This summer, I decided that I’m going to make every celebration as easy as I possibly can. That means less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying the outdoors with a drink in hand, laughing with my friends. Usually my husband John does most of the cooking (ok, all of the cooking!) and most events leave him stuck in the kitchen most of the day. He doesn’t necessarily mind cooking, but he does get frustrated having to spend the whole day running around- back and forth to the stove, the oven, and the grill while still trying to hang out. Because this is the fate of pretty much every party host since the beginning of time, I decided that I wanted to create a no-cook Fourth of July party. I figured where better to start than Trader Joe’s! I’ve been a fan of Trader Joe’s for a while now (and this post is in no way sponsored by them) so I thought it be a great place to go and get some ready-made, delicious, fresh options for a Fourth of July party.
*This post contains affiliate links.
Before we get into the food, let’s talk about the table setup. For starters, I decided that I’m tired of always having crappy disposable plates and cups that are terrible for the environment and always manage to blow away. In addition, everyone always ends up losing their cup and using a whole bunch of extra ones- which makes it even worse for the environment. Because of this, I decided that I was going to use only reusable items and keep the party smaller so that I can have a nice intimate gathering with my guests where we could actually talk instead of spending the entire time trying to cater to a huge group and just spending the whole party cooking.
Before I bought any party supplies, I searched my house for appropriate red, white and blue items. First, I grabbed an affordable tablecloth that I had purchased from Amazon. The table runner was from Home Goods and it was perfect for adding a pop of blue to the table. Then I added a red star table runner I had purchased years ago from H&M on top so there’s also a pop of red. On the sides of the table where the runner did not extend, I used reusable napkins as placemats. The red stripe plates were from Target as part of their Hearth & Hand collection and were ideal for adding the perfect nautical touch to the table spread. I used my regular utensils from my dinner set and added a red napkin, folded in half to keep it simple. Then I scattered some blue tea light holders with battery operated tea lights to add a little light and romance as the sun goes down.
Now, onto the Trader Joe’s stuff that I purchased for this party that I’m so excited about! I originally went to Trader Joe’s for only a few items, including flowers and a pie. I managed to find red, white and blue flowers that were only a few dollars each and added a nice touch to the table. When I went to the bakery section, I found a pie which couldn’t be more perfect for the Fourth of July. It’s strawberry rhubarb (YUM) and it has stars on the crust (what?!). I grabbed those two items and continued about my normal shopping trip, when I realized there were so many easy and delicious options that were ready-made that would be perfect for a Fourth of July party. So, I decided that I was going to grab them and I changed this event from just a regular Fourth of July tablescape to a Trader Joe’s easy-to-do party theme. Because let’s be honest, if we can find a great shortcut, we want to do it!
I went to the drink section and grabbed some Red Stripe beers and Spiked Seltzer, both of which had a great nautical red, white and blue theme to them. I think one of the best parts about this is that you don’t even need cups, so it’s one less thing to wash, less waste if you’re using plastic cups, and everyone will know which drink is theirs because it’ll just be in front of them or in their hand. Plus, having the option of a beer or a spiked seltzer means that you’ll have something for everyone. They’ve also got great rosés and craft beers if you chose to go that route too. Or to really celebrate the 4th, you could pick an American beer!
I decided to keep the food super simple just like everything else. I made a salad with mixed greens, fresh strawberries, blueberries, and feta cheese to keep with that red white and blue theme. You can also add nuts like sliced almonds if you want to! I added Trader Joe’s vinaigrette on the side so that people could serve themselves and the salad wouldn’t get mushy.
I also decided to make a really simple cheese and charcuterie platter since we all love a good cheese! I started by using a goat cheese log covered in blueberries- again, going with the theme. I served them with bread crisps, which ended up being really good. Usually these types of crackers end up being rock hard and not good (at all) but these were really soft and crispy, the perfect texture to hold the goat cheese and meats. They also work great for avocado toast too!
I picked up a meat platter in the refrigerated section and everything was pre-sliced and ready to go. I personally don’t eat these types of meats (I pretty much just eat chicken and turkey!) but I figured it be great for everyone else to enjoy. Trader Joe’s also has tons of ready-made salads, sandwiches, and pasta salads so you could grab some pre-made meals for your gals. Just place them on a pretty platter and everything’s ready to go with no fuss and no cooking!
Aside from the fact that everything so simple to do, Trader Joe’s is actually very affordable and I prefer getting pre-made things from their supermarket over others. For starters, Trader Joe’s is usually smaller than most supermarkets, and I think that’s what makes it better. Instead of wandering the aisles looking at 1 million different brands and getting overwhelmed, you’re able to see everything laid out really nicely and neatly. You know where all the pre-made stuff is and you have a choice of only the best items, so you never have to worry that the things that you purchase are going to be bad for your guests. I also love that they have a great selection of craft beers and that you’re able to mix and match your own set, which is perfect for trying new ones out.
Ever since baby Hailey came around, I find that I want to keep my events as simple as possible. In the end, it’s all about spending time with friends- having fun and getting to hear about each other’s day. We’ve all become busy and have our own full lives, so we need to take a break from all that to relax and unwind. The opposite of relaxing is spending the whole day cooking for everyone! So, run out to your local Trader Joe’s and grab some pre-made meals for your friends. Then kick back and relax- it’s all been taken care of!
What are your favorite pre-made Trader Joe’s products to serve your guests? Will you be skipping the cooking at your next summer event? Let me know in the comments below!