Independence Day picnic foods


Alabama Extension, Wikimedia Commons

Grill a pile of tasty hot dogs when you gather for a celebration.

 

Many of us like to gather with family and friends on the Fourth of July, and it is well known that people like to eat when having a celebration (or anytime). It could be at your own table, in your back yard, at a park or anywhere else for that matter.


Since July is one of our hotter months, keep in mind that food safety is a must. Try to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.


My family used to go to a local lake to watch fireworks, back in the days when you could get a good parking spot in a field and sit on the tailgate to watch the grand display. My boys are grown and living elsewhere now, so we don’t go anywhere. But we do still love to get the red, white and blue decor out and enjoy a nice at-home barbecue.


Here are some favorite recipes I have been sifting through for just this occasion. If you already have your July 4 menu planned, these recipes fit in nicely all summer. Take care and have a safe holiday.


Baked beans


2 slices bacon, diced


1 small sweet onion, diced


1 bell pepper, diced (any color)


2 cloves garlic, minced


1 tablespoon smoked paprika


1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder


1/4 teaspoon salt


1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar


2 tablespoons barbecue sauce (your favorite)


2 tablespoons ketchup


1 tablespoon Dijon mustard


1 tablespoon brown sugar


2 cans (22-oz. each) baked beans (a good choice is Bush’s Grillin’ Beans)


2 slices bacon, for topping, optional


1. Preheat oven to 400. Heat a large (oven safe, if you don’t want to transfer) skillet over medium-low heat and add the bacon. Cook until it is brown and crisp and most of the fat is rendered.


2. Stir in the onion, bell pepper and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, barbecue sauce, ketchup, mustard and brown sugar until combined.


3. Stir in the baked beans and bring the mixture to a boil, then remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. If you like, you can lay a couple of bacon strips over the top at this point.


4. Place the skillet (or transfer to an oven-safe dish) in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until bubbly and syrupy. Remove and let cool slightly before serving. Makes 6 servings.


Easy crunchy coleslaw with bacon


1/3 cup Miracle Whip dressing


1 tablespoon sugar


1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar


1 package (8-oz.) coleslaw mix


1/2 cup cocktail peanuts (or cashews), chopped


4 slices crisp cooked bacon, crumbled


1. In a small bowl, mix Miracle Whip, sugar and vinegar until well blended.


2. In a medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Add dressing mixture and mix lightly.


3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Makes 6 servings.


Grilled hot dogs


1/2 cup chili sauce


1 teaspoon onion powder


1 teaspoon garlic powder


2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce


1 1/2 tablespoons mustard


1 tablespoon brown sugar


1/2 teaspoon salt


1/8 teaspoon pepper


8 hot dogs


8 hot dog buns


1. With a small, sharp knife, make cuts at an angle in 2 rows down each hot dog, about 1/2 inch apart, cutting part way into the hot dog. The cuts should look like rounded half circles.


2. Mix together the chili sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Pour into a large resealable bag, add hot dogs and let marinate for 15 to 20 minutes up to overnight.


3. Heat a barbecue grill to medium high. Grill the hot dogs until nicely charred and the cuts open up, about 4 to 5 minutes total. Serve with the buns and your favorite condiments, such as relish, chopped onions, sauerkraut, shredded cheese or whatever you like. Makes 8 servings.


Sheet cake with sprinkles


For the cake:


2 1/2 cups flour


1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder


3/4 teaspoon baking soda


1 1/2 cups sugar


1 cup vegetable oil


3 eggs


1 cup sour cream


1 tablespoon vanilla


1/4 cup red, white and blue sprinkles


For the frosting:


1 cup unsalted butter, softened


3 cups confectioners’ sugar


1/2 cup heavy cream


1 tablespoon vanilla


2 to 3 tablespoons red, white and blue sprinkles


1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9-by-13-inch pan with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.


2. In a large bowl, beat together sugar and oil with an electric mixer for 1 minute. Add the eggs and continue beating until well mixed. With the mixer on low, gradually add half the flour mixture, followed by the sour cream. Add remaining flour and continue mixing until fully incorporated. Add vanilla, then rainbow sprinkles, and continue mixing until well blended.


3. Transfer batter to prepared pan, use a spatula to smooth the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely.


4. In a medium mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar, cream and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Gradually increase to high speed and continue mixing for 3 to 4 minutes.


5. Spread frosting over cooled cake, then add sprinkles. Store cake in an airtight container until ready to serve.