By Geri Chase
I don't cook much. It's not my thing. It's not that I don't know how, it's just not one of my favorite things to do. I will never be in the pages of Taste of Home or Better Homes and Gardens. If you are like me and need some easy recipes for your 4th of July BBQ, then I'm you huckleberry. This has got to be the all-time easiest meal I have ever made. It has made me look like freakin' Martha Stewart when one look at my house will tell you I am sooo NOT Martha Stewart.
Because I'm the sharing, caring type I am happy to share my recipes with you, so that you too may be the "Hostess with the Mostest" (or Host, as the case may be, but then Hello!?! That wrecks the rhyme!) this year at your Independence Day festivities! The shopping list looks daunting, but don't let it scare you. This meal is going to be a breeze and I expect you to mention me in your "Great Hostess/Host" award acceptance speech.
1 Bottle of Italian Dressing - NOT Fat Free (your choice, I like Kraft Roasted Red Pepper Italian)Baking potatoes
Grated Cheddar Cheese
Green Salad in a Bag
Dressing of Choice
Croutons and other Salad toppings
Orange Juice or Citric acid (vitamin C tablets)
Berries (raspberries, blackberries, strawberries)
If you are grilling, then this is a great and easy chicken recipe. Don't ask me about beef, my husband does the steaks and burgers. Put Chicken Breasts in Freezer size Ziploc Bag, along with entire bottle of dressing. Put in fridge for minimum 3-5 hours. Overnight is even better and will yield much tastier results. Don't forget to turn the bag over every once in awhile to marinate both sides of the chicken. When ready, place chicken on grill, cook until there is no pink in the center. Be sure to discard marinade, it has yucky chicken germs and you wouldn't want to make your guests sick. That would be bad. And very un-Martha Stewart. That's it!! Chicken is DONE!!
Twice Baked Potatoes
I found this recipe last year on Allrecipes.com. It's so good and simple to make. You can even cook the potatoes in the microwave if you're short on time!
4 large baking potatoes
8 slices bacon
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
8 green onions, sliced, divided
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake potatoes in preheated oven for 1 hour. Meanwhile, place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside. When potatoes are done allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh into a large bowl; save skins. To the potato flesh add sour cream, milk, butter, salt, pepper, 1/2 cup cheese and 1/2 the green onions. Mix with a hand mixer until well blended and creamy. Spoon the mixture into the potato skins. Top each with remaining cheese, green onions and bacon. Bake for another 15 minutes. Serve hot! These are so yummy, I could eat one all by itself for a meal!
Bag of Salad Greens
whatever other salad veggies and fixins you want to throw in
Okay, seriously?!! You just cut up the veggies and throw everything in a big bowl. Right before its time to serve the food, you can toss the salad with dressing if you like, or you can let your guests dress their own salads. Martha would probably toss; I would probably not, but whatever. This is your gig.
And finally, in order to make it a complete meal, something sweet:
Dessert Fruit Skewers
Berries (raspberries, blackberries, strawberries)
Orange juice or citric acid (crushed vitamin C tablets)
I would place all the fruit on a huge platter and let the guests make their own skewers. But if you want to pre-make them (you are trying to show me up, aren't you!) follow these steps:
Cut fruit into bite-size pieces. Be sure to coat apple and banana pieces in orange juice or citric acid to prevent oxidation (browning). Slide fruit onto skewers and drizzle with chocolate syrup. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until time to serve. If you don't want the hassle of cutting up fruit and you want to shorten your shopping list, you could just do Root Beer Floats...nothing says God Bless America like ice cream and soda!! Either way, your guests will love you for your efforts to indulge their collective sweet tooth.
Because I'm not an ace in the kitchen, I would probably just go for lemonade or soda for beverages and do the whole self-serve thing. Again, this would be why I don't win any major hostess awards, but my friends and family leave well fed and happy, even if they did have to eat off paper plates.
So there you go, my quick and easy 4th of July BBQ meal for those of us who are "domestically-challenged." Have a great and safe 4th of July and don't forget to think about our great country and our wonderful freedoms while you chow down!
Geri Chase is a stay-at-home mom and freelance writer. It's a tough gig, but I'm committed! Geri is mom of 2 boys and frequently writes about life as Boymom at http://www.iamboymom.blogspot.com