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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Fireworks, Fun & Family Gatherings For The Fourth

By Sherrie Norris

The grand old flag will be flying high during the coming week as we celebrate the freedom of our country. Few things stir up more of an emotional response in many of us as does our beautiful American flag and all it represents. I am proud to be an American. I may not understand it all and may not agree with everything that’s happening during tumultuous times as these, but I will never deny my heritage and my pride in America.

As we celebrate our freedom in the coming days, let’s not forget that it really isn’t free — nor should we ever forget those who made it possible by their supreme sacrifice.

Whether you are hosting a backyard barbecue, joining friends in the park or just need a quick potluck dish for your community meal, hopefully, we can help.


Grilled BBQ Chicken

2 chickens, quartered, rinsed and patted dry

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup prepared barbecue sauce (see recipes below)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place chicken in a large roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; lightly brush with ¼ cup barbecue sauce. Bake about 20 minutes.

Preheat grill with medium-hot coals. Grill chicken about 15 minutes (3 to 4 inches from heat), until done, brushing with remaining sauce and turning halfway through grilling.


Basic Barbecue Sauce:

½ cup ketchup

1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 Tbsp. cider vinegar

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp. soy sauce

Combine ingredients and apply to chicken. (Good with other meat, as well)


Sweet & Sassy BBQ Sauce

1 large onion, chopped

1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce

¾ cup sugar

1/3 cup hot sauce

¼ cup Worcestershire Sauce

½ tsp. ground allspice

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in medium saucepan; cook onion until tender.

Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, over

medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until thickened, stirring often.

Baste grilled chicken or meat of choice with sauce.


New Red Potato Salad

3 pounds unpeeled red potatoes

4 eggs

1½ cups mayonnaise

2 Tbsp. milk

2 Tbs. white vinegar

½ cup sliced green onions

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. ground black pepper

1 cup sliced celery

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender, but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool and chop into 1-inch cubes. Place in a medium bowl.

Boil eggs in a medium saucepan and remove from heat. Cover, let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, cool, peel and dice.

In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, milk, vinegar, onions, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the potatoes, and mix together with the eggs and celery. Cover, and chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving.


Patriotic Cookie

1 pkg. refrigerated sugar cookie dough

1 container vanilla frosting

Blue food coloring

50 vanilla morsels

3 cherry or strawberry-flavored chewy snack roll-ups, divided

2 pretzel rods

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9 x 13 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place dough in pan, pressing evenly onto bottom of pan. Bake 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool, then remove cookie to large flat platter or cake board if desired. (It will do just fine to leave it in the pan). Mix about ½ cup frosting with food coloring and spread in upper left corner of cookie for background of stars. Frost remaining cookie with remaining vanilla frosting. Arrange vanilla morsels on blue area for stars. For red stripes, cut fruit rolls into strips and place on cookie. Wrap pretzel rods with remaining fruit lengths, place on cookie’s left side for flag pole.


Simple Red White & Blue Pie

1 graham cracker crust

1 can blueberry pie filling

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

12 oz. Cool Whip

1 can cherry pie filling

Pour blueberry pie filling into graham cracker crust; refrigerate for 30 minutes. Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth.

Fold in whipped topping. Spread cream cheese mixture over blueberry filling; refrigerate for 30 minutes. Spread cherry pie filling over cheese mixture. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.


Star-Spangled Strawberries

Select a few large, firm strawberries. Wash and pat dry. Dip one side of each strawberry in either melted semi-sweet dipping chocolate or vanilla-flavored almond bark. (If using melted chocolate chips, add 1 teaspoon of shortening to thin.) Immediately roll coated side of the strawberry in chopped nuts, coconut, or red, white and blue candy sprinkles. Place on wax paper until chocolate is set. Great as a snack or on top of ice cream, cakes, etc. for a “sparkling” finish.


All-American Coca Cola Cake

   1 box Devil’s Food cake mix (or any other dark chocolate mix)

   1 small box (3-4 oz.) instant chocolate pudding

   4 eggs

   ½ cup oil

   10 oz. Coca-Cola (NOT diet)

Combine cake mix and pudding mix. Blend in eggs, oil and cola. Pour cake batter into a greased 9×13 inch-cake pan. Bake for 30 minutes at 350°.


Coca Cola Frosting

   ½ cup butter, softened

   2 cups powdered sugar

   2 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder

   1½ tsp. vanilla

   ¼ cup Coca-Cola

   ¼ tsp. salt


Beat butter on low speed with a hand mixer. Gradually add powdered sugar. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.