Backyard Picnics Taste Like America

Independence Day has come and gone, hopefully it was filled with laughter and celebration. The day we are sure looked a little different, with fewer guests and a lack of fireworks, 2020 showcased a fourth of July unlike any other.

Though everything has seemingly changed, we still did the one thing that we’re all good at; we ate good food. We got to cooking and came up with four patriotic dishes that can accompany any cookout all summer long.

Burgers and hotdogs are a staple to grill in the back yard. Not only are they easy to prepare, but they taste delicious! Add some Coney sauce, boom you’ve transformed your hotdog into a Coney dog or your hamburger bun into a sloppy joe. These core items are important pieces to any cookout, but it is ultimately the side dishes and the dessert that determine the success of your party.

Macaroni salad and potato salad are the side of choice at almost any summer gathering. The cool, creamy composition will leave you feeling refreshed on a hot summer day. If your tired of the same boring potato salad, try this Lemon Aioli Potato Salad. It will not only add a pop of color to your backyard BBQ, but it’s unique flavors will have your taste buds singing.

Lemon Aioli Potato Salad

3 pounds potatoes (I used a mix of small white, red, and blue potatoes)


1 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon zest

2 small cloves garlic, finely minced

salt and pepper, to taste

¼ cup chopped red onion

½ cup chopped red bell pepper

¼ – ½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Place the potatoes and 2 tablespoons of salt in a large pot of water. Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, just until potatoes are barely tender when pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes, then place them back into the empty pot and cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel. Allow the potatoes to steam for 10 to 15 minutes.

In a small bowl mix together the mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice, zest, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside.

Quarter (or slice) steamed potatoes and place them into a large bowl, along with onion, bell pepper, and parsley.

Top with aioli and gently fold together. Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Top with additional chopped red pepper and/or chopped parsley.

Note: Blue potatoes tend to bleed a little, so if you want to keep the color contained, mix them with a little aioli separately, to coat, before incorporating with the remaining ingredients.

Want something quick and easy to snack on at the pool? These two recipes pair perfectly for days poolside. This sweet salsa will give you serious payoff in little to no time! Not only do the flavors from the fresh fruit compliment the jicama really well, but the saltiness from the tortilla chips adds the perfect combination of flavors that will have you dipping back in over and over again.

Blueberry, Strawberry & Jicama Salsa

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 cup diced strawberries

1 cup diced jicama

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

2 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeno pepper stemmed and seeded

Juice of 1 large lime

Salt to taste

Tortilla chips for serving

In a medium bowl, combine blueberries, strawberries, jicama, cilantro, red onion, jalapeno, and lime juice. Stir until well combined. Season with salt, to taste. Serve with tortilla chips at room temperature or chilled.

If salsa and Chips are not your snack of choice, try this summer salad that is sure to amplify any outdoor gathering. Featuring tomatoes, sweet blueberries, creamy mozzarella, and bold balsamic vinegar, it wont disappoint. It’s a flavor explosion!

Blueberry Tomato Caprese

1-pint blueberries

2 pints cherry tomatoes

fresh basil

balsamic vinegar

olive oil

salt and pepper

firm buffalo mozzarella cheese

Wash blueberries and cherry tomatoes and drain well in a colander. Half cherry tomatoes and toss in a serving bowl with blueberries, set aside.

Slice mozzarella cheese into 1/4 or 1/2" slices and then cut into small stars with a cookie cutter. Top the tomatoes and blueberries with the star cheese.

Tear fresh basil over-top and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic.

Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Finally, no party is complete without some dessert. The endless options could leave you feeling overwhelmed. This cake recipe is easy to make, and it tastes amazing. Just swap in food coloring and sprinkles depending on the occasion, and your dessert will wow the crowd!

Homemade Funfetti Cake

Funfetti Cake

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

pinch salt, optional and to taste

1 large egg

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup sour cream, lite is okay (plain Greek yogurt may be substituted)

1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup sprinkles (red, white, and blue)

1/8 teaspoon each of red and blue gel food coloring

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, optional salt; set aside.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, sour cream, oil, and vanilla.

Add the wet mixture to the dry, mixing lightly with a spoon or folding with a spatula until just combined. Small lumps will be present, don’t overmix or try to stir them smooth.

Divide batter into thirds, add red coloring to one and blue to another.

Gently stir in the sprinkles, taking care not to overmix or they could bleed.

Turn batter out into prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes (start checking at 25 minutes), or until center is set and not jiggly, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter.

Place pan on a wire rack and allow cake to cool. While cake cools, make the frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream

1 cup (2 sticks or 230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

3–4 cups (360-480g) confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream*

2 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

salt, to taste

Beat softened butter on medium speed with an electric or stand mixer. Beat for 3 minutes until smooth and creamy.

Add powdered sugar, cream, and vanilla extract with the mixer running. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes.

Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin or more cream if mixture is too thick. Add 1/4 teaspoon (or more) if frosting is too sweet.

Frost cooled cake as desired and top with sprinkles. There may be leftover frosting depending how much you wish to use.

There you have it, four simple recipes that will keep your summer fresh and leave more time to be out soaking up sunshine and memories. Slow down and enjoy the dog days of summer before the cold and snowy winter days return.


Tel: 330-674-3975

White Washed Wood
Holmes County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau

6 W Jackson St., Suite A, Millersburg, OH 44654

330-674-3975 |