4th of July Weekend Party Pleasers


With the 4th of July right around the corner and picnics and parties to attend everyone is scrambling for a great recipes for pot-luck and party “bring-a-longs”.

Side dishes and salads rule for this kind of thing…from potato salads, macaroni and pasta salads, bread salads… to great planks of zucchini and onions charred on the grill. Just serve up some grilled steaks, portabellas, sausages, chicken, fish or shrimp – ask friends and family to bring the sides and – viola! – instant outdoor party. Add in some shortcake topped with fresh berries (or berries and fresh apricots if you like to mix things up a bit!) and some whipped cream and you have yourself a delicious holiday weekend get-together.

I’ve included in this weeks recipes an “Old School”  Picnic Pasta Salad that is quick and easy and still a crowd pleaser for those traditionalists.  Potato Salad gets a quick re make in my recipe for Pesto Smashed Potato Salad . For the more “gourmet crowd” Then there’s a recipe for my Turkish Tabouli – great with the addition of pistachios and dried apricots and is terrific served up with grilled shrimp or spiced chicken.

Check out my recipes below for some fun ideas for easy potluck sides, perfect for this festive, sparkling and happy holiday!  Pack a picnic and enjoy the fireworks!


“Old School” Picnic Pasta Salad

Always popular pasta salads are best mixed together just far enough in advance so the flavors meld but still stay bright and fresh.

Makes 8 – 10 servings

8 oz dry, small shell pasta
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 cup high-quality Italian salad dressing
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup frozen peas, defrosted
1/3 cup small-diced red onion
1 can (2.25 oz) sliced black olives, drained well
1 lb Campari® Cocktail Tomatoes, diced or 1 1/2 halved cherry or grape tomatoes

Cook pasta according to package directions, rinse and drain well.

In a large bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, dressing, garlic and pepper. Gently mix with pasta and remaining ingredients.

Created for Sunset Produce Company by Kathy Casey

Pesto Smashed Potato Salad

Makes 12 or more servings

2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup minced sweet white onion
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup basil pesto, homemade or purchased
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse-ground black pepper

2 1/2 pounds small Yukon Gold potatoes or other fun, local small potatoes found at farmers markets, such as marble potatoes, fingerlings or baby pinks
1/2 cup tiny-diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

In a large bowl, whisk together the garlic, mustard, onion, oil, pesto, vinegar, salt and pepper to make the dressing; set aside while continuing with recipe.

Wash potatoes, then steam, whole, till very tender—be sure they are cooked all the way through. Potatoes should take about 17 minutes for small Yukons but time will depend upon size.

When potatoes are cooked, immediately drain, and add potatoes to the bowl of dressing. With a large spoon, lightly mash potatoes—not like mashed potatoes but more to break them up into chunks; the goal is to lightly smash/break open the potatoes. Then add bell pepper, parsley and basil. Fold potatoes into dressing with a large rubber spatula to coat all pieces.

This salad is great served warm or at room temperature. You can make salad the day or morning before serving and then refrigerate. If making ahead, remove from refrigerator 1 hour before serving to bring to room temperature.

Recipe © 2009 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Turkish Tabbouleh Salad with Dried Apricots & Pistachios
Makes 8 cups

1 3/4 cups boiling water
2 teaspoons kosher salt (divided)
1 1/2 cups bulgur wheat
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 roma tomatoes, diced 1/2 inch
4 green onions, thinly sliced
3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots
3/4 cup shelled pistachios, lightly toasted
1 can (15 1/2 ounces) garbanzo beans, drained
1/4 cup tiny-diced sweet white onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring water and 1 teaspoon of the salt to a boil, then immediately stir in the bulgur wheat and remove from the heat. Cover and let sit for 1 hour or until all the water has been soaked up.

Uncover and let cool.

In a large bowl, mix together remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, lemon juice, black pepper and olive oil. Then add remaining ingredients and cooled bulgur. Mix together well, until all ingredients are coated with dressing.
Recipe © 2009 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on July 2nd, 2009  |  Comments Off on 4th of July Weekend Party Pleasers |  Posted in Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog, KOMO Radio, Pasta-Risotto, Recent Posts, Recipes, salads, sides

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