keep it seperate. Just watch the episode, I know it is kinda corny but it is good advice.”- RolandIce

“Get yourself a good probe thermometer. A model like this one works well, you leave it in the bird while it cooks and you can see what’s happening inside. It’s impossible to overcook it this way. Remember to rest it as the temperature will continue to rise even when you pull it out of the oven.” –Hillside_Strangler

“You start with eliminating the fear. People have been cooking large animals and eating them since the invention of fire and they didn’t even have Youtube. You’ll be fine…

  • Thaw the bird. If that takes a few days, okay. If you have to put it in a sink full of warm water the morning of, that’s okay too. It’s meat, not Ebola.*
  • Start early. Nobody’s going to obsess if the mashed potatoes are holding you up. Waiting on the bird is a drag. Don’t put it in the oven at 6am, but figure whatever temperature/time recommendations you’re getting should have an hour or so of slop on either side because they’re always wrong.
  • Stage well. You’ve got vegetables, potatoes, god knows what else that needs to be ready, too. Mashed potatoes that sit out for an hour aren’t nearly as good as mashed potatoes made 5 minutes ago. A turkey that’s been in a warming oven for two hours? Tastes damn near exactly the same as one fresh off roast.
  • Check it every half hour. If it gets too crispy in spots, tent those spots with tin foil. Juice should be basted (in my opinion – I also add white wine. Well, truthfully, I add mead that my wife makes, but you can’t have any). Stick a thermometer down into the meat between the drumstick and where the breast ceases to be a breast. Your oven is probably going to reveal that it doesn’t cook as evenly as it should because nobody bakes any more so most ovens made in the past 10 years are absolute shit. No worries, just rotate the pan 180 degrees in the oven every time you check it.
  • If you don’t want the wingtips to turn into jerky you need to truss them up underneath. I’ll bet there’s a youtube video for that.
  • Let it rest. This is your opportunity to get all the sweet, sweet karma from a beautiful bird. Or, you know, finish cooking everything else. Trust me, your “beautiful bird” is “just another turkey” to everyone else on the Internet so spare us the Instagram please.
  • Carve out of sight. You can do a better job in the kitchen where things are clean, the lighting is good and you don’t have to reach over everyone. This is much easier than you think, too. You need a sharp knife, a fork of some kind, and a cutting board, preferably one with a juice groove. Cut down the breast bone on one side, then under it to free the breast. Poke a knife in the shoulder joint of the wing to get the wing off. Poke your knife in the hip joint and cut the meat to get the leg off. Now cut the thigh from the drumstick at the knee joint (easy) and put a wing, a thigh, and a drumstick on a serving platter. Now cut the breast against the grain into slices about half an inch thick and lay them out. Doesn’t that look beautiful? Doesn’t it dust the shit out of hacking at a carcass in front of your friends and neighbors? And hey – you’ve still got half a turkey.

Once your feast is done, strip the rest of the bird from the bone and put the meat in the fridge. Take the bones and put them in a stock pot with water and whatever spices your mother-in-law insist go in turkey stock (she’ll have an opinion). Let it just-barely-simmer overnight. House will smell awesome the next day and you can make this soup.” –kleinbl00

“I have entries broken down by the hour in my Google calendar to tell me when I need to be chopping stuff, when I need to be putting things in the oven, when people are arriving, what tasks I can hand off to anybody asking, “Is there anything I can do to help?”, etc. If you’ve got a game plan, everything will run a lot smoother. Some general tips for people that might have more time to prepare (these tips are applicable to OP as well, just might have to do test runs on a weeknight instead) – don’t try anything on Thanksgiving day that you haven’t given a shot prior to Thanksgiving day. Have you ever brined anything? Give brining a test run on a chicken this weekend if you have no experience but want to wow people for the holiday. Never tried making a pie crust from scratch? Definitely worth testing that in advance and/or freezing a second batch prior to the holiday shows up. I wouldn’t recommend doing anything new on that Thursday, because it will frazzle you if it doesn’t come out well when people arrive. My final recommendation is do as much possible prep work as possible prior to Thanksgiving day. Chop vegetables in advance, if you can. Line up spices and baking ingredients in an orderly fashion in your pantry or fridge. Mis en place is going to save your ass from wondering where the fuck you put the brown sugar. It also ensures that you have every ingredient necessary before you attempt cooking whatever you’re cooking.” –mattjeast

“Here is the best turkey recipe: Beginning at least 1 hour before dinner, add wine to your guests. Continue to add wine until dinner is over.” –paularbear

“Be sure to buy the bird 2-3 days ahead of time, EVEN IF THE BIRD IS A “FRESH” BIRD. You can bring home a bird that looks ready to go, but the inside is hard as a rock. They call it “hard-chilled,” I call it frozen. If you buy it a couple days before, you won’t get an icy surprise.” –paularbear

“When the bird hits 165, take it out and simply let it rest. Resting a turkey is vital to ensuring that the meat is moist and tender, instead of dry and stringy. I usually rest a turkey for 5 for about an hour, possibly more.” –Willravel

“I was totally in your shoes two Thanksgivings ago. I was holding a dinner for friends who couldn’t make it home for the holidays. We had about 20 odd people show up! I’d never made a turkey before either. A friend suggested that I stick my defrosted (important!!!), and lightly seasoned turkey into an oven bag. While it is baking, it keeps the moisture in, and cooks in its own juices (read: no obsessive basting!). Really easy and foolproof.” – vickasaurusrex

“As long as its not overcooked or dry, you can edit and recover. Make sure your bird can fit your oven, and time your prep to fit your kitchen. 10-15 is a huge amount of food, too much for a single day prep even for a seasoned home cook, get help. List out what can be done a day or 2 ahead. Have enough containers to store every nicely so there is no cross contamination. Have a back up plan.”- deadmantizwalking

“I have always just used a cooking bag, put the turkey breast side down so all the juices flow to the breast meat. I do stuff my bird, b/c I like how it tastes better. I also let it rest after taking it out of the oven before cutting into it, doing so helps the bird retain it’s juices. I don’t get that perfect skin but I don’t mind, b/c I don’t show it off at the table and nobody eats the skin.” –drawdelove

“If you do decide to stuff the bird remember to include the weight of the stuffing when you calculate the number of hours to cook the turkey. Also, when you order the bird or buy the bird make sure she is not frozen on the inside. I’ve had both these things happen to me and we didn’t eat until late haha.” –ladyloowho

“Also, don’t forget the sides! I had a subscription to CooksIllustrated for many years, and their website is great for that kinda stuff. All their recipes are good/great and often they have ‘pre-cook’ tips. For instance, you can make the sauce and other components for your green bean casserole a day or two before, which makes the day-of SO much easier. Timing is always the hardest part, so make yourself a time schedule for the day, working backward from your serving time. Don’t forget to ensure you have time for the turkey to rest. If you cover it in foil, it’ll stay warm/hot for over an hour, so take that into account.” –BloaterPaste

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This Mexican Mom Has Gone Viral On TikTok For Her Recipe Videos Showing You How Easy It Is To Be A Cook

Culture

This Mexican Mom Has Gone Viral On TikTok For Her Recipe Videos Showing You How Easy It Is To Be A Cook

@JennyMartinezzz / TikTok

Look, it’s no secret that cooking isn’t for everyone. It can be tiring, time-consuming, and sometimes downright difficult. Even if we’re learning from our abuelos or tíos, who are passing down a generation’s worth of recipes, the idea of cooking can be intimidating.

But one woman has taken to TikTok to demystify Mexican cooking and she’s making it look super easy in the process. And as someone who’s actually tried out several of her quick TikTok recipe videos, I can tell you, it is as easy as it looks.

Jenny Martinez has quickly become TikTok’s favorite Latina mom.

In her videos on TikTok, Jenny Martinez shares her traditional Mexican recipient with more than 1.5 million followers – and everything from her dad’s famous shrimp cocktail to her easy churros is on the menu.

Martinez got the idea to create recipe videos for TikTok from her daughter, who herself is an avid TikTok user. The duo shot a few short videos and from their things quickly escalated.

“The following morning my phone was blowing up and we couldn’t believe it that one of my videos had gone viral,” Martinez told In The Know.

Although creating video content, especially cooking content, is a lot of work, Martinez sees it as a chance to do what she already loves – to cook. For her, it’s not just about making mouthwatering meals, like conchas con nieve or chuletas abobadasit’s about preserving Mexican culture.

She learned traditional cooking from her mother growing up.

Like so many of us, Martinez grew up learning how to cook with her mother.

“For me, it’s not — it’s not that I’m giving away my secrets,” Martinez told In The Know. “To me, it’s just sharing my knowledge to the younger community so we can continue our culture, the authentic Mexican recipes that our grandmas, our mothers passed down to us.”

Food is one of the greatest bonds between a community. It helps shape traditions, events, ceremonies, and entire cultures. Martinez knows this and believes that food can unite the people within a culture while educating those outside of it. Some of her followers haven’t heard of the ingredients she uses but her explainers in English make such barriers fade away.

“The whole Mexican cooking, it’s just something that connects us together as a community and as Mexicans,” Martinez told In The Know. “Now that I see that in social media that everybody wants to learn and everybody wants to keep on the traditions, that’s what I like. That’s what I want to see.”

The mom’s recipes are great for budding chefs at all levels.

Martinez tells her followers not to get so hung up on trying something new and just attempt to do what you want with the recipe.

“You don’t have to be an expert in cooking. Just open the fridge and start following my recipes. I try to make them as easy as possible,” she said.

But at the heart of it all, Martinez is really passionate about her craft.

“I honestly see the beauty in food and in the cooking,” Martinez told In The Know. “I mean, it’s kind of like an art at the end of the day. When you’re plating it and when you see everything just combining. When you see all of those ingredients, that aroma coming out, to me it’s just beautiful.”

One of her most popular recipe videos are her sandia paletas!

Sure, summer may be over but it’s still forever sandia season in my mind. Especially the version Martinez does on her TikTok. Lathered in chamo y and tajin, you’ll never look at sandia paletas the same.

And you’re not the only one – this video has been viewed more than 1.2 million times!

This is the one that I tried to make and it turned out soooo good.

Carne asada nachos are the ultimate cure for la cruda and every time I was out at bar hoping (pre-Covid obviously), I’d almost always end up at a truck by my house for these guys. But doing them at home is just as easy and mil veces mas delicious!

Martinez teaches you how to make these bomb nachos in less than 30 seconds so it’s worth your investment. The result is everything!

Which recipes are you most excited to try out? Or h

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