I don’t know why  everyone thinks they have to barbecue on July Fourth? 

Why not break the stereotype and make a delicious meal that allows you to enjoy your guests instead of standing over a very hot grill.  

The following menu is easy to prepare, but requires a slow cooker (you can even plug the slow cooker in outside, if you have access to  an outlet) and the rice is made in a rice cooker.(I plug my rice cooker in my outdoor outlet too.)  

See the June 23  article in The Island Now for more information on cooking rice in a rice cooker. 

The rest of the meal just requires washing and assembly.  

Finish off this easy meal with store-bought ice cream and you have a new tradition for the Fourth of July.  

No one will ever miss the hamburgers and hot dogs. 

And, you will not miss sweating over the fire. Trust me!


Serves 8


Slow Cooker Beef  or 

Chicken in Lettuce Wraps


Carrots, Spiralized

Cucumbers, Sliced*

Seaweed Salad*

Chili Dipping Sauce*

Soy and Sesame Dipping 


*Recipe Not Given

(NOTE:  Seaweed Salad and 

Chili Dipping Sauce are 

available at Asian Supermar-

kets, like Shin Nippon in 

Roslyn, H-Mart at various 

locations or North Shore 

Farms, various locations)


Slow Cooker Beef or 

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

(You may easily make this 

with chicken or beef, I made 

chicken and beef to offer a 

choice to my guests)


Cooking Spray

1 large onion, cut into 

1/2-inch slices

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 (2-lb) boneless chuck roast 

or eye round roast, trimmed

or 2 lbs. boneless skinless 

chicken breasts

1/2 cup unsalted beef stock

1/4 cup lower-sodium soy sauce

2 tblsp Freshly ground pepper

2 tblsp brown sugar

2 tblsp unsalted tomato paste

1 tblsp white miso

1-2 heads of fresh lettuce 

cups, cleaned and dried

1.  In a large ziploc bag,  place brown sugar, soy sauce and pepper. Add meat, and massage. Place in refrigerator and marinate for up to 36 hours. 

2. Spray sides of a 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.  Layer onion slices in bottom of slow cooker; top with garlic.  Place beef on top, and accumulated juices from the ziploc bag. Add beef stock, tomato paste and miso. Set cooker to high and cook for 6 hours.

3.  Just before serving, shred beef with 2 forks and serve.


Carrots, Spiralized

4 Carrots peeled

1. Either using a spiralizer or a julienne peeler, cut the carrots into strips. Place in a bowl and serve with another bowl of spiralized or sliced cucumbers, and a platter of fresh lettuce cups


Soy and Sesame

Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup lower sodium 

soy sauce

1/8 cup rice wine vinegar

1/8 cup canola oil

1/8 cup sesame oil

1 scallion, green part only 

sliced thinly

2 tbls brown sugar

1. Place all ingredients in an empty jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake vigorously. 

2. Serve alongside your meat and veggie accompaniments.


Alexandra Troy is owner of Culinary Architect Catering, a 33-year old Greenvale-based company, specializing in private, corporate and promotional parties.  For more photos and presentation follow Culinary Architect Catering on Facebook.

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