Summer picnic ideas to celebrate the Fourth of July

Whether you will be grilling at home after the parade, or packing up a basket to watch the town fireworks, here's a round-up of ideas for your outdoor meal.

Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters/File
People gather to watch the Independence Day fireworks display in Independence, Iowa in this July 4, 2011 file photograph. The upcoming Fourth of July means barbecues and beaches for many Americans.

Fourth of July picnics kick-off three glorious month of eating outside in the fresh air. Here are a few ideas to fill your picnic table.

For the grill

Kicked up hot-dogs

Four variations for turning an ordinary hot dog into a tasty delight.

Three ways to grill steaks

Loin flap steaks, flat steaks, and top sirloin are less expensive cuts that deliver delicious flavors.

Blue cheeseburgers with grilled onions and peppers

A good bun, melted blue cheese, grilled toppings (hold the ketchup!) make for a perfect burger.

Turkey burgers

Turkey burgers 'livened up' with Asian flavors.

Sweet and spicy beef kebabs

Beef kebabs with a cherry barbecue sauce.

Veggie burgers

Homemade veggie burgers allow you to play around with flavors.

Grilled corn

Season grilled corn-on-the-cob with Parmesan, lime, and paprika.

Zucchini eggplant napoleans

Grilled summer vegetables make a wonderful napoleon when paired with fresh tomato, basil, and mozzarella.

Sides and Salads

Crispy picnic slaw

A slaw with a vinegar base that will hold its form inside a cooler or on a picnic table.

Green bean and potato salad

Green bean and potato salad with lemon-dill aioli.

Corn and black bean salad

A vibrant summer salad with fresh flavors and colors.

Egg salad recipes

Two different ways to flavor a classic egg salad.

Caprese pasta salad

A just-right salad for lazy summer days.

Quinoa orange ginger salad

Quinoa is a protein-rich seed that has a nutty flavor when cooked. It works as a wonderful base for salads.

Chicken wheatberry salad

Dried cranberries, feta cheese, and pumpkin seeds add extra flavor and crunch.

Fresh dill pickles need no canning

These crisp, lively fresh dill pickles get their flavor from dill, garlic, jalapeño peppers, coriander, and mustard and fennel seeds. And they’re ready to eat in 24 hours.

Sweet garlic refrigerator pickles

A sweet pickle that will win over even those who say they don't like pickles.

Summertime mint dressing

A favorite, all-purpose summer condiment.

Beverages

Rhubarb spritzer

Freshly minted lemonade

Strawberry mint lemonade

Watermelon lime augua fresca

Dessert

American flag cake

Red, white, and blue berry triffle

Strawberry lime posicles

Lemon bars

Jam sandwich cookies

Strawberries and cream cookies

Cream-filled vanilla cupcakes

Chocolate swirl cake

Sugar cookies

Chewy jumbo chocolate chip cookies

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