Make your Independence Day spectacular and your Memorial Day memorable with patriotic themed food ideas and recipes. For cocktail bites or a backyard buffet, your guests will certainly notice your extra effort to make your event something special.
Whether gathering in remembrance, celebrating birthdays, or kickstarting summer, these red, white & blue food ideas are sure to impress.
We've included recipes for patriotic savory & sweet bites:
This cute patriotic spinoff of the classic appetizer is a definite crowd pleaser best served warm. Skewer the pillowy star puffs to savory sausage bites with thematic food picks and they’ll disappear faster than you can say “More please!” Guaranteed.
Total Time: 45 mins Prep Time: 20 mins Cook Time: 5 mins Bake Time: 20 mins Yield: 38 servings
1 lb. sausage links
1 puff pastry, thawed
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the sausage links into 36 half-inch slices and brown the meat on both sides over medium high heat.
Place sausage slices on cookie sheets, spaced 2-inches apart.
Break egg into small dish and scramble.
Lay out thawed pastry and brush the surface with egg wash.
Cut out 36 stars with a miniature star cookie cutter.
Place pastry stars on top of the sausage bites and secure with a toothpick.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, until pastries are golden brown.
Dijon Mustard Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp prepared yellow mustard
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsps honey
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
Mix all ingredients into a serving bowl, stirring until color is even.
Just the right combination of sweet and smoky, these tasty fruit and cheese bites are perfect appetizers for a 4th of July or Memorial Day celebration. This healthy, low-calorie option offers a pop of patriotic colors in a fun star shape that is great for guests of all ages.
Total time: 15 mins Yield: 10 servings
2 slices of watermelon
5 slices provolone cheese
1 large star cookie cutter
1 small star cookie cutter
Cut the watermelon into 1-inch thick cross-sectional slices and remove the rinds.
Use large star cookie cutter to cut out watermelon stars.
Set out sliced cheese, and use the small star cookie cutter to cut out stars.
Place cheese stars on top of the larger watermelon stars, thread 2 blueberries onto each toothpick, and skewer the watermelon and cheese pieces together.
If you are up for something a little more involved, serving up classic shrimp cocktail with an individualized twist in shot glasses is an elegant option.
These delicately flavored shrimp are perfectly paired with spicy dipping sauce. Make both the shrimp and sauce up to a day in advance for easy preparation.
Total Time: 1 hr, 55 mins Prep Time: 55 mins Chill Time: 1 hr Yield: 10 to 12 servings
8 cups (2 quarts) water
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 medium lemon, thinly sliced
3 fresh Italian parsley sprigs
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 pounds (21/25-count) shrimp, peeled & deveined with tails left on
Combine everything except the shrimp in a 4-quart saucepan or pot over high heat and bring it to a boil.
Add the shrimp, stir, and remove the pan from the heat. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and let sit until the shrimp are opaque and just cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with paper towels and set it aside.
When the shrimp are ready, drain them in a strainer set in the sink. Transfer them to the prepared baking sheet and arrange in a single layer, removing and discarding any solids from the poaching liquid that have stuck to the shrimp (discard the contents in the strainer as well).
Let sit until cooled to room temperature, about 10 minutes
Transfer the shrimp to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour until chilled.
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup prepared horseradish
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
Stir all the ingredients together in a medium bowl.
Taste and season with more pepper as needed.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve.
Stuff lettuce leaves in the bottom of shot glasses to reduce the amount of wasted sauce and make it easier to dip.
Add cocktail sauce and two shrimp with the tails up to each shot glass.
One of the most exciting starters is a gorgeous platter of cheeses and crudites (French for raw vegetables). All the prep is in the presentation, and with no cooking, who could ask for anything simpler or more wholesome?
Check out these tips for selecting and arranging cheeses to get your creativity going at www.foodnetwork.com.
These savory veggie bites burst with fresh flavor offset by creamy herbed cheeses that will delight the most discerning palate while pleasing the rest of the crowd too. Garnish with a sprig of fresh parsley and a patriotic food pick for an attractive and delicious hors d’oeuvre.
Total time: 20 mins Prep time: 10 mins Cook time: 10 mins Yield: 4 servings
6-8 fresh cherry peppers
1/2 cup goat cheese
1/4 cup skim-milk ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon fresh basil, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon fresh chives, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon fresh parsley, or to taste
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Halve and seed cherry peppers lengthwise.
Combine goat cheese and ricotta, then season with salt and pepper.
Mound the mixture into pepper halves and arrange onto a baking sheet.
Bake the stuffed peppers for 5-7 minutes, until the cheese begins to turn golden brown.
NOTE: Choose any fresh herb to substitute for the basil and/or chives.
Mouthwatering bites of succulent mushrooms spiced up with hot sausage will really knock their socks off. Make these little guys days to weeks in advance and then freeze them until needed (up to 3 months!) for a convenient and delicious last-minute appetizer option.
Of course, they also taste great fresh out of the oven. To reheat, just pop them in the oven for 15 minutes and let sit for 10 minutes or so before serving.
Total Time: 55 mins Prep Time: 30 mins Cook Time: 25 mins Yield: 24 bites
24 ozs (wt) white button mushrooms,
6 ozs hot pork sausage,
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup dry white wine
8 ozs cream cheese
1 whole egg yolk
3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Wipe off or wash mushrooms in cold water. Pop out stems, reserving both parts.
Chop mushroom stems finely and set aside.
Brown and crumble sausage. Set aside on a plate to cool.
Add onions and garlic to the same skillet; cook for 2 minutes over medium low heat.
Pour in wine to de-glaze pan, allow liquid to evaporate.
Add in chopped mushroom stems, stir to cook for 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set mixture aside on a plate to cool.
In a bowl, combine cream cheese and egg yolk. Stir together with Parmesan cheese.
Add cooled sausage and cooled mushroom stems. Stir mixture together and refrigerate for a short time to firm up.
Smear mixture into the cavity of each mushroom, creating a sizable mound over the top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
Allow to cool at least ten minutes before serving; the stuffed mushrooms taste better when not piping hot.
Individual puff pastry shells filled with Brie cheese and berries lightly tossed in a honey-balsamic glaze make an impression that belies the simplicity of their preparation. A mouthful of red, white, and blue has never tasted so good.
Total Time: 25 mins Prep Time: 15 mins Bake Time: 8 mins Yield: 15 bites
15 phyllo cups
1 Brie cheese round (small)
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup raspberries
1/4 cup blueberries
Preheat oven and bake phyllo cups according to package directions. Allow to cool before using.
Cut cheese into cubes, removing outer rind.
Warm honey and vinegar in a pan until approximately 100 degrees F.
Remove mixture from heat and fold in the berries.
Add cheese cubes to the cooled pastry cups, then place glazed berries on the top.
For a truly spectacular finish, try out this lovely berry trifle with or without the cake sparklers (but we highly recommend!). No one will even notice the full serving of fruit all wrapped up in whipped cream and mascarpone perched atop dainty ladyfingers.
We have included directions for a free-standing trifle, but it is equally as scrumptious in an attractive trifle bowl.
Total Time: 6 hours, 25 mins Prep Time: 20 mins Cook Time: 5 mins Chill Time: 6 hours - overnight Yield: 8 servings
5 cups strawberries, quartered
1/4 cup cornstarch + water
2/3 cup granulated sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
10 ounces mascarpone cheese
1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
24 ladyfingers, broken into chunks
In a medium pan, mash 2 cups of strawberries (fresh or thawed) with a potato masher until chunky.
Add granulated sugar, lemon juice, salt, and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract and bring to a low simmer over medium heat.
In a separate cup or bowl, add just enough cold water to the cornstarch to form a cloudy liquid, stir all of the lumps out of it. Then, stirring constantly, add the cornstarch liquid to the simmering strawberry mixture.
Allow mixture to cook for 3-5 minutes until thickened, then remove from heat and refrigerate for 3 hours.
After the mixture has cooled, stir in the 3 cups of fresh strawberries and mix until well coated.
In a large mixing bowl, blend together mascarpone and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Add whipping cream and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, then beat for about 4 minutes until soft peaks form.
Line the inside of an 8-inch springform pan with parchment cut to rise 1 inch above the side.
Spread half of the ladyfinger pieces along the bottom; then add half of the strawberry filling in another layer; top with half of the whipped mixture, tapping as you go to remove air bubbles. Repeat with remaining ingredients, and place fresh blueberries on top.
Refrigerate assembled trifle for 3 hours, or up to 3 days if tightly covered with plastic.
To serve, unmold the trifle and peel away parchment, topping with cake sparklers for a dazzling effect.
NOTE: The strawberry glaze can be made up to 3 days in advance of putting together the other ingredients. Be sure not to cut the fresh strawberries until just before assembly so they don’t mold!
Total Time: 4-6 hours, 30 mins Prep Time: 30 mins, Soak beans the night before Cook Time: 4-6 hours Yield: 8-10 servings
2 cups navy beans
1/2 pound bacon
1 onion, finely diced
3 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
Soak beans overnight in cold water. Simmer the beans in the same water until tender, approximately 1 to 2 hours. Drain and reserve the liquid.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Arrange the beans in a 2 quart bean pot or casserole dish by placing a portion of the beans in the bottom of dish, and layering them with bacon and onion.
In a saucepan, combine molasses, salt, pepper, dry mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and pour over beans. Pour in reserved bean water to cover the beans. Cover the dish with a lid or aluminum foil.
Bake for 3 to 4 hours in oven, until beans are tender. Remove the lid about halfway through cooking, and add more liquid if necessary to prevent the beans from getting too dry.
A warm slice of spiced apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to top off a good meal will lend a distinctly American flavor to any holiday gathering. While making your own pie crust is always a treat (make it up to a week ahead and freeze it until the day of the party), this pie will taste great even with the pre-made variety.
Total Time: 2 hours, 10 mins Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 mins Cook Time: 55 mins Yield: 8-10 servings
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1/2 cup finely ground blanched almonds or almond flour (can substitute 1/2 cup flour if you don't have almonds)
16 Tbsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, chilled in freezer for at least 15 minutes
1 teaspoon salt
1 heaping teaspoon brown sugar
3 to 6 Tbsp water, very cold
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 pounds of 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices of peeled and cored good cooking apples such as Granny Smith, Pippin, Golden Delicious
1 1/2 tablespoons brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large-egg yolk
1 Tbsp cream
In a food processor, combine flour, almonds, salt and brown sugar, pulse to mix.
Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter.
Add water 1 Tablespoon at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready, if not, add a little more water and pulse again.
Remove dough from machine and place on a clean surface.
Carefully shape into 2 discs. Do not over-knead the dough! You should still be able to see little bits of butter in the dough. These bits of butter are what will allow the result crust to be flaky.
Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 375°F.
Combine sugar, flour and spices in large bowl. Use your hands and mix in the apples so they are well coated, then add brandy and vanilla extract.
Remove one crust disc from the refrigerator.
Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes.
Sprinkle some flour on top of the disc. Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12 inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, use a metal spatula to check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. Add a few sprinkles of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking.
Gently fold in half. Place on to a 9-inch pie plate, lining up the fold with the center of the pan.
Gently unfold and press down to line the pie dish with the dough.
Spoon in apple filling, mounding slightly in center. Roll out second disc of dough, as before.
Gently turn over onto the top of the apples in the pie.
Pinch top and bottom of dough rounds firmly together.
Trim excess dough with kitchen shears, leaving a 3/4 inch overhang.
Fold dough under itself so that the edge of the fold is flush with the edge of the pan.
Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with a fork.
Stir yolk and cream in small bowl to blend.
Brush over top of pie.
Cut slits in top crust to allow steam to escape.
Bake pie until crust begins to turn golden, about 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F.
Tent the rims with aluminum foil or a pie protector if the edges are browning too quickly.
Bake until crust is golden and juices are bubbling, anywhere from an additional 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the type of apples you are using.