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Something Sweet and Something Savory for Your July 4th Shindig: Shrimp Dip and Berry Tartlets

Oh's finally here. The dog days of summer have been long, hot, and sticky. Yet, when the first week of July rolls around, it all seems so worth it. Let the 4th of July celebrations begin! The glorious fumes of charcoal burning, the delightfully obnoxious sound of fireworks booming, and the laughter from friends and family all fill the warm summer air. For a cuisine connoisseur, the food takes the spotlight. I dream of burgers, brats, and beer during those first few days of July. With celebration invitations coming my way left and right, I also think about what concoctions I'll whip up as my party contributions.

This year I'll be enjoying the surf and sand of St. Pete Beach, just a hop, skip, and jump away from my home in Tampa. Although I'll probably be mostly going out to eat during my 2 night stay, I decided to offer up some of my favorite Independence Day snacks to share with friends. Super simple and hassle free, these recipes are perfect for your last minute party preparation. The Shrimp dip calls for only 6 ingredients and has been in my family for over 50 years. The insanely easy Berry Tartlets were recently created by my brother's fiancé, Sloan and devoured in seconds. Here's to a safe, rain-free, fun, and delicious 4th of July for all...

Simple Shrimp Dip

4 Ounces Cream cheese
1- 8 ounce package Sour Cream
2 tsp. Lemon juice
1 (0.7 oz.) package Italian dressing seasoning mix
2 Tbsp. finely chopped red bell pepper
1/3 pound peeled, deveined, and cooked pink shrimp, chopped

1) Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy.
2) Stir in remaining ingredients.
3) Chill for at least one hour
4) Garnish with a sprinkling of diced red bell pepper and serve with crackers or blue corn tortilla chips.

Cream Cheese Berry Tartlets

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
4 (1.9 oz.) boxes mini pyhllo pastry shell cups
Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries

1) Beat cream cheese until softened.
2) Slowly mix in sweetened condensed milk and beat until completely smooth.
3) Stir in lemon juice and vanilla extract.
4) Fill mini shells with about 2 tsp. of the cream cheese mixture.
5) Let chill in fridge for 2-3 hours.
6) Top with berries and serve.

Happy Fourth of July!! Eat, Drink, and Be Merry! 

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