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Healthy Festive Recipes for the Fourth of July

Toni-Ann DiSantis

Healthy Festive Recipes for the Fourth of July

Independence Day provides the perfect opportunity to fire up the grill, cook all your favorites, and set out a spread that will seriously impress guests. 

These summery dishes, from crowd-pleasing appetizers to smoky BBQ ribs to fresh, fruity desserts, will take make your patriotic party one to remember. In addition to being super tasty, they're healthy too, so you'll look and feel amazing in that red, white, and blue bikini.

 

Appetizers

Blueberry, Strawberry & Jicama Salsa ( Red white & blue )

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup diced strawberries
1 cup diced jicama
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeno pepper, stemmed and seeded
Juice of 1 large lime
Salt, to taste
Tortilla chips, for serving

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine blueberries, strawberries, jicama, cilantro, red onion, jalapeno, and lime juice. Stir until well combined. Season with salt, to taste. Serve with tortilla chips at room temperature or chilled.

 American Flag Vegetable Tray

·      1 Large Cookie Sheet

·      Square Container for Dip

·      Small Star Fondant Cutter

·      3 Cucumbers

·      10-15 Radishes

·      Cauliflower

·      Grape Tomatoes

·      2 Red Peppers

Dill Dip Ingredients

·      1/2 cup Fat Free Sour Cream

·      1/2 cup Mayonnaise

·      8 oz. Light Cream Cheese

·      1 tablespoon Fresh Dill, minced

·      2 tablespoon Fresh Parsley, minced

·      1 tablespoon Dried Minced Onion

·      1 teaspoon Salt

·      6-10 Drops of Blue Food Coloring

Slice the vegetables and line them up on the cookie sheet in rows of white and red.
Mix all ingredients of the dip together in a bowl. Gradually add a few drops of the food coloring until you get the desired blue.
Add the dip to a square container and place in the top left side of the cookie sheet. Thinly slice a radish and cut stars then place in rows on the dip.

Salads and Sides

 

Watermelon Arugula and Feta Salad

3 cups seedless watermelon, cubed and chilled
1/2 cup crumbled feta
7 oz arugula
1/4 small red onion, sliced very thin
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and fresh pepper

Directions:

Wash arugula and dry well. In a large bowl whisk vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.

3 cups seedless watermelon, cubed and chilled
1/2 cup crumbled feta
7 oz arugula
1/4 small red onion, sliced very thin
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and fresh pepper

Wash arugula and dry well. In a large bowl whisk vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Toss with the remaining ingredients and serve.

 

Grilled Chipotle Lime Cauliflower Steaks
 

2 large heads cauliflower
1/4 cup olive oil
2 limes, zested and juice
2 cloves garlic, finely grated
1 teaspoon honey or agave syrup
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon chipotle powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
Lime wedges, to serve

Remove the leaves on each cauliflower head and trim the stem end until you can set the cauliflower flat on the cutting board. Use a large, sharp knife to trim off the sides, then cut the cauliflower into 3 to 4 thick "steaks." Reserve the florets that fall away for another recipe (see Recipe Notes).

Whisk the olive oil with the lime juice in a small bowl. Whisk in the grated garlic and honey or agave syrup. In a separate bowl, mix the lime zest, paprika, chipotle, and salt.

 

Sriracha Glazed Grilled Chicken Skewers with Peaches and Basil

 

Ingredients

Instructions

8-16 bamboo skewers (You may want to use 2 per skewer for extra stability.)
1½ tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 lime, juiced and zested
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon Sriracha (plus more for serving)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1½ pounds total)
2 peaches, cut into 16ths
24 fresh basil leaves

 

Start by soaking the bamboo skewers in a shallow dish filled with water for 30 minutes. (Do not skip this step people, or your skewers will catch fire on the grill, which is terrifying.)
In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, lime juice and zest, honey and Sriracha. Briefly set aside.
Slice your chicken breasts into approximately 1-inch chunks.
Place them in a large Ziploc bag and pour the marinade over them. Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (Obviously, the longer you let the chicken marinate the more it will soak up the glorious flavors, but 30 minutes will do in a pinch.)
Slice your peaches into 16ths. Just to break it down: Cut each peach in half (removing the pit, duh). Then slice each half into four segments. Slice each of those four segments in half. Voila!
Once the chicken is marinated, it’s time to assemble the skewers. Thread a piece of chicken, followed by a basil leaf, and a peach segment onto a soaked bamboo skewer. (Fold large basil leaves in half before threading them onto the skewers.) Repeat this pattern about 3 times per skewer. (You should be able to get 4 pieces of chicken, 3 peaches, and 3 leaves of basil on each skewer, but you can do less if you prefer, okay?)
Heat a clean, oiled grill or grill pan over medium heat. When hot add the skewers and cook, rotating occasionally until the chicken is cooked through, about 12-15 minutes. Serve immediately with extra Sriracha.

 

BBQ Slow-Cooker Baby Back Ribs

 

Ingredients:

1 package pork baby back ribs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups BBQ Sauce

Directions:

Pat ribs dry with paper towels.
Rub with salt and pepper.
Lay meat-side up in slow cooker {or crockpot}.
Pour half of the BBQ sauce over the ribs, cover, and cook on high for 7-8 hours.
Before serving and if you want the ribs more caramelized, turn oven to 450°F and then bake the ribs for no more than 5 minutes. Watch carefully so they don't burn.
Cut and serve with extra BBQ sauce. Enjoy!

Desserts

 

Banana Spilt Pops

 

Ingredients:

 

4 bananas

8 popsicle sticks

1 c. melted chocolate

1 tbsp. coconut oil

1/2 c. rainbow nonpareil sprinkles

Whipped cream, for serving

8 maraschino cherries

 

Directions:

1.     Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2.     Cut the ends off of each banana to level the sides, then cut in half. Insert a popsicle stick into each banana piece and place on prepared baking sheet. Freeze for 2 hours.

3.     In a medium bowl, whisk together melted chocolate and coconut oil until smooth. Pour sprinkles into a small bowl. Dip the top of each frozen banana in chocolate, then roll the melted chocolate tip around in sprinkles. Return to baking sheet and freeze until the chocolate is firm, about 15 minutes.

4.     Top each pop with whipped cream and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

 

Skinny Chocolate Bark

 

Ingredients:

24 oz. dark chocolate (at least 60 percent cocoa)

1 c. natural peanut butter, warmed

1 c. unsalted peanuts, chopped

1/4 c. pretzels

 

Directions:

1.     Line a baking dish or sheet with parchment. In a small glass bowl, heat dark chocolate in the microwave on low heat, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted. Pour into prepared dish, tilting so it fully covers the bottom of the dish.

2.     Drizzle over peanut butter, then drag a toothpick over the peanut butter in the opposite direction of the drizzle, creating a swirl.

Top with peanuts and pretzels and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour. Break into pieces and serve. (Bark can be stored in a resealable container up to 2 weeks.)