July 4th Party On a Budget
One of the best things about feeding a 4th of July crowd is that your buffet can be perfectly patriotic without busting your budget. Enjoy Independence Day by sharing festive food and creative decor with family, friends, and neighbors. Dream up the best of American foods in red, white, and blue using lots of strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries — plus foods cut in patriotic shapes that make your party table as bright as the evening's fireworks. Here's how you can create a big bang at your 4th of July party without spending big bucks.
Indulge in Patriotic Colors
- Is a super-hot July 4th in the forecast? Serve up healthy Patriotic Popsicles in red, white, and blue. All you need for this flavorful treat is yogurt, strawberries, and blueberries plus popsicle molds to make a dozen pops. Get the full instructions here.
- Put some pep in everyone's step with red, white, and blue Patriotic Punch made with cranberry juice, lemon-lime soda, and blue sports drink. Find out how here.
- Serve up ice cream cones that won't melt by using flat-bottomed cones in red, white, and blue. Insert cupcakes with white icing sprinkled with red and blue sugars into the cones.
- Super simple parfaits in red, white, and blue take the celebration up a notch. Use elegant acrylic drinkware and layer on vanilla yogurt, strawberries, raspberries, granola, and blueberries and top with more yogurt.
- Looking for something a little blue besides blueberries? Try blue gelatin. Spoon it into clear glasses to set and top it with whipped cream and red berries.
- Dip chocolate sandwich cookies into melted white chocolate and add strawberry popping candy and fun sprinkles on the white icing. The little pop from the candy makes it really feel like it's 4th of July.
Design With the Flag in Mind
- Create our Red, White, and Blue Fruit Salad flag in a tray using blueberries, bananas, and strawberries. It's probably the easiest flag you can stitch together!
- Bake a pan of brownies and create a flag design on it with piped icing and red, white, and blue sugar decorations. Or, spread a thin coating of white icing on top to hold alternating stripes of strawberries and sugar-coated bananas. Use blueberries for the star area in the corner.
Break Out Your Cookie Cutters
- Make large and small star-shaped and heart-shaped sugar cookies decorated like the flag or just adorned with anything red, white, and blue. You might even find a cookie cutter shaped like a waving flag.
- Grab the biggest watermelon you can find, slice it up, and use your star cookie cutter to create a galaxy of fruit. Do the same with pineapple, cantaloupe, apples, and even oranges or other firm, fleshy fruits that hold up to the cookie cutter. Place the stars on plates or create fruit kabobs. Or, mix up a bowl of watermelon stars, blueberries, and feta cheese for a classic fruit salad that has a tangy twist.
- If you have kids galore at your party, set up a cookie decorating table for them with Independence Day-themed edible decorations.
Go for American Classics
- Set up a hot dog bar, complete with chili, cheese, relish, peppers, and any other toppings that'll get the party going. Head here for helpful ideas on how to get it ready.
- Keep it simple with fireworks hotdogs. Slide hot dogs onto bamboo skewers. Cut crescent roll or breadstick dough into strips and wrap one strip evenly around each dog. Grill or bake the dogs at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes until the dough is golden brown. Top the skewer with a star-shaped piece of firm cheese.
- All-American burgers get a patriotic touch when you insert inexpensive flag- or star-topped toothpicks in the buns.
- As American as apple pie, s'mores make for a classic dessert to delight the kids at your bash. There's no need to worry about colors here — just make sure to have lots of graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate bars, and skewers on hand for the gooey goodness.
Create Dazzling DIY Decor
- Gather every red, white, and blue bowl, plate, glass, vase, and cup in your home for displaying food on your buffet.
- Grab your strings of white lights from the holidays and tie scraps and strips of red, white, and blue fabric on the wires to create a one-of-a-kind garland.
- Create a temporary star-studded lawn with a large cardboard star stencil template and red, white, and blue spray paints. Don't saturate your grass with spray paint; just give it a light dusting and your lawn will be fine. The stars will fade after one mowing.
- Jazz up outdoor planters by painting them white and adding red and blue stripes. You can use washable chalk paint if you're not keen on making these paint jobs permanent.
- For all gardeners out there, why not grow a flag garden? Plant alternating rows of red and white annuals like impatiens, and then add a square of your favorite blue or deep purple flowers at the top left corner of the garden flag.