Time to fire up the grill and get drinks in the cooler, the 4th of July is quickly approaching! I learned from an early age that making a menu for a party a few days out is a must (emails from my mom will go out to my family a week or two before Thanksgiving to make sure the menu covers everything!), and the 4th is no exception!

These are some of our favorite summertime eats and some new recipes that we are excited to try on our menu this year for Independence Day!

Tasty Trials

Feel free to leave out the wine for a fun, fruity, bubbly drink!

Photo Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling Lydia Pursell

We like to use whole chicken legs instead of thighs and smoke them for a few hours but the grilled thighs are still a crowd pleaser. The recipe for the BBQ sauce can be a bit heavy so we make it a little lighter by replacing most of the mayonnaise with nonfat greek yogurt.

Photo: Ralph ANderson; Styling: Buffy Hargett

When I think of southern food fried okra always jumps to the top of the list! Since the grill will be on why not throw some cut up okra and tomatoes on for a much easier taste of the south.


This Broccoli Slaw is pretty spot on to what we make in our house. When I make it with the smoked chicken I will steal some of the rub to add to the slaw to keep the flavors together.


Martha Stewart has a pretty good handle on the way I like to do corn on the cob but instead of doing the butter after its cooked I like to put it on before the grill and then cover the ears back up with the husks. Sometimes we like to add some spice in with the butter but a good fresh ear of corn wont need much!

Photo By Maren Caruso

Something refreshing we will try this year! The best part is that it can double as two dishes and a game; save some watermelon on the rhine for little ones and have a seed spitting contest! There is a great song about watermelon seeds that my dad would sing to us as kids, but I will spare yall!


Yes, some people may be perfectly happy with a plate of Twizzlers (I’m not naming names here!) but if you saw my post about Marsala you know that I need something more than this!

Yummy Mummy Kitchen

A simple, refreshing, simple…did I say simple yet…gorgeous summer dessert!

A tasty, easy, make-ahead treat for all ages to enjoy on a hot July day!


*Have a happy and safe 4th of July from all of us at UTCF*fireworks-812881_1280