Skip to content

Nelnet Partner Solutions July 4th Recipes: From Our Grill to Yours

June 20, 2012

Did you know that Americans eat 7 billion hot dogs each summer, 150 million of those on July 4th alone*?! (*National Hot Dog and Sausage Council) What are your favorite “eats” for July 4th? Do you have traditions or do you like to try new recipes every year?

During Thanksgiving, the Nelnet Partner Solutions team shared some of their favorite holiday recipes with you. That article was so popular; we decided to do the same thing for July 4th. We hope you enjoy and have a fun and safe holiday!

Kristi Jones, Southern Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

This recipe makes approx 50 appetizers.   You will need a mini muffin pan and a small dowel to push the wrappers into the pan.

Ingredients for the mix:
1 Roll Hot Sausage
1 bell Pepper (Red, Yellow or Orange)
1 small can of chopped olives
1 8oz package sharp cheddar cheese
1 8oz package pepper jack cheese (I use Habanera Jack because I like them spicy)
1/4 to 1/2 cup of ranch dressing (depends on how much you like ranch)

Ingredients for the shells:
1 Package of Won-Ton wrappers
Olive Oil Spray

Directions:  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Brown sausage in a skillet, drain the fat, and let it cool down. Spray muffin pan with olive oil, press a won-ton wrapper into each hole, and then lightly spray again before putting into the oven @ 350 degrees for approx 5 -7 minutes. Take them out of the oven and put them on a cookie sheet to cool down. Repeat until you have none left. Shred the cheese (unless you bought pre-shredded cheese). Chop the pepper into very small pieces. In a large bowl, mix together sausage, cheese, olives, peppers until combined well. Add the ranch dressing, and mix again until mixture is moist. Spoon the mixture into each won ton wrapper. Put back in the oven still @ 350 degrees until mixture is bubbling. Remove from oven. Place on serving dish, and watch everyone devour them! 🙂

Don Buehrer, Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions


1/2 lb Velveeta cheese

3 oz cream cheese

1/8 tsp garlic powder

½ cup chopped black walnuts

Chili powder


Mix all ingredients together. Shape into a roll using waxed paper. Roll in chili powder. Keep refrigerated until used. Serve with crackers.

Raina Chezem, Midwest Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions


Yields 20 pieces. Gluten-free.


1 tbsp olive oil

20 large prawns, shelled

1 tbsp chili garlic paste

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 avocados from Mexico, finely diced

1 green onion, sliced

1 lemon, juice and zest

20 sesame rice crackers

20 cilantro leaves


In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil and shrimp.  Cook shrimp for 2 to 4 minutes per side until they turn orange/red in color and opaque. Add chili garlic paste and stir to coat, continuing to cook for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside for later use. In a medium-sized bowl, combine cilantro, avocados, green onion, lemon juice and zest. Top each cracker with 1 tsp avocado spread and 1 prawn. Garnish with a cilantro leaf. Serve immediately.

Jim Harris, Managing Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions


Whether you are having a big salad, chicken wings, crudités, or just need a dip for crackers, homemade blue cheese dressing is a great option.  I do not like store bought salad dressing, so I usually make my own.  This is one of my favorites. The key is fresh ingredients, always.


¾ cup mayo (later you can add an extra Tbsp n if you want to thicken the dressing)

¼ cup half and half

¾ cup sour cream

2 cloves freshly-crushed garlic (minced very well)

1 Tbsp white vinegar (not red, ever. You’ll have pink dressing.  You can also add another tbsp of vinegar later if you want to thin the dressing)

4 Tbsp fresh parsley (remove the stems and chop the leaves)

6 oz crumbled blue cheese or Roquefort (whatever you like)

¼ tsp white pepper

1 tsp salt


Mix together in large bowl and then pour into a clean bowl for serving.  It is good to let it sit for a few hours or make the day before.  Also, I don’t measure anything. (That is why I can’t bake.)  So adjust to your taste, you can’t mess it up.

Dawn Knight, Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions


Submitted by Dawn Knight c/o her Chef hubby, Ed Fertig


1 Tbsp. chopped shallots

1 small bag thawed frozen or fresh raspberries

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

½ tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. finely ground black pepper

¼ cup raspberry vinegar

2 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. Chambord or Crème de Cassis (optional)

3 leaves fresh basil


Put shallots, raspberries, salt, pepper, basil, and lemon juice in food processor and process until smooth. With processor running, add olive oil in a thin stream until incorporated.  Add Chambord if desired. Put in a sauce pot to warm it a bit.  Serve grilled salmon on top of the sauce.  Garnish with fresh basil leaf.

Jodi Miller, Western Regional Director & Social Media Strategist, Nelnet Partner Solutions


Makes 4 servings.


1 tsp ground coriander seeds

1 lb flank steak

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp packed brown sugar

2 tsp minced peeled ginger (sushi ginger is good)

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tsp peanut oil

¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped


Press coriander onto both sides of steak. Stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and oil. Pour over steak, turning to coat. Marinate for 1 hour. Heat grill. Place steak on middle rack of grill and cook 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board; let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Amy Moser, Southern Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions


I don’t cook, but a SASFAA Past President allowed me the opportunity to share her dad’s simple cobbler recipe. Thank you, Susan!


1 cup sugar

1 cup self-rising flour

1 cup milk

1 stick of butter

2 cups fresh fruit or 1 can of pie filling


Mix sugar and flour together. Melt butter and mix with milk. Combine all ingredients and bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Top with your favorite ice cream if you dare.


Jeff Recker, National Product Manager, Responsible Repay


Ok, this is really easy…

Take one hot dog.  Unwrap hotdog. Turn on Grill. Cook at medium high until grill lines appear.  Remove hot dog with tongs.  Place on bun.  Add ketchup and mustard.  Happy 4th!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Just Dawn permalink
    June 20, 2012 10:44 am

    Really, Jeff? Really?! Note to self: Do not go to Jeff’s home for 4th of July if invited.
    Plan B: If too awkward to decline then bring own food. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: