Fourth of July hacks

July 2, 2016


photo via Google under the Creative Commons License

When America declared its freedom from the British Empire July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress probably did not envision this federal holiday spurring into the annual celebration it is today. Yet, people nationwide continue to  celebrate the historical event the way they know best: with friends, family, fire and food. With a few helpful hacks, TKC wants to help make this Fourth of July spectacular.

St. Louis area celebrations

Check out one or all Fourth of July weekend festivals in the St. Louis area.

Image via Google under the Creative Commons License

Entertainment for the whole family

Recipes for the Fourth

Grilled Mediterranean Chicken Vegetable Kabobs


Rosemary-Lemon Marinade

¼ cup lemon juice

3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper  

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Chicken and Vegetables

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces

1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 medium zucchini or yellow summer squash , cut into 1-inch pieces

1 medium red onion, cut into wedges

1 lb fresh asparagus spears

¼ cup crumbled feta cheese (1 oz)


In shallow glass or plastic bowl, or resealable food-storage plastic bag, mix all marinade ingredients. Add chicken, stirring to coat with marinade. Cover dish or seal bag; refrigerate, stirring occasionally, at least 30 minutes but no longer than 6 hours.

Heat coals or gas grill for direct heat. Remove chicken from marinade; reserve marinade. Thread chicken, bell pepper, zucchini and onion alternately on each of four 15-inch metal skewers, leaving about 1/4-inch space between each piece. Brush vegetables with marinade.

Cover and grill kabobs over medium heat 10 to 15 minutes, turning and brushing frequently with marinade, until chicken is no longer pink in center. Add asparagus to grill for last 5 minutes of grilling, turning occasionally, until crisp-tender. Discard any remaining marinade.

Sprinkle feta cheese over kabobs. Serve kabobs with asparagus.

Grilled Corn with Chile-Lime Spread


½ cup butter or margarine, softened

½ teaspoon grated lime peel

3 tablespoons lime juice

1 to 2 teaspoons ground red chiles or chili powder

8 ears corn (with husks)


1 Heat gas or charcoal grill. In small bowl, mix all ingredients except corn.

2 Remove large outer husks from each ear of corn; gently pull back inner husks and remove silk. Spread each ear of corn with about 2 teaspoons butter mixture; reserve remaining butter mixture. Pull husks up over ears.

3 Place corn on grill. Cook uncovered over medium heat 10 to 15 minutes, turning frequently, until tender. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve corn with remaining butter mixture.

Red, white and blueberry trifle


Two 16-ounce containers strawberries

Two 6-ounce containers blueberries

One 6-ounce container blackberries

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Pinch kosher salt

One 8-ounce package cream cheese

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 prepared angel food cake (about 12 ounces)

Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish, optional

1 1/2 tablespoons apple jelly or apricot preserves, for garnish, optional


Trim and quarter the strawberries and set aside. Combine the blueberries, blackberries, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup water, lemon zest, juice and salt in a medium saucepot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries break down and the sauce thickens, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.

Place the cream cheese, 1/4 cup cream, the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar and the vanilla extract in a large bowl and beat on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. In a second large bowl, whip the remaining cream until stiff peaks form. Fold about one-quarter of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture until lightened, and then fold in the remaining whipped cream.

To assemble the trifle, rip or cut the angel food cake into 2-inch pieces. Place half the cake pieces in the bottom of a 12-to-14-cup trifle dish or large bowl. Top with about half the blueberry sauce, half the cream and half the quartered strawberries. Repeat the layers with the remaining cake, berry sauce, cream and strawberries. Cover with plastic wrap and chill 8 hours or overnight. Before serving either dust with confectioners’ sugar or heat the apple jelly in the microwave for 25 seconds to loosen, and then brush over the strawberries.

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