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fourth of july meal

What’s Cooking? Make Fourth of July Sizzle with Amazing Summer Fare

It is crunch time people! Time to start rolling out those last-minute ideas for Fourth of July parties and family get-togethers and most importantly — the menu. Typically, the red, white and blue holiday is associated with old-fashioned fare and barbeque, but who said traditional was the only way?

Whether you’re firing up the grill or cooking indoors this year, any foodie can create a memorable experience with delectable fare for your family and friends with minimal time and effort. Wise in the ways of cooking and pleasing guests, here are a few tips to help your Fourth of July get-together sizzle.

Grilling is a great option when cooking for a large or even small group of people. While the go-to backyard summer party foods are, of course, hamburgers and hotdogs (or sausages), that doesn’t mean they’re the only option. For the vegetarian, offer the option to have a veggie or black bean burger.

And of course—what’s a meal without the option of a side?

From the healthy options of fruit and vegetables, to the pasta salads, cold salads and mini anything, there is never a shortage of ideas to make your Fourth of July get-together unique.

For the veggie-lovers, try roasting or sautéing your favorite seasonal vegetables for a light side dish option. Say no to traditional fruit salad and instead opt to take the fruit to the grill. And how about making your own potato chips with sweet or regular potatoes? It takes minimal time and is a healthy alternative to the store-bought kind. Finally, whip together your favorite pasta dish or pasta salad to round out your side options.

Don’t know what recipe to choose? This macaroni n’ cheese recipe from The Range Steakhouse at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino Resort is delicious and easy to re-create at home.

Recipe for Macaroni n’ Cheese

Place Velveeta cheese in a sauté pan and begin to melt down over medium heat. Once cheese is half melted, add cream and whisk together. Once fully incorporated, add cooked pasta to mix, season with salt and pepper and heat through. Once heated, add parmesan cheese and parsley. Remove from sauté pan and pour into cast iron skillet. Combine panko bread crumbs, chives and salt and pepper and add to the top of the finished mac & cheese. Place under broiler until golden brown.


  • 3oz. Velveeta CheeseFourth of July mac n cheese
  • 1oz. Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 TBL Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp. Olive Oil
  • ½ tsp. Chopped Chive
  • 1.5oz. Heavy Cream
  • 6oz. Cooked Pasta
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp. Chopped Parsley

Now that you have your holiday menu planned, there’s nothing left to do but to go out, enjoy the red, white and blue festivities and make yours the party to be envied!

Resort Food Trends 2012

Resort Food Forecast 2012

Whether traveling locally or visiting from out of state, the scenic beauty of a place or historical importance is not enough to make a memorable resort stay. While it is true that “location, location, location” remains a significant drawing point for tourists, a new attraction is beginning to emerge. Desiring more than just a little rest and relaxation, today’s resort guests also want to be wined and dined with unique fare and an unforgettable experience.

Not wanting to settle for typical hotel food, resort guests are enthusiastic about tasting and trying new or foreign delicacies. Resorts across the globe have caught on to the rapidly growing trend, transforming their menus to offer new and innovative food and beverage options. At Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino Resort in Maricopa, the resort food choices are endless as guests can choose from four on-site restaurants — ranging from traditional to modern — to please their palates.

Whether you are looking for a quick bite, a taste of something new or to satisfy a craving, following are a few resort food trends to be expected in resort restaurants this year:

Comfort food comeback

Guests are getting a little taste of home during their stay as comfort food takes over resort menus everywhere. No more traditional flavorless sides. Instead, chefs are providing new taste thrills by re-inventing the classics. Love mac and cheese? Chefs are getting creative by offering this all-American favorite fried, baked and even on top of burgers. It’s all about taking old favorites and reworking them into new culinary inventions.

All around the world

Looking for a little taste of everything? The recently renovated Buffet at Harrah’s Ak-Chin lets guests travel the world without leaving the resort by offering traditional American favorites along with Italian, Asian and Mexican specialties. As people travel more and taste buds change and evolve, so does the palate of today’s guests. From hand-carved meats to a selection of seafood favorites, buffets offer something different to please the palates of every guest.

La vida locavore

The concept of farm-to-table dining has truly gone mainstream. In the quest for providing healthier eating options, resorts are finding ways in which they can incorporate locally produced items into their menus to get guests to dine locally. Expect preservative-free options with smoothie shots, healthy granola bars, juice blends and trail mix. From the mini-bar to the resort restaurants, offering menu items featuring locally grown produce and organic fare will have guests eating a whole lot healthier this year.

In-house to in-room dining

For many resort guests, being on vacation means being lazy. After all the tours and sightseeing, guests want to unwind without having to get dressed and head out for dinner. The new and improved in-room dining experience allows guests to have restaurant quality food in the comfort of their room. The menus now offer a gourmet twist on traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner items as well as dishes from the on-site restaurant.

To-die-for desserts

Does that sweet tooth have you browsing the candy bar section of your resort gift shop? Skip the gift shop and indulge in a decadent dessert from the resort restaurant. Today’s resorts are making desserts a little sweeter by super-sizing treats and adding twists on throwback childhood favorites like cookies and milk. The Range Steakhouse at Harrah’s Ak-Chin, offers more than your typical hot fudge sundae. The famous oversized desserts leave diners speechless and their sweet tooth satisfied.

As we watch the restaurant industry grow and diversify, we can’t help but wonder what’s next. With authentic options and unique takes on old favorites capturing the empty stomachs of resort guests today, Harrah’s Ak-Chin and resorts across the nation will surely be setting the trend when it comes to innovative creations to please the palate.