Summer FUN is all about PLAYING with friends and family, firing up the grill, eating, drinking, lounging, and laughing! I don’t have time for extensive shopping and planning, so one-stop shopping at Save Mart and easy meal prep is my go-to guarantee that EVERYONE has a good time!
Today, I have your GO-TO guide for a stress-free Fourth of July grilling party! From crisp, white Sangria and mouth-watering tri-tip…to simple and festive decorations, here you will find recipes and ideas to throw together a party where EVERYONE will have a wonderful day!
When it’s hot outside and friends and family are here playing, the LAST thing I want to do is spend the day in the kitchen. My grill party menu has easy recipes that can be prepared in advance so that the host and hostess can enjoy the day along with everyone else!
My family likes to shop at Save Mart because it is super convenient, clean, and the staff is exceptionally helpful. I also appreciate that the shelves are stocked full anytime I head in – the produce department, especially, is total eye candy and so much of the produce is grown right here in California. I headed in for my party shopping and found all of the fresh and FESTIVE ingredients that I needed for an extra special day.
I’m a total sucker for the little “extras” that turn the backyard into a festive stage. Just inside the grocery store door, I was met with a display of flags and potted flowers. It was almost too easy – within a minute, I had my centerpieces/yard decor. Red roses with flags popped into the center? It doesn’t get easier or more patriotic than that! When I’m shopping for a party, I always check the floral department, end-cap displays, the card aisle, and the baking aisle – I found fun paper plates and utensils, miniature forks, and food items in red, white, and blue. Being mindful of what we would use and need for this occasion, I grabbed some of these items to add that special patriotic flair to our backyard barbecue. If you need shade umbrellas or even a color-coordinated cooler – you can find them right at your supermarket stop. Then, it’s on to the food…Our Fourth of July BBQ menu features:
- Grilled Balsamic Peppercorn Tri-tip
- Strawberry Lemonade White Sangria
- Salsa Verde
- Red, White, and Blue Jello Cups
- 4th of July Poke Cake
- 4th of July Jello Shots
…as well as your basic fajita fixings and a steady flow of sugar! Check out this roundup of more 4th of July menu ideas!
This salad makes a hearty and delicious garnish on fajitas or tacos (or YOUR SPOON). It can be used as a dip or on top of salad greens – so versatile! It is important for the “dressing” to soak into your salad so this is one to make a day ahead. Take advantage of all of the fresh corn in the market and work this one into your menu! Sweet corn is widely available this time of year in California, so while you’re in the store, pull apart the husk of the corn at the top and look at the kernels to find the perfect ears. Look for small, evenly aligned kernels for the most tender and sweet selection. No need to cook these (though you could if you wanted! Or if you had leftovers from another meal). You can add or omit ingredients to combine your favorite flavors for this salad/garnish. It’s the sweet corn and the ripe avocados that make this a real treat, in my opinion! Just note that the avocado gets added right before serving!
On the morning of the party (or at least 1 hour in advance of cooking), begin marinating the meat for your Grilled Balsamic Peppercorn Tri-Tip. You MUST get your hands on Save Mart’s Angus 43 premium beef for this recipe! These cuts of beef are high quality, extremely flavorful, and are affordable even when feeding a larger group of people. Don’t be afraid to talk to the friendly staff behind the meat market counter either! I talked for a while with the butcher at my store and he had quite a few suggestions for cuts of meat and marinade ideas. I also discovered that if I needed a larger amount of meat for a big party, the butcher was more than willing to help me out, even offering to prepare and marinate the meat for me! This time, I had a more intimate backyard party and found an incredible deal on Angus 43 tri-tip roasts already available at the meat counter. I went with my favorite marinade recipe and the steak was out of this world delicious. Opt for meat with a lot of fat (my tri-tip roasts were untrimmed) – the fat is what gives the meat such amazing flavor. Don’t worry – you can trim the fat off after the meat is done grilling! Mmmmmmm. Actual grill time varies depending on the cut and size of your steak. Allow 10-15 minutes for the grill to really heat up and then another 20+ minutes for your meat to grill.
Do not forget to grab a big bag of ice and some canned beverages for your party guests – especially with the heat and sunshine! If your party guests enjoy a refreshing adult beverage for 4th of July celebrating, try this absolutely delicious and refreshing Strawberry Lemonade White Sangria.
I chose fresh summer fruits and Gallo Sauvignon Blanc for its affordable price point and easy incorporation as a fruit-infused wine. Mix the fruit, wine, simple syrup, and lemonade concentrate ahead of time (hours ahead is fine, but just an hour before works, too). Add the club soda and ice just before serving to maintain the bubbles and prevent too much watering down. Garnish the cups with a slice of lemon and some fresh berries! Yum.
Amongst the packed displays of fresh fruit and vegetables, my eyes fell upon a shelf of tomatillos and my heart made a leap. This girl lives and breathes for Salsa Verde, friends. I had to add some to my summer barbecue menu. ESPECIALLY after I came across the most fantastic red, white, and blue tortilla chips! Ha! Salsa verde is everything – it’s obviously the perfect complement to chips as dip, it’s a yummy dressing, it’s great smothered over enchiladas or taquitos, and it adds just the burst of freshness that every fourth of July tri-tip taco needs. Tomatillos have a bright, lemon flavor and they’re hiding inside pale round “husks” in the produce department this time of year. Grab a pile and make a boatload of salsa verde this summer! Some people cook up the tomatillos prior to blending, but I’m a fan of a fresh tomatillo salsa! This can be made a day ahead, freeing up your time on party day to PLAY!
Need a few dessert ideas? How about layering red and blue Jell-O in miniature plastic cups for the CUTEST patriotic treats? Or there’s always S’mores. Remember when I talked about end-caps? Well, I was checking out one marshmallow-laden end cap when I made the BEST discovery! A S’mores TOTE BOX!!!
What? Everyone needs one of these puppies – so I couldn’t leave without one of my own. There’s a spot for all the fixins and I like that it keeps the hot, dry air off of my marshmallows and graham crackers. I bet you could even throw an ice pack in there to keep your chocolate from melting if you wanted to tote your coolness over to someone else’s house this summer. Other ideas: Save Mart’s bakery department has beautiful cakes and cookies with the necessary slather of red, white and blue. And, just like the meat department, with a day or two notice, you can always ask them to create a custom dessert that perfectly suits you and your party guests!
I was asked by Carusele to participate in the #SaveMartSummer campaign, sponsored by Save Mart. Although I have been compensated, all opinions are my own.