Fourth of July Treats in New Britain

By Sheridan Cyr

Lifestyles Editor

The Fourth of July is coming up fast! Whether you’re entertaining guests at home or heading over to someone else’s backyard barbecue, you’d better come prepared with a dish or two!

For a clean, healthy appetizer that won’t fill you up before the big meal, take a shot at these American flag fruit skewers. This dish involves no cooking and can be prepared in just a few minutes.

American flag skewer dish. Credit: Party City.

American flag skewer dish. Credit: Party City.

11 skewer sticks

a serving tray

25 blueberries

two or three bananas

about a dozen strawberries.

Slice the bananas into 28 rounds about a half inch thick. Slice the stems off of the strawberries, then slice them the long way into quarters.

On five of the skewer sticks, begin with sliding five blueberries on each stick, then one banana round, one strawberry quarter, another banana and another strawberry. After the first five sticks are done, the remaining sticks will all begin with a strawberry at the top, then one banana, and continue to interchange all the way down to the bottom. There should be five strawberries and four banana rounds. Once all of the fruit has been placed on the skewers, simply arrange the finished sticks on the serving tray to look like an American flag!

Of course, no barbecue goes without burgers and hot dogs, so get unique with a side dish. Try this bacon ranch pasta salad for a delicious side-kick.

Bacon ranch pasta salad. Credit: allrecipes.com.

Bacon ranch pasta salad. Credit: allrecipes.com.

1 package of tri-colored rotini

10 slices of bacon

a cup of mayonnaise

three tablespoons of dry ranch salad dressing mix

1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon of garlic pepper

1/2 cup of milk

a large tomato chopped up

a can of sliced black olives

a cup of sharp cheddar cheese.

Simply boil the pasta, then cook, drain and chop the bacon. Lastly, combine all of the ingredients into a large serving bowl. Refrigerate the dish for about an hour and serve.

No summer picnic is complete without sweets. To stick with the fruit theme of your appetizer dish, try this strawberry pretzel dessert.

Strawberry pretzel dessert. Credit: allrecipes.com.

Strawberry pretzel dessert. Credit: allrecipes.com.

1-1/2 cups of crushed pretzels

4-1/2 tablespoons of sugar

3/4 cup of melted butter, one more cup of sugar

two 8-ounce packages of cream cheese

one 8-ounce container of whipped topping

one package of strawberry-flavored gelatin

two cups of boiling water

16-ounces of frozen strawberries.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix together pretzels, 4-1/2 tablespoons of sugar and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 9×13-inch pan. Bake for 10 minutes.

Aside, beat the remaining sugar and cream cheese in a bowl until smooth. Fold in the whipped topping and spread evenly over the cooled crust. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

In another bowl stir together the gelatin mix and boiling water. Mix in the frozen strawberries and stir until thawed. Pour over the cream cheese mixture in the pan. Refrigerate your finished dish for about an hour, and you’re ready to go.

Now that the crowd has been fed, pack up the car and head over to Stanley Quarter Park for the annual “Great American Boom” fireworks show! The show starts at 9:15 p.m., but be sure to arrive with ample time to get a good spot. This year, “Latanya Farrell & the Bookman Styles Band” will play alongside the show starting at 6 p.m.