Independence Day is America's birthday, but Benjamin Franklin thought it should be celebrated July 2, the day the Declaration of Independence was actually adopted. Instead, it was revised, and the final version was adopted two days later, making July 4 the federal holiday.
Because the signing of the Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 men from 13 colonies, the Boston Tea Party was borne. This marked the beginning of an all-out war against the British, the American Revolutionary War. And three shiploads of taxed tea were dumped in the harbor by colonists, something to think about while sipping a cool iced tea on the fourth.
The "Star Spangled Banner," penned by Francis Scott Key, was written in 1814 after the British attacked Fort Henry in 1812. It started as a poem, put to music but not decreed to be the official national anthem until 1931.
BRING ON THE PICNIC FOOD — Potato salad is picnic food, and there will be many outdoor events for the holiday to welcome such a dish. This salad includes bacon added to the ingredients. -- Esther McCoy
Now you hear it at all types of sports games, parades, school events and on television. Stand with pride when it is played, with hand over heart, and men, remove your hat for a song that should bring pride to those who hear it.
This recipe is a bit different for potato salad as it contains crisp bacon. And everything tastes better with bacon. It is from Family Circle magazine.
Bacon Potato Salad
2 1/4 pounds small red potatoes, larger ones halved
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 slices bacon
2 ribs celery, diced
3 scallions, trimmed and sliced
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Place potatoes in a pot of water. Add enough cold water to cover by an inch. Bring to a boil; add 1 teaspoon salt. Cook 10 to 12 minutes until just tender. Drain; rinse with cool water. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes, turning as needed. Remove to a paper towel. Transfer potatoes to a serving bowl; add celery and scallions. In a small bowl, whisk together mayo, buttermilk, water, mustard, sugar, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Crumble bacon over potatoes; toss with dressing. Refrigerate until serving time. This makes six servings and is 197 calories per serving.
July 17 is National Hot Dog Day, but it should start on July 4, when many hot dogs will be grilled and consumed. This recipe is almost a barbecued meal in itself. It is a combination of potato wedges, hot dogs and onions grilled until the potatoes are tender and the hot dog is heated through. It is from Taste of Home magazine.
Hot Dog and Potato Packs
20-ounce package refrigerated red potato wedges
4 hot dogs
Small onion, cut into wedges
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
Divide potato wedges among four pieces heavy-duty foil, about an 18-inch square. Top each with a hot dog, onion wedges and cheese. Drizzle with barbecue sauce. Fold foil around mixture, sealing tightly. Grill, covered, over medium heat 10-15 minutes or until heated through. Open foil carefully to allow steam to escape. This is 293 calories for each foil packet.
Note: I could not find refrigerated red potato wedges so I cut potatoes in wedges and cooked them until they were barely done to use instead. I guessed on the weight of the potatoes, too. I thought it wouldn't matter if I put more potatoes than called for in each packet.
Corn on the cob is great barbecued on the grill, and this recipe is tasty with a flavorful butter spread over its kernels. The corn is grilled in heavy-duty foil to keep in the juices. It is from Taste of Home magazine.
Grilled Corn with Cilantro-Lime Butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime peel
12 medium ears sweet corn, husks removed
Grated cotija cheese, optional
In a small bowl, mix butter, cilantro, lime juice and peel. Shape into a log. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm. Wrap each ear of corn with a piece of heavy-duty foil, about 14 inches square. Grill, covered, over medium heat 15-20 minutes or until tender, turning occasionally. Meanwhile, cut lime butter into 12 slices. Remove from grill. Carefully open foil, allowing steam to escape. Serve with butter and if desired grated cheese. Each ear is 145 calories with the butter.
These deviled eggs have chopped veggies added to the filling. The recipe is from Good Housekeeping magazine.
Easy Deviled Eggs
12 large eggs
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
1/4 cup very finely chopped red pepper, using one-fourth of the whole pepper.
1/4 cup very finely chopped carrot, from a small carrot
2 tablespoons finely chopped dill pickles
2 tablespoons fresh dill leaves
Place eggs in 4-quart saucepan, add cold water, heat to boiling. Cover remove from heat and let stand 12 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Under running water, peel off shells and discard. Trim tops and bottoms so they will sit flat after being cut crosswise. Transfer yolks to a large bowl. Mash yolks and add mayonnaise, cayenne and 1/4 teaspoon salt until smooth. Stir in chopped red pepper, carrot, pickles and dill until well mixed. Spoon rounded teaspoon of yolk mixture into each egg white half. Place on serving platter. Eggs can be made up to a day ahead, covered and refrigerated. Makes 24 eggs, if you are lucky and do not tear up any egg whites while peeling them.
Here is a low-calorie salad that is from a favorite late homemaker, cook, food newsletter editor and healthful cooking guru, JoAnna Lund. She died about 10 years ago, but I have kept many of her Healthy Exchanges Newsletters. They work, as she lost 100 pounds in an effort to be healthy for her children who were serving in Operation Desert Storm at that time.
Bev's Broccoli Salad
1/2 cup fat free mayonnaise
2 tablespoons skim milk
Sugar substitute to equal 2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 cups chopped fresh broccoli
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 1/2 cups, 9 ounces, seedless red grapes
6 tablespoons raisins
6 tablespoons bacon bits
In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, skim milk and sugar substitute. Add broccoli, onion, grapes and raisins. Mix to combine. Fold in bacon bits. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Gently stir again just before serving. Makes six servings with 126 calories for each serving.
Since July is National Ice Cream Month, it wouldn't be right not to include a dessert made with ice cream.
This is from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook and is "easy as pie." It can be made in three different varieties.
2 pints strawberry ice cream, softened but not melted
Graham cracker crumb pie shell
Hot fudge topping.
Whipped cream or topping
Spoon softened ice cream into graham cracker shell. Cover and freeze 4 hours or until firm. To serve, let pie stand at room temperature 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. Top slices with warmed hot fudge ice cream topping and add whole strawberries, whipped cream and a sprinkling of toasted almonds.
Mint Ice Cream Pie
2 pints mint-chocolate chip ice cream, softened but not melted
Chocolate-flavored crumb pie shell
Hot fudge sauce
Chopped chocolate-mint layered candies or crushed peppermint candies
Spoon softened ice cream into a purchased chocolate crust, spreading evenly. To serve, let stand at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. Top with warmed fudge sauce and sprinkle with the chopped or crushed candies.
Caramel-Butter Pecan Ice Cream Pie
2 pints butter pecan ice cream, softened
Graham cracker crust
Caramel ice cream topping
Chopped toasted pecans
Spoon softened ice cream into pie shell. Freeze at least 4 hours. To serve, top slices with caramel ice cream topping, whipped cream and pecans.
Note: For a better-tasting easier-to-cut crust, brush purchased crumb pie shell with slightly beaten egg white, bake for 5 minutes in a 375 oven and let cool completely before filling.
(McCoy can be contacted at email@example.com)