The 4th of July and its celebration has always been a big day for my family and me. Growing up we were always together at the beach this time of year. For that reason I always put the 4th of July, food, fireworks and family together with beach time. How could that not be right up there with one of the best days of the year?
This year we are veering from tradition and having a “stay cation”. Not very exciting I know, but I also know that location does not take away from celebrating our Independence Day, celebrating families and friends, and looking forward to sharing delicious foods with those around.
If you are looking for some fun foods to add to your table here are a few I’ve tried that have been hits. Most are healthy, easy (you know me) and can be made ahead. So here goes!
Mini Mac and Cheese Muffins (HUGE HIT!)
1 1/2 cups crushed butter crackers, like Ritz (about 35 crackers)
2 cups grated Cheddar, divided
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
8 oz cooked elbow macaroni, drained
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup skim milk
1/4 cup light sour cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease muffin time. ( I used mini muffin tins this go around to feed a crowd).
In a bowl, combine the crackers, 1 cup of the Cheddar and the melted butter and dash paprika. Divide the mixture among the prepared muffin cups and press firmly into the bottom and up the sides. In a large bowl, mix the macaroni with 1/2 cup of the Cheddar. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, milk, sour cream, and cold butter pieces. Stir the milk mixture into the macaroni.
For regular muffin size, spoon about 2 tablespoons of the macaroni mixture into each cracker crust and top with the remaining Cheddar. (Spoon about 1 spoonful for mini muffins) Bake about 25 minutes or until the cheese is browned and slightly crispy. Allow to cool slightly before turning upside down on wire racks.
These little beauties are just divine! And perfect for sharing with young and old! While the version is “lightened”, there is only so much you can do with macaroni and cheese, but these little portions are the perfect answer. Eat and enjoy!
Since it is NOT the 4th of July without ribs, here is one of my recipe HITS. I use my own sauce that I have shared with you HERE. If you want fall off the bone ribs and may not be up for standing over the grill ALL day long, thy these
I wish I had a photo to show you because these actually DO fall right off of the bone . . .
A side that’s easy to make ahead and can last in the fridge forever is:
You can see here I added a little corn to the salad. I say add what you have fresh on hand and tastes good to you!
Lastly, rounding out a 4th of July Celebration has to be something sweet. With all of the delicious fresh fruit in season, watermelon is perfect as is a juicy blackberry cobbler OR you could try Not My Mama’s Peach Cobbler. Or, you could whip up this little flag with berries and yogurt covered pretzels to show your spirit!
Happy 4th of July! I hope you share with family and friends!
Enjoy the Day!