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Cheap and Easy Fourth of July Desserts and Sides

Posted on 6/19/2013 12:53 EST

America's birthday, Independence Day, the Fourth of July, call it what you will, is a day for causal celebrations. A favorite holiday that's relatively stress free, filled with outdoor fun and fireworks, it goes hand in hand with low-key cookouts. For the cook in the family that means recipes that are cheap and easy to prepare. Here are our tips for Fourth of July desserts and side dishes.

Photo by elen_studio/Shutterstock

Ingredients to Use.

The Fourth of July is a standout holiday for fresh food. It falls in early summer when the best of the year's harvest is just beginning to come in, ripe and ready to savor. Fresh ingredients to incorporate into Fourth of July recipes include fruits such as blueberries, strawberries, watermelon, honeydew melon, raspberries, and bananas, and vegetables such as corn on the cob, tomatoes, chard, peas, and more.

Patriotic Touches.

The red, white, and blue theme is an obvious way to add Fourth of July sparkle to any recipe. With a little food coloring, or red and blue sprinkles, you can make numerous dishes festive. Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and bananas, based on their colors, are natural choices. You can also get creative and cut star shapes out of many different foods; the traditional cubes and slices of watermelon, honeydew melon, and cantaloupe could do with such a makeover. One patriotic touch is to dip strawberries in white chocolate, rather than the usual dark chocolate, and then dab the tips into blue sprinkles.

Fourth of July Desserts.

There are scores of Fourth of July desserts you can whip up in a matter of minutes, at very little cost. Here are a few of our favorites:
  • American Flag Fruit Pizza (courtesy of Skinny Mom): For the crust use sugar cookie dough rolled out flat and baked; top with white icing and strawberries for the stripes and blueberries for the stars.
  • Dessert Kebabs: Skewer strawberries or raspberries, bananas or marshmallows, and blueberries on wood skewers and drizzle chocolate over the top.
  • Patriotic Cupcakes: Bake your favorite cupcakes and decorate with white icing topped with blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries.

Fruit Sides.

Any side dish can complement a Fourth of July cookout, but a fruit-based side can sweeten up the fun and the day's patriotic flavor. Here are two ideas:
  • Patriotic Fruit Salad: Cut chunks of watermelon and pineapple into star shapes. Mix in blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries.
  • Flag Fruit Plate: Arrange strawberry and banana chunks into alternating rows to represent the stripes in the flag and lay out blueberries in a square in the corner to represent the stars. Substitute Swiss or mozzarella cheese chunks for the bananas if you want to make this Fourth of July recipe a fruit and cheese plate instead of just fruit.

by Raechel Conover (Google+ Profile)

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