4th of July Recipes for a Crowd

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The countdown is on until Fourth of July entertaining begins, but before the party guests arrive, choose easy-to-prepare dishes that will please the crowd. Make-ahead meals will save time and minimize day-of kitchen chaos. Call up friends, family and neighbors worry-free this year by adding these simple, crowd-wowing dishes to your menu. Inspired by summertime and filled with festive red, white and blue colors, these Fourth of July eats will be the stars of the day.

While the party guests are rolling in, serve Red and White Double Dippers with Blue Corn Chips to tide over their hunger. The Creamy Garlic Lime Dip balances the spice in the Red Pepper Salsa. Don't forget a big pitcher of this Perfect Lemonade. Ready in just 15 minutes and garnished with fresh lemon slices, the lemonade is a crowd-friendly refresher. Make a separate pitcher for adults and spike it.

Nothing says summer holiday better than pasta salad. This Pasta Caprese recipe tosses noodles with ripe heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and aromatic basil­. Topped with a zesty lemon vinaigrette, this salad is a go-to dish for summer. For a lighter version of a classic, try Food Network Magazine's Poppy-Seed Potato Salad as a mayo-free side. Make a big batch and serve with grill master Bobby Flay's Hamburgers with Double Cheddar Cheese, Grilled Vidalia Onion and Horseradish Mustard. These burgers with melted cheese, sweet onions and spicy horseradish are sure to impress the crowd.

Sunny Anderson uses premade angel food cake to keep her Patriotic Berry Trifle recipe for Food Network Magazine simple (pictured above). Cut the cake into cubes and layer it with fresh, colorful berries and a homemade cream cheese whipped cream. Make this trifle a day ahead of time, refrigerate it and present the crowd-wowing dessert for company to enjoy. Trisha's Easy Peach Cobbler is an all-American comfort dessert. Take advantage of peaches while they are in season or use canned peaches in a pinch.

Celebrate Independence Day with more summery cookout classics and get your flags ready for the red, white and blue festivities. Whether you are feeding a crowd or entertaining the family, these Fourth of July favorites from Food Network chefs will make the holiday a breeze.

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