Time is something most of us just don’t have enough of but I still enjoy having friends over for small dinner gatherings. It doesn’t mean I have to spend all weekend in the kitchen. Planning it out and making things ahead is part of the secret to enjoying your company as well as them enjoying your dinner.
My gatherings are informal and down home. The presentation may not be fancy but the food and hospitality come from the heart.
Here’s a few easy portions to serve for your Fourth of July party!
Appetizers and drinks were first on the list. I served a classic yet simple favorite.
Bacon Wrapped Scallops
1-2# sea or bay scallops (depending on the amount of people)
1-2 # of nitrate/nitrite free bacon, strips cut into thirds for the bay, halves for the larger sea
Wrap the bacon around each scallop or use 2 if they are the smaller ones and secure with toothpick.
I prepare these in advance and refrigerate until 1 hour before broiling.
Place on a broiler pan and broil until bacon is crisp, turn once and broil till bacon on that side is crisp. After placing them on a serving platter I turned my back to get the camera and they disappeared before I could take a photo of the finished product.
They were served with. . .
Jageritas (my husband’s favorite drink)
3 oz quality gold tequila
3 oz Stirrings margarita mix
1 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
1 oz Cointreau
1 oz soda or water
Blended with ice and served w/ slice of orange and lime
And I bought the pretty margarita glasses why. . .
Peaches & Pecan Salad
Red butter lettuce, torn
Red onion, thinly sliced
Fresh organic peaches cut into wedges
In a small bowl combine ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice, 1 tsb fresh lemon juice; whisk in 1 tbs stone ground mustard ¼ tsp sea salt and 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Slowly add in ¼ cup olive oil whisking constantly until well blended.
Both the dressing and the salad can be made in advance
Cornish Hens a l’Orange with Fresh Herbs
These little birds are delightful in the oven and on the grill. I always enjoy the smoky flavor form the grill. Besides, tending the grill keeps hubby from having too many Jageritas
1 rock Cornish game hen per person
Fresh oranges squeezed, reserving shell (one for every 2 hens)
Fresh lemons squeezed, reserving shell (1 for every 3 hens)
Olive oil for marinating (use same amount as citrus juices)
Fresh thyme (approx 1/2 tsp per hen + 1 sprig)
Fresh oregano (1 tsp per hen)
Freshly ground black ppper
Mix the olive oil, orange and lemon juices and herbs in a small bowl and add sea salt and pepper to taste. Place ½ each lemon and orange shell along with a fresh thyme sprig inside the cavity of each hen. With twine, tie the legs together. Place in a large Ziploc bag and pour in the marinade. Place in the refrigerator and marinate overnight or 6 to 8 hours ahead. Remove at least 1 hour prior to cooking.
Place breast side up on the grill using indirect medium heat. Grill for 40 min to one hour until hens are nicely browned and juices run clear.
You may also cook in the over at 350 for about one hour to one hour and 15 min.
Twice Baked Potatoes
These are a little time consuming but done in advance they are simple to make and a real crowd pleaser
1 large russet baking potato per person
Raw gf butter
Raw cheddar cheese, shredded
Sour cream (optional)
Generally speaking amounts are to suit tastes. I like about 1 tbs of butter per potato and about ¼ cup of cheese. If using sour cream about ½ – 1 tbs per potato
Bake the russets at 400 degrees for about 1 hour and 15 min+ or until done (tender to the touch when gently squeezed)
Let cool until you can handle. Slice off the top of each potato and scoop out the flesh. Add gf raw butter, sour cream is using, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mash with a hand held masher and add enough raw milk to get to a slightly thicker than mashed potatoes consistency. Stir in cheddar cheese. Refill the shells taking care not to break them. Place a dollop of butter in the center, sprinkle on a little extra shredded cheddar and sprinkle with paprika.
These can be made ahead to this point and refrigerated until 1 hour before finishing.
If you made them ahead, take out of refrigerator at least one hour before finishing. Place in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and bubbly.
Dessert? Of course.
Fresh Strawberries w/ Brie and Honeycomb
Ever had honeycomb? Well, you’ll never quite look at honey the same. There’s something very special about raw honey still in the comb. Plus it’s packed with extra nutrients that are lost when the honey is taken out of the comb and exposed to air. Who knew? How sweet it is. . .
John Welbourn is CEO of Power Athlete and Fuse Move. He is also creator of the online training phenomena, Johnnie WOD. He is a 9 year veteran of the NFL. John was drafted with the 97th pick in 1999 NFL Draft and went on to be a starter for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999-2003, appearing in 3 NFC Championship games, and for starter for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2004-2007. In 2008, he played with the New England Patriots until an injury ended his season early with him retiring in 2009. Over the course of his career, John has started over 100 games and has 10 play-off appearances. He was a four year lettermen while playing football at the University of California at Berkeley. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in Rhetoric in 1998. John has worked with the MLB, NFL, NHL, Olympic athletes and Military. He travels the world lecturing on performance and nutrition for Power Athlete. You can catch up with John as his personal blog on training, food and life, Talk To Me Johnnie and at Power Athlete.
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