Just-right July 4th Menu

sparklers3.gifWith the 4th of July coming up soon, the mamas thought it might be nice for someone else to come up with the menu. Jen Lewis of Fayetteville, mom to Ella and Ian, agreed to do the honors! Jen is a fabulous entertainer and cook. We’re breaking up the menu ideas into two parts. Appetizer and sides today and entree/dessert on Tuesday. See Jen’s personal notes along with each recipe.

Bruschetta Romano, appetizer (Serves 12)

Tomatoes are a must in the summer and especially for the 4th of July. This Bruschetta can be made early in the day and will be ready to go when your guests arrive. I love the Farmer’s Market in Fayetteville and you will be able to find most of the vegetables for your dish there.


2 pounds plum tomatoes, chopped
1 small red onion
1 cup packed chopped fresh basil
4 gloves of garlic
11/4 T salt
1T white pepper
1t oregano
1 1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil
2 loaves of French bread/sliced
1/2 C of grated Romano cheese

Combine the tomatoes, onion, basil, garlic, salt, white pepper, oregano and olive oil in a large bowl. Chill, covered in the refrigerator for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.

Let the bruschetta topping stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

Place bread slices on baking sheets.

Bake at 250 degrees for 5 to 10 minutes or until light brown. Sprinkle with cheese over warn toast. Put Bruschetta topping in a serving bowl and place bread pieces around the bowl. Use extra basil as garnish for the Bruschetta topping.

Roasted Potato Salad with Bell Peppers, Roasted Corn & Tomatoes (Serves 6)

I love this potato salad recipe! I got it out of Fine Cooking magazine two years ago and it has been one of my summer staple salads. It can go with any kind of meat and I love that it can be mostly made ahead of time. Using fresh roasted corn on the cob is a must to bring out the flavor in the corn. Please read through both recipes. One is for making the roasted potatoes and then everything gets mixed together.


2 lb. small red-skinned potatoes or small Yukon Gold potatoes, washed and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

How to make: Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450ºF. Spread the potatoes on a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with 1 tsp. kosher salt and several grinds of pepper, and roll them around to evenly coat them with the oil. Spread the potatoes in a single layer, preferably with a cut side down. Roast them until they’re tender when pierced with a fork, 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the potatoes. The potatoes should be browned on the sides touching the pan.

Loosen the potatoes from the pan with a thin spatula and transfer them to a large serving bowl to be tossed with the salad ingredients and dressing. They can be tossed while still warm or at room temperature.


1 ear fresh corn, in the husk
1/4 cup plus 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups red, yellow, or orange cherry tomatoes (or a combination), halved
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 small red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 small cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 Tbs. red-wine vinegar

(Tip: roast the corn while you roast the potatoes.)

How to make: Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F. Remove the husk and put the corn on a small baking sheet. Drizzle 1 tsp. of the oil onto the corn and rub it over all the kernels. Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Roast, turning the cob occasionally, until the corn kernels are light brown in a few spots, about 20 minutes. Let the corn cool. Cut the kernels from the cob. Mix together only if you are ready to eat. You can make the potatoes, corn and cut all ingredients, but wait until the last minutes before putting everything together.

Add the corn, tomatoes, red, green, and yellow peppers, onion, basil, and garlic to the potatoes. Toss gently. Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup oil and the vinegar together and add to the salad. Toss again. Season with kosher salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Arugula Blueberry Salad with Orange Dressing

This salad is truly a seasonal favorite and I think it is perfect for the 4th of July. You have your red, white and blue and it is absolutely delicious. I really love Arugula and use it as much as I can when it is in season. You should be able to find it at the Farmer’s Market, Ozark Natural Foods or Marvin’s (IGA).

Serves 6
1 head Boston Lettuce
2 bunches of Arugula
2 Avocados-cubed
4 plum tomatoes
1 pint blueberries
1 can heart of palm cut in rounds


1/2 c of Fresh OJ
2 T of lime Juice
1/2 t orange zest
1/2 t sugar
1/4 t salt
1/3 c olive oil

Mix the salad stuff together and pour dressing over right before serving. I add Sea Salt and pepper as well.
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