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Seven Mouth Watering Recipes for a Healthy Independence Day

Everyone knows that beside being with good friends and family the best thing about the Fourth of July is the food!

Here are some easy, healthy Fourth of July recipe ideas to quell most every kind of appetite.

Hummus Guacamole:


>>1.5 C (one can) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
>>1 C fresh spinach
>>1 Tbsp. olive oil
>>Half a large ripe avocado
>>Juice from 1 lemon
>>2 cloves garlic
>>Salt & pepper to taste


Toss it all in a food processor and whirl away! Enjoy as a dip with crackers or veggies, or as a spread on sandwiches

Healthier Seven Layer Dip:


>>3 medium-sized ripe avocados
>>2 Tbsp. lemon juice
>>½ tsp. salt
>>¼ tsp. pepper
>>1 & ½ C nonfat plain Greek yogurt
>>1 package taco seasoning mix (or make your own mix using this recipe)
>>2 cans (9 oz. each) bean dip (or 2 cans refried beans – or make your own!)
>>1 bunch green onions, chopped (optional)
>>3 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, chopped
>>2 cans (3 ½ oz. each) pitted ripe sliced olives, drained
>>1 package (8 oz.) grated 2% sharp cheddar cheese


1. Peel, pit and mash avocados in a bowl with lemon juice, salt and pepper (or put in blender). If you’re in a hurry and don’t have any ripe avocados, you can also substitute 2 containers of mildly seasoned guacamole dip from the refrigerated section at the grocery store.

2. In another bowl, combine yogurt and taco seasoning mix.

3. To assemble:

>>Spread bean dip/refried beans on a LARGE shallow serving platter.
>>Spread avocado mixture over bean dip.
>>Spread yogurt-taco mixture over the avocado mixture.
>>Sprinkle with the chopped green onions, then the tomatoes, and finally the olives.
>>Cover with the grated cheddar cheese.

4. Serve chilled with your choice of corn chips.

Bean and Tomato Salad with Honey Vinaigrette:


>>1 1/4 cups dried beans, preferably heirloom, or 2 15-ounce cans white beans, rinsed
>>1 teaspoon salt, divided
>>1/2 cup minced red onion
>>1/4 cup cider vinegar
>>4 teaspoons honey
>>1 teaspoon peanut or canola oil
>>1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
>>8 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
>>1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
>>1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
>>1 pound tomatoes, sliced


1. If using canned beans, skip to Step 3. If using dried beans, rinse and pick over for any stones, then place in a large bowl, cover with 3 inches of cold water and soak at room temperature for at least 6 hours or overnight.

2. Drain the soaked beans, rinse and transfer to a large saucepan. Add 6 cups cold water. Bring to a simmer, partially cover, and simmer gently, stirring once or twice, until tender but not mushy, 20 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the freshness of the dried beans. (If you’re using heirloom beans, be sure to check them after 20 minutes"they tend to cook more quickly than conventional beans.) If at any time the liquid level drops below the beans, add 1 cup water. When the beans are about three-fourths done, season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. When the beans are tender, remove from the heat and drain.

3.Combine the beans (cooked or canned), the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, onion, vinegar, honey, oil and pepper in a large bowl. Stir, cover and refrigerate to marinate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

4. Cook green beans in a large pot of boiling water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again. Pat dry and add to the marinated beans. Stir in cherry (or grape) tomatoes and basil. Season with pepper.

5. To serve, arrange tomato slices around the edge of a serving platter or shallow salad bowl and spoon the bean salad into the center.

Tex Mex Summer Squash Casserole:


>>2 1/4 pounds summer squash, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise (about 10 cups)
>>2/3 cup finely chopped yellow onion
>>1 4-ounce can chopped green chiles
>>1 4-1/2-ounce can chopped jalapenos, (about 1/2 cup), drained
>>1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
>>2 1/4 cups grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, (about 7 ounces), divided
>>1/4 cup all-purpose flour
>>3/4 cup mild salsa
>>4 scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish
>>1/4 cup finely chopped red onion, for garnish


1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Combine squash, onion, chiles, jalapenos, salt and 3/4 cup cheese in a large bowl. Sprinkle with flour; toss to coat. Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish and cover with foil.

3. Bake the casserole until it is bubbling and the squash is tender, 35 to 45 minutes. Spoon salsa over the casserole and sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese. Bake, uncovered, until golden and heated through, 20 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle with scallions and red onion.

Green Jasmine-Mint Iced Tea with Lemon:


>>1/4 cup loose green jasmine tea, or 12 green jasmine tea bags
>>1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, plus more whole sprigs for garnish
>>4 cups simmering water
>>1/2 cup lemon juice
>>1/3 cup honey
>>4 cups cold water


1. Steep loose tea (or tea bags) and mint leaves in simmering (not boiling) water for 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Strain the tea (or remove tea bags and mint leaves) and pour into a large pitcher. Stir in lemon juice and honey until the honey is dissolved. Add cold water. Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. Serve over ice with mint sprigs, if desired.

Chunky Peach Popsicles:


>>1 1/4 pounds ripe peaches, (3-4 medium), halved and pitted
>>Juice of 1 lemon
>>1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
>>1/4 cup sugar, or to taste
>>1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Coarsely chop peaches in a food processor. Transfer 1 cup of the chunky peaches to a medium bowl. Add lemon juice, orange juice and sugar to taste (depending on the sweetness of the peaches) to the food processor. Puree until smooth. Add to the bowl with the chunky peaches and stir in vanilla.

2. Coarsely chop peaches in a food processor. Transfer 1 cup of the chunky peaches to a medium bowl. Add lemon juice, orange juice and sugar to taste (depending on the sweetness of the peaches) to the food processor. Puree until smooth. Add to the bowl with the chunky peaches and stir in vanilla.

Revolutionary Berries:


>>12 ounces of white chocolate chips
>>Blue sugar or edible glitter


1. Melt 12 ounces of white chocolate chips in a microwave according to the package directions (make sure the container and the berries are dry; even a little moisture will alter the texture of the candy).

2. One at a time, dip strawberries into the chocolate and then into blue sugar or edible glitter.

3.  Set them to harden on waxed paper. (Makes 35-45 decorated berries)

Have a delicious, happy, fun and safe Independence Day!

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