Food Club sandwiches work well for a picnic-themed Fourth of July party. Juice File Photo.

Club sandwiches work well for a picnic-themed Fourth of July party. Juice File Photo.

Four recipes for a tasty Fourth of July

Published on July 1st, 2013 | by Laura Billingsley

Fourth of July celebrations are often about the two Fs: food and fireworks. The holiday is heavy on picnics and grill outs, but hosting a great outdoor event does require some planning. It’s important to choose the right dishes.

“Whether you’re making fried chicken, sandwiches, a pasta salad or dessert, anything that is stable and will hold well with time and temperature is really key to pulling that event off,” said Lynn Pritchard, chef and owner at Table 128 Bistro & Bar in Clive. He also stressed the importance of having as much preparation as possible done ahead of time so you can pack the cooler and go.

Today you’re much more likely to see picnickers toting a plastic cooler than a wicker basket. “Keeping things properly chilled is really important,” said Pritchard. Adding ice or gel packs can help retain cold even longer.

For the Fourth of July, Pritchard suggests panna cotta for dessert. This traditional Italian dessert is “very simple, very light. It’s one of those dessert items that will hold well given time and temperature,” he said. Pritchard shared his recipe for yogurt panna cotta with fresh berry compote.

For more July Fourth recipes, sites like Pinterest offer links to an abundance of possibilities. Here are some options for outdoor eating:


Black Bean Salad with Corn, Red Peppers, Avocado and Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette


This fresh, zesty salad is colorful and quick to prepare.


Pan Bagnat


Pressed sandwiches travel well in a cooler or basket.


Flavored Waters


Citrus or berry flavors provide taste without the sugar of sodas.


“Berry Easy” Patriotic Brownie Trifle


Holiday colors plus brownies equals a satisfying dessert.


Recipe: Lynn Pritchard’s Yogurt Panna Cotta with Fresh Berry Compote




Milk                                                                       ½ cup

Sugar                                                                     1 cup

Orange zest and juice                                    ½ orange

Lemon zest and juice                                     ½ lemon

Vanilla bean, split and hulled                      ¼ bean

Gelatin sheets                                                   4 each

Cultured yogurt                                               ¾ cup

Heavy cream, whipped                                 1 ½ cups

Fresh berries                                                     1 pint

In a saucepan, heat the milk, sugar, citrus zest and vanilla beans, simmering until the sugar has dissolved.

Place the gelatin in enough cool water to submerge the sheets completely. Soak the gelatin until softened. Once soft, remove the sheets of gelatin and squeeze out the excess water. Add the gelatin to the hot sugar liquid and stir to melt. Allow to cool slightly, then stir in the yogurt. Strain the mixture into a clean bowl. Chill over an ice bath until it starts to thicken. Fold in the whipped cream. Pour into individual molds, cups or ramekins, or a large mold and chill for 2 hours.

To make the compote, place the fresh berries, sugar and citrus juices in a saucepan and bring just to a boil. Stir the fruit once, turn off the heat and let it stew on its own for 5 minutes. Serve cold or at room temperature, spooned on or around the panna cotta.

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About the Author

Laura is contributor to Juice Magazine.

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