A Laid-Back 4th — Easy Recipes Ready in No Time

3692 F

3692 F

Four glasses of berry lemonade made with berries, lemonade concentrate and vanilla simple syrup.

The Fourth of July is less than 24 hours away, but no need to panic about spending all day in the kitchen over last-minute dishes. These easy recipes will be ready in no time — 30 minutes or less.

Start the holiday afternoon off with simple Red, White and Blue Cocktails. Turn any red summer drink or cocktail into a firecracker by coating the glass rims with blue Pop Rocks. For a fruity, kid-friendly beverage, blend up Giada's Berry Lemonade (pictured above). In a mere five minutes, the lemonade will be ready to chill in the refrigerator until the festivities tomorrow or can be served over ice immediately.

For an easy main dish that will serve a crowd, try these Open-Faced Tomato Grilled Cheese sandwiches. Grilled baguettes are topped with ripe sliced tomatoes and melted cheese, making an elegant, no-fuss dish. Bring some New England flair to your barbecue with Aaron McCargo Jr.'s Loaded Lobster Rolls. Aaron uses fresh lobster, but you can find precooked lobster at your seafood counter or grocery store to save a little time. Whip up Gina’s Orzo Salad in just 20 minutes for a summery side dish. Red and yellow cherry tomatoes add color, fresh basil and mint lend aromatic seasoning, and crumbled feta gives a salty bite. Need something for your crowd to nibble on? Try Mama's Cornmeal Hushpuppies. Trisha Yearwood's jalapeno bites are a classic Southern appetizer fit for any summer holiday.

Dessert couldn't be simpler thanks to these two recipes. Rachael Ray's Red, White and Blue Fruit Cups are the perfect Fourth of July dessert, made in only 10 minutes. Juicy strawberries, blueberries and blackberries are topped with a generous scoop of fresh whipped cream for a light and sweet finale to the day. To save time tomorrow, make the Neelys' Frozen Lemonade Pie tonight and freeze until serving. You can use a store-bought graham cracker crust if you’re in a pinch, but the lemonade filling couldn't be easier­ — it’s just heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk and frozen lemonade concentrate.

Keep your Fourth of July holiday laid-back tomorrow with these recipes that are ready in no time. A few minutes of preparation tonight or easy recipes tomorrow will ensure celebrations run smoothly.

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