One of the perks I enjoy the most about the summer is having the opportunity to celebrate the 4th of July. On this day we celebrate our nation’s independence by commemorating everything about being American. By celebrating with friends and family in our parks and backyards, we acknowledge the solidarity of the American people as attested to by the strength of the Union. By partaking in food and drink, we recognize the prosperity that a nation built on democracy has brought to us. And by watching the sky light up with fireworks, we honor the greatness that this country has accomplished through its people.
This weekend kicks off the start of celebration for our 240th year of Independence. While, like I mentioned earlier, this kicks off some major celebrations and some serious down time with families and friends, I am sure some of you are dreading the aftermath of this yearly celebration. Yes, I’m talking about the added inches to your waistlines, the added points to your glucose levels and the enormous amount of calories that the celebration may compel you to ingest. Well, worry not, especially if you’re hosting this year’s celebrations! We have a lineup of healthy recipes that are packed with flavor but devoid of the extra calories.
With the 4th of July weekend forecasted to be a hot one, regardless of where you are in the country, start off with this refreshing salad that comes to us from the shores of sunny Greece. This fresh lemon Greek salad will cool you down and prepare your appetite for the main course and it’s so easy to prepare. This recipe serves 4 but feel free to add more ingredients to bring on the party. This recipe only has 50 calories per serving with only 2.5 grams of fat in it.
Fresh Lemon Greek Salad
- 3 cups torn romaine lettuce
- 8 wedge-cut slices from a medium tomato
- ¼ cup thinly sliced radishes
- ¼ cup of thinly sliced onions
- 1 cup torn escarole or curly endive
- 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon of plain Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- ¼ teaspoon of dried oregano
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Combine the lettuce, tomato, radishes, onions, escarole or endive in a large salad bowl.
- Combined the olive oil, lemon juice, yogurt, honey and oregano in a mason jar.
- Shake it hard to combine all of the wonderful flavors.
- Pour over the salad as a dressing.
- Feel free to create more of this in case your guests want more. Pour this over the salad and toss well.
Sweet & Spicy Sliders
What would the 4th of July be without a nice, grilled, juicy burger right? Nothing identifies closer to the USA than the mighty burger. If you thought that preparing a healthy menu would keep burgers off the menu, think again! This recipe celebrates the diversity of America with the infusion of a popular Asian sauce that has taken the US culinary world by storm. Also, these burgers come in slider form so there’s no pressure to finish a behemoth burger and if you want more you can always pick up a nice little morsel of heaven. This recipe makes 6 servings with each serving coming in at only 292 calories! So again, feel free to scale up the ingredients accordingly.
Sweet and Spicy Sauce
- Sriracha Ketchup Sauce
- 1/3 cup reduced sugar ketchup
- 2 tablespoons Sriracha
- 2 teaspoons of minced shallot
- ½ teaspoon of cider vinegar
- 1 pound of 90% lean ground beef (consult your butcher for the tastiest cuts)
- 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- ¼ teaspoon of ground pepper
- 6 slices of fresh pineapple (not from the can!)
- 4 trimmed scallions
- 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces of sliced mushrooms (if you don’t have a kitchen scale time to get one!)
- 1/3 cup of arugula
- Slider Buns / Dinner Rolls
- It’s always a great practice to heat up the grill so you get that sizzle when you put the meat on it. Fire it up to a medium level.
- Whisk the ingredients for the Sriracha Ketchup Sauce together in a bowl. Don’t put the whisk back after you’ve licked the sauce off!
- In a separate bowl, combine the beef, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.
- Form it into 6 patties, if you have a kitchen scale, that would be around 2.67 ounces per patty.
- Oil the grill with a folded paper towel drenched in oil. Use tongs to spread some oil over the grill.
Note: Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill. Don’t find out why, just take my word on it.
- Toast the slider buns slightly on the grill, place them on the area with the least heat.
- Put a little dimple in the middle of the patty and grill those burgers away. Be sure to flip ’em to brown them on both sides.
- Enjoy the soothing sound of that sizzle. I use recorded sounds of sizzling meat to make me relax and go to sleep.
- Assemble the burgers on the bun and top it with the Sriracha Ketchup, pineapple, shallots, mushrooms and arugula.
Enjoy the sweet and spicy sensation while exclaiming, “God bless America!”
End your meal with a refreshing dessert dish that matches the weather and carries the healthy benefits of fruit. A watermelon fruit pie that uses watermelon slices like a pizza crust that contains toppings of fruit is both visually appealing and is invigoratingly appetizing. This serves 8 and only contains 64 calories.
Watermelon Crusted Fruit Pie
- ½ cup of low-fat plain yogurt
- ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- 2/3 cup of sliced strawberries
- ½ cup of halved blackberries
- 2 tablespoons of torn fresh mint leaves
- 2 large round slices of watermelon about 1 inch thick cut from the center of the melon
- Combine the yogurt, honey and vanilla in a small bowl. This serves as your “pizza” sauce.
- Lay the watermelon down in your serving plate then spread the yogurt mixture over it.
- Cut the watermelon into wedges similar to a game of Trivial Pursuit.
- Place the other fruits on top of it substituting pepperoni with strawberries, anchovies with blackberries and bell peppers with mint.
There you have it! You were able to host an amazingly healthy 4th of July party without sacrificing on the guilty pleasures that marvelous taste normally brings. Now sit back and enjoy those fireworks! Have a safe and memorable July 4th!