Metro-East Living

Here are some last-minute Fourth of July party food ideas

You can pull together a quick fruit/sweets or vegetable tray with a patriotic theme for the Fourth of July.
You can pull together a quick fruit/sweets or vegetable tray with a patriotic theme for the Fourth of July.

Fourth of July caught me a bit unaware this summer! Not that the date has changed, but that family is arriving soon, I’m only working two days a week (love, love semi-retirement) and I just wasn’t thinking ahead.

No one to blame but myself. So, it makes me hyper-aware that if I (or anybody) need a last-minute patriotic “somethin’ somethin’” to serve or bring to a party, it has to be fast and furious to put together.

Here’s some great ideas from Country Living magazine:

1. Red, White, and Blue (Cheese) Sliders: Top mini burgers off the grill with creamy blue cheese and freshly sliced strawberries.

2. American flag vegetable/fruit tray: Take a jelly-roll pan (the one with a lip) and line with cherry tomatoes, radishes, sliced cucumbers, cauliflower and sliced red peppers for the red and white stripes of the flag. You may have to improvise for the blue, but see if you can find a blue plastic Tupperware or other square dish. Fill with a great veggie dip. For a fruit tray, strawberries, cherries, raspberries, white cheese slices, yogurt-covered pretzels and blueberries work well.

3. Blueberry Caprese salad: Add some juicy blueberries to a fresh Caprese salad of fresh basil, mozzarella balls, cherry tomatoes and a dash of vinaigrette. You can see the complete recipe at

4. My idea: Buy a white sheet cake and go to town on it with strawberries and blueberries on top to make a flag design. Cupcakes frosted in white can easily have blue or red sprinkles and tiny flags added to them.

5. Nothing to trifle about: Trifles are easy to put together in a hurry. Natasha’s Kitchen ( has a great recipe for a No-Bake Strawberry Blueberry Trifle. See recipe below.

Fruits of summer

Peach season is already here. Eckert’s Orchards in Belleville has its early peaches in the Country Store and pick-your-own got under way Saturday. These early peaches are the cling variety, which means the meat adheres to the stone. So, a little more care is needed to prepare and eat these! Plus, it’s still blackberry season. Put the two fruits together. Yum.

Contact me at, 618-239-2664 and follow me on Twitter @BoyleSuzanne. Write to 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427.

No-Bake Strawberry Blueberry Trifle

Natasha at Natasha’s Kitchen says this cake is best served the same day it’s made. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

1 (7-ounce) angel food cake, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

1 pound fresh blueberries


1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1/2 medium lemon)


16 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Equipment: 4- or 5-quart glass trifle dish, or make it in a 9-by-13-inch glass pan.

Lemon syrup: In a measuring cup, combine water, sugar and lemon juice and stir until sugar is dissolved. Set aside until needed.

Trifle cream: Beat together cream cheese and sugar (with the whisk attachment) on medium speed until creamy and smooth, scraping the bowl a couple times. With mixer on, pour in heavy cream, then turn mixer to medium/high and continue beating until consistency of whipped cream. Add vanilla and beat until incorporated.

Assembling: Place 1/3 of sliced angel food cake into the bottom of your trifle dish and brush with 1/3 of syrup. Add 1/3 of cream and loosely spread it over cake pieces. Add 1/2 of the sliced strawberries. Repeat with remaining ingredients (adding 1/2 of the blueberries for the second fruit layer). Frost the top with last 1/3 of cream and decorate with remaining fruit.

Makes about 10 to 12 servings.