GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (June 30, 2014) — If you are heading to a Fourth of July picnic, the host might insist that you don’t bring anything, but if you are like me, that’s just not the way you like to operate. If funds are tight, I have found some great, easy ways for you to show up with something to share.
Watermelon Stars: Meijer has watermelons on sale for $2.47 this week. Cut one watermelon in half to be the base for your display. Cut the other half, in about 1 inch thick rings. Then, using a metal cookie cutter, slice out some stars. Use Popsicle sticks or skewer sticks to poke through the stars, much like a sucker. Stick the other end into the other half of the melon. I have discovered that if your watermelon is too ripe, the skewers will slide all the way through, so be careful. I added some blueberries on a skewer, for a festive flare.
Fruit Flag : This is extremely easy and affordable. Kudos to Party City for offering some wonderful party favors for the fourth along with this recipe and many others on their website. These are simply blueberries, strawberries and bananas on the first four or five kabobs, followed by just strawberries and banana kabobs to replicate the American flag.
Aldi wine: One of my favorite places to snag wine is Aldi! Yep! Aldi! They have wine for less than $3/bottle and some really fun champagnes and even something similar to an Irish Creme. They have some tasty sparkling waters that are fun to add to your wine, making a wine spritzer. Also, add some blueberries and strawberries for a nice patriotic touch.
Bring the chicken! Speak up early! Offer to bring the chicken thighs and drumsticks because a family pack is just $1.19 per pound this week. Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce is my favorite and it can be found on sale at Meijer and at a good price at Aldi.
Patriotic Popcorn (courtesy www.ohsweetbasil.com): First of all, I would like to give credit where credit is due to the website, oh, sweet basil, for this recipe.
- 1 Tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
- 3 to 4 Tablespoons white sugar
- 1/8 or so teaspoon gel food coloring (they recommend Wilton or Americolor)
- 1/2 c. popcorn kernels
- salt to taste
Click here to find out the full details on how to prepare
Aunt Carolyn’s Nacho Dip: My aunt is kind of like the Martha Stewart of the family and always has some great snacks. (Well, all of my aunts are amazing cooks, actually. She just happened to pass this one along)
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 can re-fried beans
- 1 can of bean dip (found in chip aisle normally)
- 1 pkg. taco seasoning
- 1 c. water
- shredded cheese
Brown your hamburger and drain then add your taco seasoning and water. You will then add your re-fried beans and bean dip, mix well, pouring into a baking dish when stirred. Top with shredded cheese and heat. Serve with nacho chips.
Jamaican Bacon (yet again, thank you Aunt Carolyn) Please keep in mind, this does have alcohol in it!
- 1, 4 ounce can of sliced pineapple (drained)
- 2 Tablespoons Rum
- 1/2 pound of bacon
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Drain pineapple and cut each ring into 8 wedges. Mix the pineapple with the Rum in a bowl. Cut bacon into thirds, wrapping each pineapple wedge with a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Arrange in a baking dish and sprinkle brown sugar on top, cooking for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until bacon is done. I am told this is a very easy recipe to double, too!
Baked Beans (from viewer James Rider) :
- 2 cans of Country Style Beans from Aldi
- 1/4 c. of molasses
- 1 chopped onion
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons of honey mustard
- Bake at 400 for 1 and 1/2 hours and then chill overnight
Beyond the Food
July is a great month to stock up on all types of outdoor or party supplies, along with summer clothing because prices can be slashed upwards of 60 percent! Here are some of my favorite finds this week:
1 Gallon Jug With spout and four cups at five below: This store has some pretty cool stuff and everything is $5 or below!
Gas Grill: Many businesses, like Big Lots, will start special savings closer to the weekend. Starting July 3-July 6, you can get a Thermos brand 2-Burner 35,000 BTU gas grill from $129 to $80