You may have your Fourth of July menu all planned out. But here are some last-minute ideas that are quick and easy, and feature some ingredients you may already have planned to serve or have on hand.

My new favorite is corn on the cob taken to new heights by the addition of — you guessed it — bacon.

I put a little seasoning on the corn, but it’s really the bacon that’s the star here. Bacon and corn go amazingly well together. Well, I suppose bacon goes with just about everything. By wrapping the corn in bacon and cooking it wrapped in foil, the corn is literally basted with bacon drippings while it cooks.

If potato salad is a must-have on the Fourth of July, try a little red, white and blue potato salad. The recipe below uses red, white and blue potatoes for that patriotic look, but you can use all one color if you like.

But what really makes this different is the addition of Boursin cheese, a suggestion I took from chef Jay Christmas. Boursin is a soft creamy cheese that when softened blends into the mayo-sour cream dressing, adding just a little garlicky oomph to the overall flavor. I like the Garlic & Fine Herbs Boursin, but any flavor of Boursin will work.

If you need an easy, kid-friendly snack to take to a party, consider taco chicken roll-ups. Adapted from a recipe by reader Ashley Murray McIntosh, these sneak a little bit of vegetables and a whole lot of flavor into crowd-pleasing finger food. I found that the addition of hot sauce and lime juice really helped to brighten the flavors. I like Texas Pete because it’s mild and I can use a fair amount of it, but other hot sauces can be substituted.

Finally, for dessert, nothing says Fourth of July like red and blue berries, especially with lots of snowy whipped cream. The recipe below, adapted from Charlotte caterer Stacey Ann Dowd, uses fresh strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream with store-bought puff pastry — making this a fuss-free but impressive dessert. Use a star-shaped cookie cutter if you have one to carry through the Independence Day theme.

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Michael Hastings writes about food for the Winston-Salem Journal. Contact him at or 336-727-7394.

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