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Delicious + kid-friendly recipes for the 4th of July weekend

Bring on the fireworks and good food!

kid-friendly recipes

The summer season means it's officially grilling season and with the 4th of July on the horizon, it's only right that we rounded up our favorite backyard recipes. And don't feel like you have to host a gathering to make yummy dishes for the holiday. These kid-friendly meals and sides are great for the entire family. Just be sure to make enough—these meals go fast. Enjoy!

Here are our favorite recipes to prepare on Independence day weekend:

1. Watermelon feta salad

Parker Feierbach

Serves: 4

Total time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 cup cubed seedless watermelon
  • 1 cup medium cucumber, chopped
  • 1 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped mint
  • Flaky sea salt, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar and salt.
  2. In a large serving bowl, combine watermelon, cucumber, feta, red onion and mint. Pour over dressing, tossing to combine.
  3. Garnish with more mint and flaky sea salt.

Recipe by Delish

2. Grilled guacamole

Taste of Home

Serves: 12

Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 plum tomatoes, halved and seeded
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, halved and seeded
  • 2 tbsp canola oil, divided
  • 3 medium ripe avocados, halved and pitted
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Tortilla chips

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine onion, tomatoes, pepper and 1 tablespoon oil; gently toss to coat. Grill, covered, over medium-high heat or broil 4 in. from heat 6-8 minutes or until tender and charred, turning occasionally. Brush avocados with remaining oil. Grill or broil avocados, cut side down, 4-6 minutes or until charred. Cool vegetables completely.
  2. Chop onion, tomatoes and pepper; set aside. Peel avocados; transfer to a large bowl and mash with a fork. Stir in vegetables, cilantro, lime juice, cumin and salt. Serve immediately with chips.

Recipe by TasteofHome

3. Pasta salad

Ayesha Firdaus on Unsplash

Serves: 8

Total time: 35 minutes

Instructions:

  • 12 ounces fun-shaped pasta, such as radiatore
  • 8 slices thin bacon
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Dash sugar, optional
  • 10 ounces grape tomatoes (yellow and red), halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 pound Cheddar, cut into small cubes
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Ground black pepper
  • 24 whole basil leaves, chiffonade

Instructions:

  1. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Then drain and rinse in cold water until cool. Set aside.
  2. Cut the bacon into 1/2-inch pieces and throw into a large skillet. Saute until slightly crisp, and then remove to a paper-towel-lined-plate.
  3. For the dressing, mix the mayonnaise, milk, vinegar, salt and sugar if using in a small bowl.
  4. Stir together the pasta, dressing, tomatoes, bacon, Cheddar and green onions in a large mixing bowl. Taste for seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if needed.
  5. Stir in the basil at the end.

Recipe by FoodNetwork

4. Shrimp rolls

Joslyn Blair

Serves: 4

Total time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp prepared horseradish
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • kosher salt
  • 8 hot dog buns, preferably split top, toasted
  • Scallions, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Boil shrimp in salted boiling water until opaque, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and transfer to a cutting board to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together celery, mayonnaise, lemon juice, horseradish, and paprika and season with salt.
  3. Chop shrimp and add to mayo mixture. Spoon shrimp mixture into toasted buns and garnish with scallions.

Recipe by Delish

5. Beer bratwurst

The Spruce

Serves: 6

Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil (or butter, divided)
  • 6 bratwurst
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 6 ounces beer

Instructions:

  1. In a large Dutch oven, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil or butter.
  2. Brown the bratwurst until they're a deep golden brown. Do not puncture the sausages or they will become dry. Remove to a platter.
  3. To the drippings, add the remaining teaspoon of olive oil or butter and the sweet onion rings. Toss the onions to coat them with the oil.
  4. Cook, stirring often until onions are limp and golden, but not brown. Return the bratwurst to the onions and add the beer.
  5. Cook over medium heat, turning midway through until the beer has cooked down to a syrup, about 12 to 15 minutes.
  6. Bratwurst may be served on buns with the onions or as an entrée.
Recipe by ThespruceEats

6. Easy strawberry tart

Delish

Serves: 10

Total time: 3 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 10 tbsp of melted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 blocks cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 lb strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 3 tbsp strawberry or raspberry preserves

Instructions:

  1. To make the crust, preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Add melted butter and stir until dough forms. Press mixture into a 10" or 11" tart pan with a removable bottom, pressing until dough is smooth. Prick all over with a fork and bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely.
  2. Meanwhile, make filling: In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form, 7 minutes. In another large bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add lemon juice and zest, and vanilla. Beat until combined. Fold in whipped cream, then spoon into cooled crust and smooth top.
  3. Starting on the outside, arrange strawberries on top of tart in a circle until entire tart is covered.
  4. In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat together preserves and 2 teaspoons water until warmed, 30 seconds. Brush over tart and refrigerate until well chilled, 2 hours.

Recipe by Delish

7. Tomato-basil salad

Food Network

Serves: 6 to 8

Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 pint red grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 pint yellow grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 16 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade, plus more if needed
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and stir, lightly frying for about a minute and removing from the heat before the garlic gets too brown (it can be golden).
  2. Pour it into a mixing bowl and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Add the tomatoes, balsamic, basil and some salt and pepper to the bowl.
  4. Toss to combine, and then taste and add more basil if needed, and more salt if needed.

Recipe by FoodNetwork





Tips parents need to know about poor air quality and caring for kids with asthma

There are steps parents can take to keep their children as healthy as possible.

When wildfires struck the West Coast in September 2020, there was a lot for parents to worry about. For parents of children with asthma, though, the danger could be even greater. "There are more than 400 toxins that are present in wildfire smoke. That can activate the immune system in ways that aren't helpful by both causing an inflammatory response and distracting the immune system from fighting infection," says Amy Oro, MD, a pediatrician at Stanford Children's Health. "When smoke enters into the lungs, it causes irritation and muscle spasms of the smooth muscle that is around the small breathing tubes in the lungs. This can lead to difficulty with breathing and wheezing. It's really difficult on the lungs."

With the added concern of COVID-19 and the effect it can have on breathing, many parents feel unsure about how to keep their children protected. The good news is that there are steps parents can take to keep their children as healthy as possible.

Here are tips parents need to know about how to deal with poor air quality when your child has asthma.

Minimize smoke exposure.

Especially when the air quality index reaches dangerous levels, it's best to stay indoors as much as possible. You can find out your area's AQI at AirNow.gov. An under 50 rating is the safest, but between 100-150 is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as children with asthma. "If you're being told to stay indoors, listen. If you can, keep the windows and doors closed," Oro says.

Do your best to filter the air.

According to Oro, a HEPA filter is your best bet to effectively clean pollutants from the air. Many homes are equipped with a built-in HEPA filter in their air conditioning systems, but you can also get a canister filter. Oro says her family (her husband and children all suffer from asthma) also made use of a hack from the New York Times and built their own filter by duct taping a HEPA furnace filter to the front of a box fan. "It was pretty disgusting what we accumulated in the first 20 hours in our fan," she says.

Avoid letting your child play outside or overly exert themselves in open air.

"Unfortunately, cloth masks don't do very much [to protect you from the smoke pollution]," Oro says. "You really need an N95 mask, and most of those have been allocated toward essential workers." To keep at-risk children safer, Oro recommends avoiding brisk exercise outdoors. Instead, set up an indoor obstacle course or challenge your family to jumping jacks periodically to keep everyone moving safely.

Know the difference between smoke exposure and COVID-19.

"COVID-19 can have a lot of the same symptoms—dry cough, sore throat, shortness of breath and chest pain could overlap. But what COVID and other viruses generally cause are fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea and body aches. Those would tell you it's not just smoke exposure," Oro says. When a child has been exposed to smoke, they often complain of a "scrape" in their throat, burning eyes, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain or wheezing. If the child has asthma, parents should watch for a flare of symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing or a tight sensation in their chest.

Unfortunately, not much is known about long-term exposure to wildfire smoke on a healthy or compromised immune system, but elevated levels of air pollution have been associated with increased COVID-19 rates. That's because whenever there's an issue with your immune system, it distracts your immune system from fighting infections and you have a harder time fighting off viruses. Limiting your exposure to wildfire smoke is your best bet to keep immune systems strong.

Have a plan in place if you think your child is suffering from smoke exposure.

Whatever type of medication your child takes for asthma, make sure you have it on-hand and that your child is keeping up with regular doses. Contact your child's pediatrician, especially if your area has a hazardous air quality—they may want to adjust your child's medication schedule or dosage to prevent an attack. Oro also recommends that, if your child has asthma, it might be helpful to have a stethoscope or even a pulse oximeter at home to help diagnose issues with your pediatrician through telehealth.

Most importantly, don't panic.

In some cases, social distancing and distance learning due to COVID may be helping to keep sensitive groups like children with asthma safer. Oro says wildfires in past years have generally resulted in more ER visits for children, but the most recent fires haven't seen the same results. "A lot of what we've seen is that the smoke really adversely affects adults, especially older adults over 65," Oro says. "Children tend to be really resilient."

This article was sponsored by Stanford Children's Health. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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