Happy almost-4th of July! I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to a weekend full of family, friends, fireworks, and of course, food. Whether you’re headed for a weekend getaway, a poolside party, or a backyard barbecue, you probably have some meal planning and cooking to tackle before you can sit back and relax. So, get prepared for this holiday weekend by considering these convenient, crowd-pleasing options.


If you’re traveling out of town, you have multiple meals to prepare for and, most likely, multiple people cook for. So, make it easy on yourself and whip up your favorite breakfast casserole. Breakfast casseroles are perfect for weekend getaways because they can serve a large crowd, can be made ahead, and reheated as needed.

Sausage-Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole

Sausage-Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole

Now that we have breakfast covered, on to the 4th of July feast. If you’re doing the grilling, consider consulting The Great Grill-Ahead 4th of July Party from Cooking Light for ideas on how to avoid being chained to the grill while everyone else enjoys the party. A few grill-ahead recipes include Applewood-Smoked Chicken with Dijon Rub, Smoky Red Pepper Dip with Grilled Crudites, and Simple Grilled Stone Fruit Crumble. Another way to avoid cooking throughout the celebration is to let your slow cooker do the work. These Easy BBQ Ribs are finger-lickin’ good, and this Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork is simply divine.

Now that we’ve covered the main attraction (barbecue, of course), let’s talk side dishes. If you’re looking for something to take to a gathering, a standout side dish is the way to go. From potato salad to baked beans, there are plenty of options to choose from. A few of my favorites include Bacon Potato Salad, Orzo, Corn, and Roasted Bell Pepper Salad, and Quick Baked Beans with Smoked Bacon.

Bacon Potato Salad

Bacon Potato Salad

Last, but certainly not least, let’s talk cocktails and cupcakes. Check out these Cool Summer Cocktails for fun cocktail recipes. And trust me, they’re as refreshing and tasty as they appear. For dessert, these Red, White, and Blue Cupcakes are about as festive as you can get.

For more 4th of July inspiration, check out our Red, White, and Blue Recipes and other popular 4th of July recipes here. We’d love to see what you cook up, so be sure to give us a shout on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. We hope you have a food-filled 4th of July! Happy cooking!