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Design Your Perfect Fourth of July Party

(Photo courtesy of Heather Christo)

Take your party to the patio! (Photo courtesy of Heather Christo)

Heather Christo may very well be the next Martha Stewart. When she stopped by our offices to tell us about her amazing blog, we were charmed by her personality and surprised with how easy she made elegant entertaining look (even for beginners like us)! She grew up in a family that loved to throw dinner parties and the passion rubbed off. Heather attended the California Culinary Academy and Le Cordon Bleu. In other words, this mom of two knows her stuff! With the Fourth of July quickly approaching, we asked Heather for her top tips for a successful party.

  • Plan ahead. "Do prep work before so you can enjoy the party! Make marinades, dips and dressings the day before, then just add them to the freshly-prepared ingredients."
  • Make it D.I.Y. "Guests love 'build your own' meals like adding grilled meats on top of salads or assembling their own tacos or burgers."
  • Simplify the decor. "It can be beautiful without too much work! Feature farmers market or garden flowers with piles of gorgeous, seasonal fresh fruit for the centerpiece. Large white ceramic platters are timeless and make food look fabulous."

Start prepping now for a stress-free soiree. Click below for a complete healthy menu that Heather designed for your festive party!

Fresh Corn Salad with Mango "The green onion, jalapeno, cilantro and lime bring depth and spice to the salad."—Heather Christo Serves 8

  • 8 ears fresh corn, shucked and cleaned
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • ½ cup cilantro, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • Kosher salt to taste
  1. Cut all of the corn off of the cob (onto a dishcloth so the kernels don't bounce around), and place in a large bowl.
  2. Add the mango, onion, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeno, oil and lime juice. Stir to combine. And season with the Kosher salt to taste. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Chicken Burgers with Peach Mustard "Classic Chicken burgers with a healthy twist! Skinless and boneless, slathered in homemade peach mustard and piled high with veggies—these are delicious!"—HC Serves 8

Condiments can brighten up the table, not to mention the flavor of your sandwich! (Photo courtesy of Heather Christo)

For burgers:

  • 8 hamburger buns
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken breasts thinly pounded or sliced in half lengthwise
  • Cooking spray for grilling
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Condiments: Peach mustard, Monterey Jack cheese, avocado slices, crispy bacon, red onion rings, tomato slices, green leaf lettuce, bread and butter pickles.

For peach mustard:

  • 2 small peaches, cut into quarters
  • ¼ cup whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  1. Combine peach mustard ingredients in a blender, puree until chunky but well combined and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  2. Heat a grill to medium. Spray the chicken breasts with cooking spray on both sides and sprinkle with kosher salt.
  3. Grill the chicken on each side about three to five minutes, depending on thickness. Flip the chicken over and grill on the other side until completely cooked through.
  4. Before the chicken is finished cooking, place the buns on a cooler part of the grill so they get toasty without burning.
  5. Spread both sides of the buns with the mustard. Place the chicken breast on the bun and add the toppings of your choice.

Coconut Sorbet with Fresh Raspberries

"This is a light and healthy (dairy free!) dessert with two different sources of coconut flavor infusing the sorbet. I like to serve it in a dish with tart raspberries."—HC Yields 1 pint

  • 2 cans coconut milk, well shaken!
  • 2 cups flaked unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup sugar
  • dash salt
  • fresh raspberries
  1. In a small pot, combine the coconut milk, (make sure that you spread all of the thick coconut on the lid in!) flaked coconut and sugar with the dash of salt.
  2. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and stir for about 2 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved. Take the pot off of the heat and let sit until it has cooled.
  3. Strain the mixture into a bowl, pressing all of the liquid out of the flaked coconut. Discard the flaked coconut and refrigerate the coconut sorbet base until cold.
  4. Freeze the coconut sorbet in a machine according to manufacturers directions, or even just place in plastic container and put straight into the freezer.
  5. Let freeze overnight, and when ready to eat scoop and serve with fresh raspberries.

Serve these dishes alongside... Cherry Mint Lemonade Orzo Salad with Cherries and Feta Grilled Clams with Tomatillo Bacon Salsa Now tell us: What are your plans for Independence Day and the long weekend ahead?