Woohoo—it’s the 4th of July! Happy Birthday America! Of course you’ll want to maximize every minute of work freedom you have today, so if you’re anything like me, you’ll be hitting up a 4th of July party later this afternoon. What’s better than spending a free day with friends and family outside in the sun on a day off? Not much!
Since you probably don't want to arrive empty-handed, I’ve created three appetizers you can pull together this morning to bring to your party this afternoon. To make things even easier, I’ve made sure each recipe has five ingredients or less, so you can zip in and out of the grocery store in no time at all. (I’m assuming you all have salt, pepper, flour, and olive oil at home, but other than that, everything you need is listed below.)
And, since I’m guessing you’ll need to feed a crowd, all of these recipes should serve at least 20 people.
Red, White, & Blue Pizza Dip
This is a speedy version of a white pizza dip I saw on How Sweet It Is that looked so delish.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat a teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat, then add the chopped onion. Saute for 5 minutes or so, until the onion starts to brown, then add the cherry tomatoes, and cook for 3 minutes longer. Add 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper, give it a good stir, then remove from heat and let cool slightly.
In a separate bowl mix together the cream cheese and Italian cheese blend (reserving one handful for sprinkling on top later). Once the tomato mixture has cooled, add this to the cheese mixture, then mix so everything is incorporated.
Grab an ovenproof dish and add the mixture. Sprinkle the remaining handful of cheese over the top, then pop it in the oven for 25 minutes so the cheese is bubbling and starting to brown. I like to broil mine at the end for 3-4 minutes so the center is nicely browned.
Serve immediately with blue corn tortilla chips.
Note: If you’re bringing this to a party, you can make the dip ahead of time, and just heat it up once you arrive at your friend’s house. It also can be made a day ahead and stored in the fridge until you’re ready for dipping!
All-American Brie & Apple “Pie” Bites
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and defrost the puff pastry on the counter top. Once it is pliable, dust a smooth surface with flour, and unfold the puff pastry. Cut each puff pastry into 12 rectangles.
Spread a little bit of jam on each rectangle, followed by a slice of apple (I removed the skin) and a wedge of cheese. Top the apple with a rectangle of puff pastry (jam side down), and use a fork to crimp the edges so the apple and brie are sealed inside. Make sure to really crimp the puff pastry so the brie stays sealed.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
Note: If you want to make these ahead of time, go for it! They’ll just need to be reheated in a 350 degree oven for approximately 10 minutes before serving.
Stars & Stripes Mini Sliders
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Season the beef with 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper, then mix so the seasonings are evenly distributed.
Now, caramelize the onions. Chop the onion into small pieces, then sauté in some olive oil on a medium-low heat. Keep stirring so the onions don’t burn. Once they’ve turned a golden color, you can remove them from the heat. Spread them out evenly on the bottom of a 13x9" ovenproof pan.
Spread the beef over the onions in an even layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven, and cover the beef mixture with American cheese slices. Bake for 5 more minutes until the cheese has melted, then remove from the oven. Slice into 1 1/2 inch square burgers (4 rows by 6 columns), then immediately place each slider into a bun. Top with a pickle and serve immediately.
Note: If you’re brining this to a party and want to assemble the sliders when you get there, just cook the beef ahead of time for 15 minutes instead of 20, and then reheat in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes before adding the cheese. Also, I had a small star shaped cookie cutter, so I bought sliced pickles and cut stars from them while the beef was cooking—totally unnecessary, but oh so cute!
Happy 4th everyone!
Photos courtesy of Niki Lowry.
Niki comes to us from the financial world, but she’s an online girl at heart. After graduating from Cal, she spent a couple of years traveling and working (Ireland – NY – OC) before finally making it back to San Francisco to pursue a career in business and marketing. An avid fan of handwritten thank you notes, Niki also loves fresh flowers for any occasion, the sound of being underwater, and she firmly believes ketchup bottles do not belong on the breakfast table. When she’s not Musing, you can find her on her blog, wandering around the Ferry Building in San Francisco, or with her nose in a ridiculously addicting YA book.More from this Author