Independence Day Party Planning and Menu Ideas
"We hold these truths to be self-evident" are eight of the most important words we can honor with a celebration. July 4 is in part for remembering new beginnings and cutting ties with England in 1776.
The following ideas make an excellent blueprint for your next Independence Day party and can be adapted to almost any other celebration you host. One of the most important steps to take is to backwards plan. Your goal is to celebrate and make it possible for your guests to enjoy it too, while not exhausting yourself. Keep that in mind and your party will be doable.
1. Set a date and time of course.
2. Invite guests: family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, or a mix.
3. Look at your finances and stay within budget. A buffet may be your best bet.
4. Remember to have music: This could simply be songs you select to play, radio, web or TV station music, or live performances depending on the type of party.
5. Select one day to bring out any decorations for cleaning and dusting or to purchase any items: flags, party poppers, theme napkins, balloons, stars on strings (hung up from ceiling using non-stick hanging strips), punched out paper stars, punched out Happy Birthday messages, etc.
6. Select a day to take out your serving platters, plates, glasses, tableware, etc. to wash, clean, and polish and determine anything that you may need to purchase.
7. Select a day to go food and drink shopping. Often guests will offer to bring certain drinks. If you can have a guest bring clear ice for drinks, that is great.
8. Make most of the food one to two days before the party. Purchasing a few gourmet items, such as cookies, cheeses, and specialty meats ahead of time will save you time and energy to prepare other dishes. The day of the party you can make items such as salads and assemble your dishes. Keep your food items to a minimal variety as to ensure they are quality dishes. It is far better to spend money you would have spent on ten bags of potato chips on a quality appetizer or main dish.
9. The day before your party is a good day to set the table, iron tablecloths, set out any platters, and label each platter to organize your food.
10. Games, crafts for kids, and a pre-dinner outing to the beach are good activities to make part of your party.
Buffet table set.
A printed menu framed on the wall.
(Create this for your party after you have cooked your food,
in case of any last minute changes.)
- Genoa Salami and Kalamata Greek Olives
(Slice the salami the day before.)
- Roasted Vegetables with Dip
(Preheat oven to 425° Fahrenheit or 218.3° Celsius. Trim stems off 2 pounds broccoli and 1 pound cauliflower. Cut flowerets into bite size pieces. Mix broccoli and cauliflower with 2 cups sweet corn. In a large bowl, in three batches, toss vegetable mixture with 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, and 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika powder. Spread on parchment lined baking sheets. Cook for about 15 minutes in oven. Dip: Mix together 1 cup organic yellow mustard, 3 Tablespoons organic honey, 2 teaspoons chili pepper, 1 pinch black pepper, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 3 Tablespoons lemon juice, 1 pinch lemon zest, 1 Tablespoon very finely chopped red onion, 1 Tablespoon very finely chopped shallot.)
- Endive Wrapped Sausage Hot Dogs
with dried cherries, apple matchsticks,
goat cheese, toasted walnuts, and
(Wash and dry endive lettuce leaves--a mix of green and red Belgian the day of the party. Grill soy chorizo style sausages according to package directions--you can do this the day before and then warm them up during the party. Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit or 190.5° Celsius. Crush walnuts into smaller pieces. Put walnuts on parchment lined baking sheet. Toast walnuts until they begin to brown--5 to 10 minutes. This can be done the day before as well. Michigan Dressing: 1/2 cup Honey Greek Yogurt, 1/3 cup maple syrup, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper. Place in a Mason jar, close lid, and shake. You may make the dressing ahead of time and remember to keep this dressing cold on the table as it has milk product. Slice 1 apple per 8 sausages into matchstick size pieces. Immediately place the apple matchsticks into a bag with lemon juice. This will prevent browning. Slice the apple prior to the party. Include a jar of ketchup as well on the table for guests. I mixed 1 cup organic ketchup with 1 Tablespoon chili pepper. Guests can wrap their own sausages with endive leaves and top with their choices of dried cherries, apply matchsticks, goat cheese, toasted walnuts, Michigan dressing, and ketchup.)
- Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
topped with baby swiss cheese and chives
(Prior to the party cook 6 ounces of meatless soy chorizo per mushroom following the package directions. Preheat oven to 425° Fahrenheit or 218.3° Celsius. Stuff the mushrooms with the cooked soy chorizo and bake portobello mushrooms on a parchment lined baking sheet for 25 minutes. Carefully remove mushrooms with oven mitts. Add a slice of baby swiss cheese to the top of each stuffed mushroom. Bake for about 5 minutes to melt the cheese. Wash and snip chives. Carefully remove mushrooms from the oven and top with a few snips of chive.)
- Marinated Garbanzo Beans
(Prior to the party soak and cook garbanzo beans according to package directions. This usually requires soaking over night. Drain water and allow garbanzo beans to cool after cooking. Add 1/4 cup olive oil per 15 ounces of garbanzo beans. 1 clove of diced garlic per 15 ounces of garbanzo beans. 1 Tablespoon salt per 15 ounces of garbanzo beans. 1/2 teaspoon chili powder per 15 ounces garbanzo beans. Mix and serve. *Note: If you use canned garbanzo beans then you will need to alter this recipe.)
(Make the orange mint infused water the morning of your party and place in refrigerator to cool.)
Gourmet treats by Jesse Bluma at PointeViven
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