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I’m going to be honest guys…the 4th of July totally snuck up on me this year. I mean, it was just yesterday that the kids were getting out of school, right? So naturally earlier this week when I realized that my FAVORITE holiday was just a few days away, I had a minor freak out. You see, I always make 4th of July huge in my home. But I was worried that this year’s crazy schedule and my forgetfulness were going to ruin our red, white and blue fun.
As I took a deep breath and pulled out my paper and pencil to make a list of things I would need, I knew that our celebration could be better than ever before. I just needed a few inspired ideas and a little planning to turn my last minute celebration into one that would top even the best planned soiree.
Thankfully I had recently seen the FREE Fire Up Your Grill digital cookbook from Kraft and knew that simple celebrations could be amazing. After all, I didn’t need the fanciest food around to please my family…I just needed delicious dishes that screamed red, white and blue and that we could all enjoy together. Knowing that I was short on time but needed food ideas that were big on flavor, I grabbed my list and headed for Walmart.
As I walked the aisles and saw the array of products, an idea started to come together in my head. I knew I wanted to keep things simple. I also knew that I wanted my dishes to have a patriotic feel. But even more than that, I wanted them to boast big flavors! After picking up Oscar Mayer hot dogs, Kraft dressings for sauces and marinades, fresh fruits and veggies and of course a little something sweet for dessert, I headed home to turn my array of groceries into a mouthwatering 4th of July spread that my whole family was sure to love.
I knew that the key to the perfect meal was dishes everyone could enjoy. And the center point of that was of course, our grilled item. You see, we’re BIG grillers in our home. And while really any day is a great day to grill, on the 4th of July it’s just essential. While I was at Walmart I had thought through my grilling options and decided to mix things up (while keeping them very festive) with some Patriotic Grilled Kabobs!
I really wanted my kabobs to have the red, white and blue colors that I was using as the guide for my entire meal and I was pretty sure I had figured out a delicious way to make that work! I started by cutting up my Oscar Mayer hot dogs into bite sized pieces.
Then I added grape tomatoes (red), white baby potatoes that had been boiled for about 8 minutes in a pot of water (white) and chopped eggplant (OK, so it’s really purple but I found one that was so dark it looked navy blue) to a large bowl. I knew I needed a little something extra to add some flavor so I grabbed my Kraft Italian Dressing and covered my potatoes and veggies with it.
I allowed the food to set for a while so that the delicious flavors of the dressing could really sink it. I just knew that the added burst of Italian flavors was going to make our Kabobs taste truly amazing! Once my veggies were ready, I soaked my wood skewers and alternated putting my tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and hot dogs onto the skewers. When they were all in place, I had a very patriotic looking dish indeed!
With my main course ready for the grill, I placed it in the fridge and moved on to my side. Earlier in the day I had run across a recipe for Ranch Cole Slaw in the Kraft Fire Up the Grill Cookbook. Honestly, I had never thought of using Ranch dressing in my slaw but inspired by the idea, I whipped up the delicious recipe and set it next to my Kabobs in the fridge to marinate.
With my main course and side sitting pretty, it was time to think about dessert. In my family, we LOVE pudding pies. And we love them even more when they have Cool-Whip and fruit added in. So, I set to work creating a Red, White and Blue Cheesecake Pudding Pie.
To make my delicious dessert, I crushed up some graham crackers and mixed in a tablespoon of butter. Then I poured my crust into the bottom of a spring mold pan and gently flattened it on the bottom.
Next, I added two three ounce boxes of Jello Pudding Mix in Cheesecake flavor and three cups of cold milk to my blender. I proceeded to mix them until the pudding was thick and creamy.
Then I mixed in one regular sized container of Cool-Whip and blended it well. All that was left to do was pour my filling over the crust and my Cheesecake Pudding Pie was ready for the freezer!
I let my pie freeze for about an hour as I pulled out the patriotic napkins, tablecloth and plates I had found at Walmart and mixed up some of our family favorite…Country Time Half Tea and Half Lemonade. With the Country Time Lemonade Starters, it was as easy as adding water to my container, pouring in the starter and mixing!
With all the items for my easy 4th of July meal prepped, I grabbed the hubby, got him to fire up the grill and popped our Patriotic Kabobs on for about 3 minutes on each side.
As he was doing his grilling, I set out my cole slaw, added blueberries and sliced strawberries to the top of my pudding pie and made sure everything was ready for our celebratory feast!
Once the kabobs came off the grill, I set them in their place and stepped back to admire my work. My table was filled with festive and delicious foods that screamed 4th of July and I knew without a doubt that our celebration would be better than prior years because the simply delicious foods I had on my table were sure to please any crowd!
As my guys dug in, I watched with pride, knowing that while my day started with stress, it ended with a simple patriotic celebration that couldn’t be topped!
This 4th of July, whether you’re celebrating with family, friends or the entire neighborhood, take my tips and make your celebration simple yet memorable! Incorporate delicious dishes that are full of flavor and don’t forget to add pops of color to your mouth watering celebration. And if you need even more grill worthy ideas to make your 4th of July celebration a success, just download the FREE Fire up the Grill Digital Cookbook from Kraft!
Now, I don’t know about you but I’m off to make my holiday weekend delicious! I’ll start with simple recipes and add a few bursts of unexpected flavor. But no matter what I serve, I’ll make sure my festive dishes start and end with Kraft!
Tell me, what’s your favorite 4th of July recipe?