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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Preparing for a High Country Independence Day Celebration

By Sherrie Norris

Rain might be in the forecast for the weekend, but hopefully it will not dampen the excitement of a High Country Independence Day Celebration.

We’re no strangers to being flexible, in fact, many years have passed in which we’ve participated in outdoor activities, parades and other festivities in the rain. And last year, well, if we celebrated at all, it was likely on our front porches with the grill cooking a few burgers and ribs just for the family members who lived there.

Here’s hoping for a bright, sunny weekend to celebrate our freedom with family and friends, and even those we might not yet know, whether in our backyards, at the park or in the town square. There are multiple events planned in nearly every community around these hills, so hopefully you will have lots of fun.

Heavy traffic tells us already that we have a lot of visitors in the area, so hopefully everyone will bring plenty of patience and kindness to town, relax and enjoy the holiday for what it is. Even in the rain — if we have to.

Best-Ever BBQ Chicken
2 cups barbecue sauce

Juice of 1 lime

2 Tbsp. honey

1 Tbsp. hot sauce

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, drumsticks or other pieces

Oil for grill

In a large bowl, whisk together barbecue sauce, lime juice, honey and hot sauce; salt and pepper to taste. Set aside 1/2  cup for basting.

Add chicken to bowl and toss until coated.

Place chicken on hot oiled grill, basting with reserved marinade, until charred, 8 minutes per side for breasts, and 10 to 12 minutes per side 

for other pieces.

Note: Increase/double sauce ingredients for larger groups as needed.

Broccoli Salad

8 cups broccoli cut into bite-sized pieces

⅓ cup red onion diced

½ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup sunflower seeds

½ cup bacon bits

3 Tbsp. cider vinegar

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 cup mayonnaise

Salt  and pepper

Make dressing by whisking together  vinegar, sugar, mayonnaise, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine broccoli, onion, cranberries, sunflower seeds and bacon bits. Pour prepared dressing over and mix well.

Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

Confetti Corn Bread Squares

1 ½ cups corn meal

½ cup self-rising flour

1 cup milk

1 egg

2 cups Cheddar Cheese

1 can creamed corn

3 tsp. pimento

12 slices cooked, crisp bacon

1 small onion

Mix all ingredients together. Pour into greased pan. Bake at 375 for about 35 minutes. Cut into squares to serve.

Red, White and Blue Bars  

1 can (15 oz.) blueberries in light syrup

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

2 cups low-fat granola cereal with raisins and nuts

2 Tbsp. melted butter

1 pkg. (8 oz.) low-fat cream cheese

1 tsp. ground ginger

1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple in its own juice, drained

1 ½ cup whipped topping

1 cup strawberries, stemmed and cut in half

Drain blueberries over a medium saucepan. Whisk cornstarch into blueberry juice. Cook juice until it comes to a simmer and thickens. Add blueberries and cook until mixture returns to a simmer. Cool.

Crush cereal. Add butter and mix until combined. 

Press cereal mixture into bottom of glass baking dish. Chill.

In medium bowl, beat cream cheese and ginger until light and fluffy. Add pineapple and beat until combined.  Fold whipped topping into cream cheese mixture and stir until combined. Pour over crust. Spoon blueberries on top of cream cheese mixture in three diagonal lines. Garnish with strawberries. Refrigerate until ready to serve.