July Fourth Celebration

By Jacky Martin

For this July 4th, why not take a trip to the past and bring back the progressive dinner? For the younger readers of this newsletter, a progressive dinner is one that begins at one home, then passes on to a different home for each course. These were popular events in the 60s and 70s, when entertaining at home was a popular pastime.

This meal is divided into three courses: appetizer, main course and dessert. Each course should be eaten at a different house, but more than one cook can contribute to each course, particularly with the main course which involves more work.

FIRST COURSE: APPETIZERS

Choose a variety of vegetables for dipping, as well as tortilla chips, wheat crackers or whatever else you enjoy for dipping.

SPINACH DIP:

  • 2 packages (10 ounces each), frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1-8 ounce can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
  • 1 cup sour cream (can be low-fat)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (can be low-fat)
  • 1 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon dried mustard
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 clove minced garlic

Combine all ingredients, chill for at least two hours. It's always better to make dips the day before so that the flavors have a chance to blend. This makes for a tastier dip.

ONION DIP:

  • 1 package onion soup mix
  • 1 cup sour cream (can be low-fat)
  • Mix together, then chill.

    ANY HOLIDAY TASTY DIP:

    • 1 can deviled ham
    • 1 cup sour cream (can be low-fat)
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
    Mix together, then chill.

    NON-ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES TO GO WITH APPETIZERS:


    REFRESHING SUMMER PUNCH:

  • (1) 6 ounce can frozen lemonade
  • (1) 6 ounce can frozen orange juice
  • 2-1/2 cups pineapple juice
  • (1) 12 ounce can apricot or peach nectar
  • Ginger Ale
  • Sliced lemon
  • Mix together the lemonade, orange juice, pineapple juice and nectar, then chill. When ready to serve drinks, add the ginger ale. Garnish with lemon slices.

    SECOND COURSE: MAIN MEAL
    Get the guys out for this part of the meal with hot dogs, hamburgers and Italian sausage. The side dishes can be made ahead and brought out for the main course.

    BAKED CORN: (my favorite all-purpose, everybody-loves-it side dish)
    • 1 can creamed corn
    • 1 can whole kernel corn or Mexican corn
    • 2 eggs
    • 14-ounces corn muffin mix
    • 1/3 cup sour cream
    • Paprika to taste
    Put eggs into mixing bowl and whisk until combined. Drain whole kernel corn, add to bowl. Add rest of ingredients and blend. Cook in covered baking dish at 350 degrees for one-hour. For last 10 minutes or so of baking time, uncover the dish.
    This dish is terrific because you can add other things to it. For instance, 1 cup grated cheese, half mixed in and half sprinkled on top gives it a different and tasty flavor. Serves 8.

    GREEN SALAD:
    • Lettuce
    • Tomatoes
    • Mushrooms
    • Cucumbers
    • Radishes
    • Finely sliced onion
    • Bacon Bits
    • Croutons
    • Crumbled hard-boiled eggs
    Use any or all of these ingredients to make a large garden salad. Put out a variety of dressings so that everyone can choose a favorite.

    TRADITIONAL BAKED BEANS THE EASY WAY:
    • Ham Chunks or Bacon to taste
    • Ketchup
    • Mustard
    • Finely chopped onion
    • Canned pork and beans
    • Dash of salt
    • Dash of vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon brown sugar per 14-ounce can of pork and beans

    Mix all ingredients in a medium or large saucepan, depending on how many servings you need. Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes or until everything has combined nicely. Serve hot.



    THIRD COURSE: DESSERT

    I think that part of the reason that progressive dinners were so popular is that the food from each course has a chance to settle before the next course is tackled!

    Here's a great and easy dessert to show your patriotic colors!

    OLD GLORY CAKE:

    • 1 box of your favorite cake mix, preferably white
    • 8 ounce container frozen whipped topping, defrosted
    • 2 cups sliced strawberries
    • 1/2 cup blueberries.

    Bake cake in a rectangular cake pan. Let cool. Place cake on platter, then frost with whipped topping. Place strawberries and blueberries in flag design on cake. Serve alone or with ice cream for a fantastic dessert!

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