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Time to make a menu plan for the big holiday weekend, belles. We are here to help!

First and foremost, we think a patriotic toast is in order. Let’s start off with a refreshing libation that will get your tastebuds going…and the crowd…because it’s a big batch recipe. Less work, more fun!!
Via Freutcake

Cocktails, everyone!  Pineapple mojito from Freutcake

The Main Attraction

Now for zee main course.  Hamburgers are a classic American go-to, but we like stepping it up a notch with these Andouille and beef burgers with spicy mayo and caramelized onions from Epicurious.  We found these in a Bon Appetit magazine years ago and they have never failed us. Can y’all say taste-thrill?? 

Via Epicurious  

We have tweaked this burger just a wee bit…. So here’s our version:

Best Belle Burger

For the spicy mayo:

3/4 cup mayonnaise (we are Hellman’s belles)

1 T + 1t  Cajun or Creole seasoning (we like Tony Cachera’s)

1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (we are partial to Tabasco)

1/4 -1/2 t cayenne


1/2 pound andouille sausage, cut into tiny 1/4 inch cubes (we have been known to grill the sausage seperately and add on top…but it is better to combine it ahead) 

1t salt

1/4 t ground black pepper

1 1/2 pounds ground chuck or ground beef (20% fat)

Caramelized onions

1 1/2 pounds onions,  thinly sliced 

2 T olive oil, plus more for brushing grill rack

3 garlic cloves, minced

1T brown sugar (we use golden)

6 split hamburger buns 

3 cups watercress or butter lettuce

8 ounces crumbled blue cheese (optional)

What to do:

For mayo: Mix all ingredients in small bowl. Cover and refrigerate. (can be made 2 days ahead)

For burgers: Toss all ingredients together and blend gently. Form into six patties.  Cover and chill. (can be made 1 day ahead) 

For onions: Prepare grill or heat stove to medium-high heat. Toss onions, oil, sugar, and garlic into a large skillet. Cook until onions are golden, stirring often – around 25 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. (can be made 1 day ahead)

Lightly toast buns on grill. Grill burgers to desired doneness.  Top each burger with mayo, onions, blue cheese, and lettuce.  Serve remaining mayo on side. 

Dig in!!
Celebration worthy sides:

Beet, tomato and goat cheese salad with basil vinaigrette:

We thought a few more fireworks need to explode in your mouth, and this tasty salad with a sweet basil vinaigrette from the cafe sucre farine should do the trick!  This vinaigrette is bright, beautiful, sweet and tangy. Very addicting and delicious on any salad. 

Here is the link to this magical elixir of a dressing. We found no way to improve on it…now that’s saying something!!

As for the salad we just layered fresh sliced tomatoes, roasted beets, a sprinkling of goat cheese, and a drizzle of the sweet basil vinaigrette. Voila!! 

  Gorgeous if we do say so ourselves!!

New Potato Salad with Green Harissa:

Another side that we love…and this is unusual for us because we think it’s very hard to make a potato salad with flavor…is the new potatoes with green Harissa from Alexandra cooks

This potato salad is a blue-ribbon winner, and the Harissa brings so much flavor…your tongue might just sing Yankee Doodle in glee!  The color dulls a little when mixed with the potatoes but not the taste.  And bonus for no mayo so it can sit out with no fear! 

You start out with some baby new potatoes, a couple of handfuls of fresh herbs, garlic, lemon, and some olive oil, a jalapeño, salt and pepper


Then you cook the potatoes…we tried Alexandra’s technique and loved it. 


Now it’s time to make the green Harissa…the bursts of flavor have arrived!!! 



Now just mix and serve 


Delish!! Find the full recipe here

The grand finale:

Belles live for the magic of fireworks. We picked a dessert you could make ahead of time, was cool, all-American, and could be eaten with your hands while watching the sky light up!! Brilliant, we humbly say, in the form of ice cream sandwiches. You will be whistling Dixie when you eat these…promise! 

Via the rare belle
Saltine Cracker Ice Cream Sandwiches from The Smitten Kitchen

We followed this recipe to the letter EXCEPT we doubled the caramel…why do when you can overdo???

You line a pan with greasd foil and lay your saltines in a single layer. 


Then you make your toffee (this is the part we doubled)  


Pour it over zee saltines, and bake in oven for a bit… 


Time to add the chocolate and nuts (optional) and spread about, 



A little cooling time is in order, then add your ice cream, assemble, and freeze for a good bit. Remove from freezer and you should have something like this: 


Cut into individual serving sizes: 


Belle-icious, belle-ectable, belle-worthy. 

Find the full recipe here

Wishing y’all an easy, celebratory and gourmet Independence Day!