Burgers and hot dogs are so overdone! Celebrate America’s birthday with these alternative treats to enjoy before taking in the fireworks.

BBQ CHICKEN GRILLED FLATBREAD PIZZA

Celebrate Independence Day with an American staple: BBQ chicken. Add it to a flatbread pizza, and you have a recipe that’s sure to please.

Ingredients:

Pre-made pizza dough (such as Trader Joe’s)
Cooked chicken breast and/or 2 thighs
1 cup BBQ sauce
Red onion
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Ricotta cheese
Olive oil
Sugar
Salt & pepper
Basil, for garnish

Directions:

Prepare your grill for barbecuing over medium heat.
In a small bowl, pour the red wine vinegar and a teaspoon each of sugar and salt, and stir until dissolved. Slice the red onion into rings, cover and marinate in the vinegar for at least 20 minutes.
Remove the skin, if any, and chop your chicken into bite-sized pieces. In a small pan over low heat, add in the BBQ sauce and chicken. Once it begins to bubble, give it a stir, cover and remove from the heat.
In another small pan over low heat, pour a few tablespoons of olive oil and add your garlic. Once hot, only cook for a minute or two, as garlic burns easily. Once you start to smell the garlic, turn off the heat. Set aside.
Follow the directions on the pizza dough package. Once ready to be rolled out, place onto a lightly floured surface and roll out until very thin. Lightly coat both sides with olive oil.
Using a paper towel coated in olive oil, wipe down your grill to make it non-stick. Carefully place the pizza dough directly on the grill. It’ll only require a few minutes on each side. Don’t try to turn it too soon before it's had a chance to release from the grill, or it’ll tear. Use tongs to turn and remove.
Place your dough on a large cutting board, then coat with the garlic and garlic-infused olive oil, salt and pepper. Add ricotta, followed by your chicken and pickled red onions. Garnish with torn basil, or other herb such as parsley or cilantro. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese for a tasty finish.

SPARKLING MOJITO

A healthy splash of your favorite beer gives this cocktail a refreshing twist. Before you say "WTF!?," give it a whirl!

Ingredients:

4 oz. vodka or white rum
A sprig of fresh mint, plus more for garnish
A couple of basil leaves
1/2 a lime cut into wedges, plus additional for garnish and rimming the glass
Tablespoon of simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar, heated until the sugar dissolves)
Beer (lighter beers work better)
Coarse sugar, such as Raw Sugar

Makes two cocktails.

Directions:

In a cocktail shaker, mull (smash) the mint, basil and lime. Pour in the simple syrup and vodka, then fill the rest with ice and shake well. Grab a cocktail glass, rim it with lime juice, then dip into sugar to coat the rim. Fill it with ice, then add a splash of beer and fill it with your mulled cocktail. Garnish with a wedge of lime and small sprig of mint. Umbrella optional!

Sean Michael Beyer is a freelance writer, graphic artist and The Guerrilla Culinarian, theguerrillaculinarian.blogspot.com. For recipe suggestions, food.editor@campuscircle.net.