The First Days of Summer Part 2: Must-Have Cool Recipes for 4th of July!

Posted on Jun 23 2014 - 9:04am by Jessi Meehan

We had the BEST dinner with the family the other night, and we really enjoyed a cool dinner on the patio. The key to keeping everyone comfy, but the food yummy…was serving dishes that were pretty “chill”. These are great dishes for a 4th of July celebration outdoors!

We started off with my soon-to-be-sister in law’s Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella stacks. These cute little treats were delicious, and they fit right in with our red and white color scheme. They were super simple to make, and looked adorable on the table. Here’s how to make them on your own:


12 fresh basil leaves
4 medium-sized vine-ripened tomatoes (These sizes are easier to handle when making stacks, instead of smaller tomatoes like Romas)
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese
extra-virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar
fresh cracked pepper

Cut tomatoes and mozzarella into 1/4″ thick slices. Arrange tomato, basil leaves, and mozzarella slices into stacks of alternating layers. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over each stack, add some cracked pepper to the top and serve immediately.

So easy to make, and something everyone will love!

Another crowd pleaser she created after a day at the beach with my brother….was a Mexican ceviche-style cocktail sauce for chilled shrimp! It was so unique, and really tasty. To make it, she used:

– one avocado, diced into small pieces (guacamole style)
– one fresh tomato, diced into small pieces
– small bunch of cilantro, chopped
– 2-3 Tablespoons fresh pico de gallo style salsa
– about a cup of hot cocktail sauce (We like things spicy, but you can adjust this to your taste)
– a squeeze of lime


She combined all of the ingredients in small serving bowl and gently mixed to keep things from getting mushy…added a little bit of lime and served! It was so good, and reminded me of the large Mexican style shrimp cocktails I used to get on the pier at Hermosa beach!

So there are two of our 4 “cool” dishes for a hot summer night! Stay tuned later this week for part 3, where we feature two of the slightly warmer additions to the menu: seafood stuffed mushrooms “a la Mike”, and cool cracked crab + shrimp from my brother! Delish!