It's that time again and we are ready to celebrate America's birthday! We are going to share our top treats, drinks, and delectable bites for this Fourth of July! Which one is your favorite?
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Favorite Drink: Red, White, and Blue Sangria
- Strawberries, sliced
- Pineapple, cut into star shapes
- 2 bottles dry white wine
- 1 cup Triple Sec
- 1/2 Cup berry-flavored vodka
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup simple syrup
Combine the ingredients in a large pitcher and stir. Chill in the refrigerator for at least four hours.
Favorite appetizer: Jalapeño poppers!
4 slices whole-wheat sandwich bread
1/3 cup whipped cream cheese
1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup (packed) grated Monterey Jack Cheese (2 ounces)
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
12 medium fresh jalapeño peppers, halved lengthwise, seeded and deveined
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 large egg
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch cayenne pepper
1. Prepare the breadcrumbs: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the bread in a food processor and process until fine crumbs form, 25 to 30 seconds. Place the crumbs on a baking sheet, spreading them evenly. Bake until golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.
2. Prepare the poppers: Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. In a small bowl, stir together the cheeses and parsley. Fill each jalapeño half with 2 teaspoons of the cheese mixture.
3. On a plate, combine the flour, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of the black pepper. In a small bowl, beat together the egg and the water to combine. On another plate, combine 1 cup of the bread crumbs, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, the remaining 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, the paprika, garlic powder and cayenne pepper.
4. Dip each jalapeño half in the flour, shaking off the excess, then in the egg wash, and finally in the bread crumb mixture, shaking off the excess.
5. Place the coated jalapeños, cut-side-up, onto the prepared baking sheet and spray lightly to coat with cooking spray. Bake until golden brown and crisp and the cheese has melted, about 30 minutes.
Favorite Entree: Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken
2 cups panko crumbs
2 cups pretzel crumbs*
1/2 cup neutral tasting olive oil
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/3 cup honey (Iike clover or orange blossom)
1/4 cup bottled water
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 + 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour, plus more if needed
- Preheat the oven to 400° F. Lightly grease with oil a large, non-stick baking sheet or roasting pan. If you don't have a non-stick pan line a regular pan with parchment and lightly grease with oil.
- In a large skillet over medium heat toast the panko crumbs until lightly golden, stirring constantly. Remove from the pan and allow to cool.
- In a food processor pulse the pretzels until coarsely ground (small crumbs with some small pretzel pieces) then add them to a medium bowl and mix with the panko crumbs. Wipe the crumbs out of the food processor.
- Add the oil, mustard, honey, water and vinegar to the food processor and pulse until smooth.
- Season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the flavor to suit your own tastes by adding more mustard or honey.
- Pound the chicken breasts out to an even thickness using a mallet. Season well with salt and pepper.
Set up a dredging station:
- Pour half of the dressing into a large shallow bowl or dish, put the flour on a large plate and add half the pretzel mixture to a large, shallow bowl or dish (add the remaining half pretzel crumbs to the dish as needed).
- Working one at a time and using tongs dredge the chicken in the flour then into the dressing allowing excess to drip off then into the pretzel crumbs patting them on if needed. Place on greased baking sheet.
- Bake 16 - 25 minutes depending on their thickness/size or until cooked through (internal temperature 165 - 174 degrees F.).
- Let the chicken sit 5 minutes before serving with the remaining honey mustard dressing.
Favorite Dessert: Chocolate and Marshmallow Stuffed BBQ Bananas
- 4 ripe bananas
- 1 cup mini marshmallows
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 tin foil boat
- Preheat your grill to medium high heat.
- Slice one banana so there is a deep slit in the top of the banana. Be careful not to cut all the way through the banana.
- Using your thumb, or a spoon, separate the fruit of the banana and then stuff it with chocolate chips and marshmallows.
- Construct a tin foil boat that is just big enough to hold the banana upright.
- Place the banana into the tin foil boat and place it onto the grill. Cover your grill and let the banana grill for 4-5 minutes until the skin of the banana is dark and the chocolate is melted and the marshmallows are puffed.
- Remove the banana in the tin foil boat from the grill with a pair of tongs. Let the banana rest for 1-2 minutes and then serve.
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