15 Star-Spangled Recipe Sites for the 4th of July

july-4-recipesNot everyone is a chef or even knows their way sufficiently around the kitchen (or a grill) to pull off that 4th of July meal or dream up that intriguing potluck dish or dessert. Fortunately, many kitchen connoisseurs are way ahead on that number and have thought up ideas for finger foods, main dishes, salads, desserts and more. Find their ideas by looking at the list of 15 4th of July sites below to help you with food planning, party ideas, drinks, and more. Don't worry! You'll also find ideas for traditional 4th of July foods -- like pulled pork, hamburgers, and ribs -- but also for some of the more unique ideas out there like red-white-and-blue potato salad and even coconut covered Bald Eagle treats.

Star-spangled 4th of July recipe sites

All Recipes From a red, white and blue strawberry shortcake to Tex-Mex burgers with Cajun mayonnaise, this website can meet all of a chef's 4th of July needs be those for a simple appetizer, main course ideas or a hearty, impressive dessert. This site will also get you thinking about things that you hadn't even considered -- were you really merely planning on just putting that corn on the cob in the water for a boil? How about putting it on the grill instead and finding any number of grilled-corn recipes to help bring those golden ears to perfection? If those corn recipe suggestions don't suffice, watch the short video on corn-grilling, already viewed by thousands, to see what perfectly grilled-corn can look like in golden glory.

Cooking Light As some have discovered, there is a way to cook lighter for such a traditionally food-heavy holiday. Wow - just take a look at the featured blueberry and blackberry galette with cornmeal crust and your mouth will soon be watering and your head spinning. You'll also find other useful recipes on the Cooking Light site: those for pulled chicken sandwiches, red-white-and-blue potato salad (using blue potatoes), and even fresh cherry cheesecake bars.

Disney Family Fun This site could be one of the best for finding unique patriotic treats and snacks. Not kidding! Where else can you go for a recipe for coconut-covered edible Bald Eagles? And that's not it. You'll also find recipes for crispy cheese stars, firework crudites with Parmesan dip, Uncle Sam ice cream cones, and red, white and blue revolutionary strawberries. However, you'll also find more 'normal' recipes on the site, ranging from finger foods to 4th of July drinks.

Eating Well Here, the recipes are few instead of many, but still a cause to pause for consideration. Find a 4th of July recipe for a cheeseburger that is based around having its cheese (think a hard or semi-hard cheese) in the middle instead of on top, but this site's inside-out cheeseburger recipe is not the only unique one you'll find. You'll also discover recipes for bean and tomato salad with honey vinaigrette, a blueberry tart with walnut crust and even Whoopie pies!

Epicurious Whether you're planning a party or just looking for yummy drink ideas, this site has it all from start to finish -- not to mention it's home to plenty of party-planning recipes, too: 21 hamburger recipes, tips and a guide for making those perfect ribs, and even instructions for a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and berries. This site doesn't take the easy route, however, and leave off that old cook-out standby -- hot dogs -- but steps it up rather with advice on hosting a weenie roast, needed condiments and best ways to serve.

Fat Free Vegan Kitchen Find unique recipes on this site that are meant to cool the palette during a hot summer holiday. From international quinoa salad to asparagus pesto pasta salad and red-bean chipotle burgers, you'll find recipes that are meat-free and based on use of whole foods. If you're really wanting something out-of-the-box but that still speaks to your healthy-eating preferences, the grilled tofu with blueberry-peach salsa recipe might hit the spot.

Food Network Oh goodness, plan to become undone at this site featuring some 651 recipes available for 4th of July planning. To get through it all, search by category, such as Summer Cookout Salad Recipes, Things to Grill in Foil, or Great Grilled Vegetables. Then there are also individual recipes like super sloppy joes, pulled pork sandwiches, fried green tomatoes and even one for - yum - fried chicken. Some of these recipes come from top chefs, so don't be surprised when you see Rachael Ray's or Alton Brown's name in the courtesy line.

Instructables At this website, you'll discover 4th of July recipes submitted by readers -- which gives you the option of choosing between (and looking at) several 4th of July cakes. You'll also find many other unique recipes that can come in handy over the 4th of July like the beautiful and impressive looking stained-glass jello that came from one of the posted recipes. That's not all -- there's even a recipe for cheeseburger salad -- yes, actually made with small cheeseburgers tossed in with salad - and even instructions (and pics) on how to tap a watermelon. Also, the comments on these recipes are just as entertaining to read as the pictures are enjoyable to look at.

Mad Hungry Yum, this site, based on the Mad Hungry show with Lucinda Scala Quinn on the Hallmark Channel, features a number of recipe ideas for the 4th of July. These could be especially beneficial if you're looking for unusual alternatives. Want to nix beef at your cook-out and go with a leaner option instead? Try the grilled chicken with figgy barbecue sauce recipe (from marthastewart.com). Looking to impress with the small details? The site's homemade summer-salad mayonnaise recipe (also from marthastewart.com) could be useful in any number of ways .... think coleslaw, potato salad, etc., as the site suggests.

My Baking Addiction If you're thinking red, white and blue desserts,you'll want to check out the 4th of July recipes on this site. If a recipe for strawberry cream cake doesn't tickle your fancy, maybe raspberry lemon cupcakes or fresh strawberry bread will. The writer also throws in a few bonus recipes, too, for potluck dishes (in case you're heading elsewhere instead of having a feast at your home): BBQ beef sliders, Greek chicken kabobs and bite-sized tacos.

My Last Bite Looking for that one dish that might have staying power and be requested over and over again at future 4th of July celebrations? Try the bacon-wrapped baby potatoes lauded on this site (with photo!). Apparently, bacon-related recipes are all the rage for some -- as any number of commenters on this recipe express their excitement about the potentiality of this recipe.

Recipe Girl If you're looking for unique 4th of July dessert ideas, the Recipe Girl website may be just the place to go and really get your your mouth a-waterin' -- and that's just from the photos alone. While the pictures may make you think you need baker's talents extraordinaire, recipes, like the cherry pie cups. can truly be handled by any at-home dessert aficionado. The cherry pie cups are made using a regular-sized muffin tin, a small Tupperware bowl, a star-shaped cookie cutter, as well as cherries and other ingredients, of course. Readers can also find ideas for 4th of July cupcakes and red, white and blueberry cheesecake bars. Just don't look at this site when you're hungry!

Russell Morin Fine Catering This site takes a slightly out-of-the box approach to 4th of July recipes by thinking cool for a hot day. Recipes created by Russell Morin's chef de cuisine include classic gazpacho and cool cantaloupe soup with coconut and ginger. As the chef de cuisine indicates these recipes can be used for the 4th of July or for any cook-out.

Taste of Home This site is your home for mad 4th of July planning, offering ideas for everything from appetizers, salads (potato salad; red, white and blue salad; fruit salad, etc.), side dishes, cheeseburgers, chicken and more. You'll even find sundry recipes for ice cream and desserts. The pictures alone are a feast for the eyes (especially the patriotic ice cream cupcakes!) so just imagine the holiday showcase you can lay down when you put any of these recipes to work.

The Idea Room Oh, yum! Don't look at this site on a hungry stomach. The mouth-watering close-up picture of patriotic fruit pizza topped with raspberries and blueberries could just do you in. Step-by-step photo instructions let you know exactly what you're getting into, however, if you decide to follow this simple sugar-cookie based pie crust recipe. That's not it. You'll also find ideas for patriotic cheesecake bars (also yummy looking) and red-white-and-blue potato salad (lifted off of Recipe Girl) as well.

Hip, hip, hurray

If this list of recipe sites doesn't have your mouth watering and your head full of ideas for your creations on the 4th of July holiday, you may just need to chat with friends and family for more on potential meal plans. Hopefully, your holiday will be terrific, your creations turn out well, and your tummy be full with good eating.

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            Lackawanna College is the premier, private, accredited two-year college serving the people of northeastern Pennsylvania. With a focus on keeping higher education affordable and accessible to our immediate community, Lackawanna draws 80 percent of its student population right from our own region.

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            • Gives students the opportunity to earn their associate’s degree in the culinary arts field in less than 15 months or bachelor’s degree in the food service management field in 2.5 years through their year-round schedule.
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