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Money-Saving Meals for the Fourth

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The Food Network's Sandra Lee has recipes for your 4th of July celebration that won't break your bank.


Sandra's Ale House Burgers with Red Onion Compote and Championship Bean Chili Dogs combine to make a fun and affordable patriotic meal! Red, White and Blue Cherry Pies serve as the perfect American-themed dessert, and a refreshing Watermelon Spritzer washes it all down. Yum!

Ale House Burgers with Red Onion Compote

Red Onion Compote:
½ cup water
1 ¼ cups beer
½ cup brown sugar
2 red onions, sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 pounds ground beef
¼ cup beer
2 tablespoons grill seasoning
½ cup shredded cheddar
Romaine lettuce
4 hamburger rolls, toasted

Directions for Red Onion Compote:
In a medium saucepan, add ½ cup water, beer, brown sugar and red onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour, or until the mixture has thickened and has reduced to about 2 cups. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool completely.

Directions for Burgers:
In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, beer and grill seasoning until well incorporated. Reserve half of the mixture for Round 2 Meatloaf recipe. Shape the remaining beef into four equal portions and flatten each portion. Place 2 tablespoons of cheese in the center of each and wrap the edges around the cheese to form a ball. Flatten each ball into patties. Place on platter and cover. Refrigerate if not cooking immediately.

Set up the grill or indoor grill pan for direct cooking over medium-high heat. When ready to start grilling, oil the grate. Place patties on the hot, oiled grill and cook 4 to 5 minutes per side if you want them to be medium cooked. Serve over lettuce, topped with red onion compote, on toasted buns. (Reserve leftover compote for Round 2 Ale and Onion Meatloaf recipe.)

Yield: 4 servings / Prep time: 10 minutes / Cook time: 1 hour, 8 minutes / Ease of preparation: easy

Barbeque Bean Chili Dogs

1 cup barbeque sauce
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons chili seasoning
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
4 all-beef hot dogs
4 hot dog buns
½ medium onion, chopped (for serving)

In a large saucepan over low heat, stir together the barbeque sauce, beans, chili seasoning, brown sugar and mustard. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, set up the grill or indoor grill pan for direct cooking over medium heat. When ready to start cooking, oil the grate. Place hot dogs on the hot, oiled grill. Cook for 10 minutes or until heated through, turning occasionally. Toast buns on grill, if desired. Place hot dogs in buns and top with chili. Serve hot with chopped white onions. (Reserve leftover chili for Round 2 Bean Chili Quesadilla recipe.)

Yield: 4 servings / Prep time: 6 minutes / Cook time: 20 minutes / Ease of preparation: easy

Red, White and Blue Cherry Pies

1 package double pie crust mix
1 (20-ounce) can cherry pie filling
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons sugar
Blueberry Sauce:
1 pint fresh blueberries (reserve ¼ cup for garnish)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 cups vanilla ice cream

Directions for Pies:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare pie crust according to package directions. Divide into six equal portions, roll into balls and refrigerate, covered, for at least 1 hour. Once chilled, on a lightly floured surface, roll each into a circle about ¼-inch thick.

Place each of the rolled-out circles onto the baking sheet. Divide cherry pie filling into the center of each of the six pie crusts and sprinkle each with the pumpkin pie spice. Fold the edges of the pie dough over the cherry pie filling, making sure to leave the center of the pie exposed. Place a few of the reserved blueberries in the center of each pie. Brush the sides of the pies with milk and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of sugar. Place pies in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

Directions for Blueberry Topping:
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together blueberries, sugar and 2 tablespoons water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

To serve, place each warm pie on six plates, and top each pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a generous drizzle of the blueberry sauce.

Yield: 6 pies / Prep time: 1 hour / Cook time: 40 minutes / Ease of preparation: easy

Watermelon Spritzer
4 cups watermelon chunks, seeds removed
1 cup ice
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 cups seltzer water, chilled
Mint leaves or sprigs (for garnish)

In a blender, puree the watermelon, ice, sugar and lime juice and blend until completely liquid. Pour into a pitcher and top with the seltzer water. Pour into glasses and garnish with mint.

Yield: 4 servings / Prep time: 15 minutes / Ease of preparation: easy

next: 4th of July Recipe: Stained Glass JELL-O Stars
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