NORTHWOODS COOKS: Celebrate the 4th of July in style

Add some red, white and blue this 4th of July with star spangled burgers. Serve with baked beans, chips, and watermelon slices for a festive picnic. (Adobe Stock)

The Fourth of July kicks off the full summer season. Celebrate the holiday from breakfast through dinner with meals that include red, white and blue creations from

Patriotic French Toast

10-oz. package frozen strawberries, thawed

1 cup fresh blueberries


8-oz. package cream cheese, softened

2 cups confectioners' sugar

2 cups milk

2 eggs, beaten

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 Tbsp. butter

8 thick slices bread


Preheat an oven to 250 degrees. Combine the thawed strawberries with their juice and the blueberries in a bowl and set aside.

Beat together the softened cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar until smooth and set aside. Whisk the milk, eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon in a shallow bowl.

Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet or griddle. Dip bread into egg mixture, coating thoroughly. Cook until well-browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Place cooked slices on a baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm until ready to serve.

Spread the cream cheese mixture over each slice of french toast, then top with 2 tablespoons of the fruit. Serve immediately.

Fourth of July Fruit Salad

1 cup blueberries

1 cup sliced strawberries


1 cup chopped watermelon

1 cup red grapes

1 cup shredded coconut

Combine blueberries, strawberries, watermelon, and grapes in a bowl. Chill and sprinkle coconut flakes on top just before serving.

Red White and Blue Potato Salad

1 lb. medium purple potatoes, scrubbed

2 bunches red radishes, trimmed and diced

1/2 white onion, diced

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

3 Tbsp. mayonnaise

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add potatoes and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool and dice the potatoes. Combine the potatoes, radishes, onion, blue cheese and mayonnaise in a large bowl. Mix until the mayonnaise evenly coats the ingredients and refrigerate until serving.

Star Spangled Burgers

2 lbs. ground beef

1 large red bell pepper, diced

2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground black pepper

2 (4-oz.) packages crumbled blue cheese

8 hamburger buns

Preheat the grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate. Mix ground beef, red pepper, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl; divide and form into 16 patties.

Place 1 ounce blue cheese in the center atop each of 8 of the patties. Top each cheese-topped patty with an unadorned patty, pressing the sides together so the cheese doesn't fall out.

Cook on the preheated grill until the burgers are cooked to desired degree of doneness, 7 to 10 minutes per side for well done. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the meat should read 160 degrees.

Red, White and Blueberry Cheesecake

8 sheets phyllo dough

1/4 cup butter, melted

2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese

1/2 cup white sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 eggs

2 cups fresh blueberries

1/2 cup strawberry jelly

1 cup heavy cream, whipped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a flat surface, place one sheet of phyllo dough. Brush it with melted butter, and cover with another piece of phyllo. Repeat until all 8 sheets are used. Using kitchen scissors, cut layered phyllo into a 12- to 13-inch circle.

Carefully press the circle into a greased 9-inch pie plate and gently fan edges. Bake in a preheated oven until the edges are just golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Cool slightly on a wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs until well combined. Fold in 1 cup of blueberries. Pour filling into prepared crust.

Bake at 350 degrees until set, 40 to 50 minutes. To prevent the crust from over-browning, gently cover pie with foil for the last 25 minutes of baking. Cool completely on a wire rack.

In a small bowl, beat jelly until smooth. Spread over cheese filling. Arrange 1 cup blueberries on top in a star pattern.

Readers are invited to submit four to five of their favorite recipes to enjoy, along with a note about what makes them special. Send recipes to and they may appear in a future issue.

Related Topics: FOOD
Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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