If you’re like me, the Fourth of July means hot, sticky weather and a big ol’ cookout. In our family, the Fourth was also our family reunion… all the Stramaras would gather at the Happy Holidays Pavilion where we could swim in the pool, explore the marshes behind the picnic area, and eat eat eat at splintery wooden picnic tables that buckled under the load of homemade Italian food. My dad always set off fireworks when it got dark, and one year, I distinctly remember all my uncles sitting in lawn chairs, passing a tape measure among them to see who had the biggest beer belly. “This is the biggest gut I’ve ever had!”
This year, our Fourth of July celebration will be equally as much fun but far healthier in the food and lifestyle departments.
To help you get your dino-chow on this weekend, I’ve pulled out some of my previous recipes that would be great for a cookout.
And if you’re going to see fireworks on the Fourth, you might want to be able to identify what you’re seeing. Thanks to the kind folks at Mental Floss, you can use this handy guide so you’ll be an instant Fireworks Expert.™ For example, this is a spider:
And this is a peony.
OK! Onto the recipes…
Kale chips: Salty, crunchy, and 100% guilt free. Have you ever heard anyone say, “Oh, man! I really overdid it on the kale today.” Eat these with abandon.
Baba ghanoush: Garlicky, cool, and perfect for veggie dipping.
Spiced nuts: These include a tiny bit of sugar. Leave it out if you’re being super strict.
Spiced olives: Tangy and cool, perfect on a relish tray and with grilled meat.
Turkish chopped salad: Cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, and more, dressed in lemon juice and olive oil.
Moroccan orange salad: Salty-sweet and unexpected, this is awesome with grilled meat.
Traditional cucumber salad: Cool and creamy with homemade mayo.
Belly dance beet salad: With pistachios and Middle Eastern spices.
Fennel-mint slaw: Crunchy, cool, and unusual – but super tasty.
Stupid easy grilled baby back ribs: Seriously. Couldn’t be easier. See the comments for an oven option.
Moroccan lamb kabobs: Marinade + flame = deliciousness
Ginger-lime grilled shrimp and scallops: Dead easy, very flavorful. (also works on chicken)
Best EVER grilled chicken: Tender, juicy, flavorful. Also, easy.
Grilled “Tandoori” chicken: Coconut milk marinade makes it spicy and tender.
Moroccan dipping sauce: Awesome for dunking grilled veggies, chicken, beef, pork, and lamb.
Sunshine sauce: Great for raw veggies and grilled meat… also works as salad dressing on tossed greens.
Tahini sauce: Ditto.
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