20 Easy, Patriotic Foods to Bring to a Fourth of July Party

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family holding American flag while looking at mother
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CELEBRATE AMERICA

America's birthday, Independence Day, July Fourth -- whatever you call it, this is a day for outdoor fun, fireworks, and low-key cookouts based on recipes that are cheap and easy to prepare. With the summer harvest just coming in, ripe and ready fruits such as blueberries, strawberries, watermelon, and raspberries and vegetables such as corn, peppers, and tomatoes sell for budget prices at the farmers market and deserve starring roles in Fourth of July meals. Build them into a patriotic theme with an occasional boost from food coloring or red and blue sprinkles. And if you’re hosting, these quick, easy side dishes for summer parties might come in handy, too.

patriotic cookies
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AMERICAN FLAG COOKIES

Sugar cookies require just a few pantry staples and are easy to mix up (the web is larded with recipes). Create white icing by mixing powdered sugar with cream, milk, or water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until just combined and still thick. Divide into three parts and add a drop or two of food coloring to make blue and red frostings. Use brushes and toothpicks to decorate the cookies to resemble flags with stars and stripes.
watermelon served in attractive shapes as a kid dessert
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PATRIOTIC FRUIT SALAD

Cut slices of watermelon and pineapple into star shapes with cookie cutters and mix with blueberries. Buy the whole fruits and cut them yourself to save money. In general, pre-cut fruit costs up to twice as much as the straight-from-nature version.
USA flag made entirely of fresh fruit and skewers on a white plate
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FLAG FRUIT PLATE

Arrange strawberry and banana chunks into alternating rows on a platter to represent the stripes in the flag and lay out blueberries in a square in the corner to represent the stars. For a Fourth of July fruit-and-cheese plate, substitute Swiss or mozzarella cheese chunks for the bananas.
glasses of champagne with raspberries
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A BUBBLY TOAST

Toast America's birthday in style with a glass of bubbly. Chandon has limited special releases for summer that come in a festive bottle. Score a mini bottle for less than $10 to add a tasty and sophisticated touch to a celebration.
Homemade Bomb Pops
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HOMEMADE BOMB POPS

These nostalgic frozen Fourth of July treats any generation can enjoy. The key to getting the crisply defined layers when you're not buying them ready-made off an ice cream truck: Freeze them between added colored flavoring. 

Recipe:Cooking With Janica

burgers and potato chips with American flags patriotic theme
Photo credit: rez-art/istockphoto

RED, WHITE, AND BLUE BURGERS

This is more of a play on words than a visual treat, and especially good for burger lovers who want an extra dose of blue cheese. This burger packs big flavor in true American style, and is a delicious twist on a cookout classic staple. Another idea: Use blue food coloring on white cheese such as queso fresco or even cream cheese

Recipe:Genius Kitchen

blue corn chips and dip
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FLAG-COLORED CHIPS & DIP

Thanks to blue corn chips, it's super easy to arrange a chip and dip platter in the color scheme of a flag. Use red veggies such as tomatoes or bell peppers as stripes on the base of a creamy white dip made from beans, garlic, and sour cream or cream cheese.   

Recipe:The Creative Bite

colorful popcorn
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RED, WHITE, AND BLUE POPCORN

Whole-kernel popping corn costs about 12 cents an ounce and yields about 4 cups popped. Add the cost of oil and food coloring, and the bottom line comes to less than 10 cents a popped cup. It's versatile, too. To make colored popcorn, add food coloring to the oil before the kernels. Pop in three batches — one without food coloring, one with red, and one with blue. Season and combine.
vegetable skewers
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GRILLED VEGGIE SKEWERS

Skewer tomatoes, onion, button mushrooms, and green pepper as a vegetarian contribution to a holiday cookout. Each skewer uses a small amount of vegetables that hits close to $1.

cauliflower, red bell pepper, and blue potato chips
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FLAG CRUDITÉ

Take advantage of low-cost cauliflower for this themed vegetable platter. Cut the cauliflower and one red bell pepper into strips and arrange as stripes on a square or rectangular platter. In the top left corner, arrange blue potato chips to represent the stars. Set a bowl of dip nearby.
prepared beef hot dogs with sides and chips
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HOT DOGS

There's no better time to indulge in this American classic than the Fourth of July. Even the best hot dogs are among the cheapest snacks or foundations for a summer meal, costing less than $2 a dog, fixin's included.

patriotic drink cocktail with strawberry, blueberry, and apple
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RED, WHITE, AND BLUE SANGRIA

This light wine punch is a refreshing drink all summer long, and the festive colors make it a beverage of choice for America's birthday bash. Add a handful of blueberries and sliced strawberries to a bottle of white wine, along with 3 ounces of orange liqueur and a bottle of club soda. Serve over ice.
strawberry and blueberry parfait dessert
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RED, WHITE, AND BLUE PARFAITS

This airy dessert uses big-volume whipped cream to create large portions from a small amount of ingredients. Set out six jars or glasses and layer in red berries, home-whipped cream, and blueberries. Repeat twice and top with another dollop of whipped cream.
Patriotic Swirl Fudge
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PATRIOTIC SWIRL FUDGE

Thick, rich, and sweet, fudge is a treat usually associated with Americana, so putting a red, white, and blue swirl in it just feels right. It's surprisingly simple to achieve a stunning final product. 

Recipe:Growing Up Gabel

patriotic cupcakes with sprinkles and American flag
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RED, WHITE, AND BLUE CUPCAKES

Whip up a batch of a favorite basic cupcake recipe and let cool completely. Top with white icing and decorate with red and blue sprinkles or red and blue berries.
Indoor S'mores
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S'MORES

S'mores are more than an American treat, they are a vital rite of summer. There are plenty of ways to put a twist on the classic, but the traditional recipe is always a hit. Stock up on ingredients, because everyone will want seconds. 

Recipe:Food Network

Potato Salad
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POTATO SALAD

An all-American classic, potato salad is a welcome addition at any summer party. This traditional recipe is spot on, including a trick to pack tons of flavor into the potato chunks by drizzling with vinegar while they are still hot. And if you can find them at the market, try mixing in red and blue potatoes with the white for a colorful twist.

Recipe:Martha Stewart

salad with arugula, cherries and goat cheese
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RED, WHITE, AND BLUE SALAD

Create a sophisticated yet patriotic salad by combining dried cranberries, goat cheese, and blueberries with arugula. Toss with olive oil, black pepper, and wine vinegar just before serving.
boiled sweet corn cobs with butter and herbs
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CORN ON THE COB

Corn is native to the Americas, and no July Fourth celebration would be complete without corn on the cob. At about 50 cents an ear, this is one of the most nutritious and filling foods for the price.
close-up of fruit skewers
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FRUIT KEBABS

Line up halved strawberries, thick banana rounds, and two or three blueberries on wooden skewers and arrange on a platter. Simple, cheap, and quick, fruit kebabs are a no-mess way for guests to enjoy a holiday-themed dessert.

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