Backyard Smorgasbords Begin in the Kitchen

One evening recently, I asked Hubby about his upcoming Birthday Bash. I read aloud an assortment of Barbecue Dishes I had assembled as option one. Then I suggested a Taco Bar with Margaritas as option two.

His choice floored me. He wanted to order pizzas and have them delivered pool side. Was he kidding? No. Hubby thought everyone would enjoy pizza, and no one had to put out much effort. Well then, what to do with all these great ideas?

Option One was easy. Replace his birthday cake with a patriotic dessert. Then include some barbecued spareribs to tie in Barbecued Sparerib Day. Offer it all up for the 4th of July. After all, no carefully planned menu should ever go to waste.

Over the last several years, America has been reading its own negative press reviews. If you wave a flag, you are a racists. If you love your country, you are somehow a bad person. If you are proud of your homeland, you are either delusional or a part of the bigger problem. Worst of all, if you want things to be as they once were, you are the worst of the worst. When I say I want America the way it once was, I’m not talking about white America. Sure, there are some that might want a segregated white supremist country. Just as there are people of color who hate others for their lack of color. Both are wrong. Most of us, when we fondly look back and say why not make America Great Again are referring to a county that had a strong sense of family values, of community pride and a sense of duty to realize a greater place for all. For that, I will not back down nor apologize. Is America perfect? Nope, never was. It doesn’t mean we didn’t have good things that should remain. Don’t ask me to take down my flags. That’s not happening. Not inside or out. Today is a day to celebrate our Nation with pride.

Backyard Smorgasbord
Pool Side
Chips and Dips

Backyard Entrée Buffet
Slow Cooker Barbecue Spare Ribs
Third-Pound Burgers
All Beef Hot Dogs

Classic Sides
Ranch Hand Beans
Sweet Dill Macaroni Salad
Deviled Egg Potato Salad
Cherry Topped Pink Stuff

Dessert Ideas
Patriotic Poke Cake
Assorted Bakery Iced Cookies

Chips and Dips
2 (8 oz) containers Sour Cream
1 envelop Ranch Dip Mix
1 envelop Green Onion Dip
2 tablespoons Chives
2 large bag Ruffles Potato Chips

Mix 1 container of sour cream with ranch dip. Place in a small dip serving bowl. Smooth top, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Mix remaining container of sour cream with onion dip mix. Add snipped chives, stir to blend. Place another small serving bowl. Smooth top, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, place each bag chips into large serving bowls. Place dips between chip bowls. Serve and enjoy.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Spare Ribs
5 lbs Pork Spare Ribs
Barbecue Seasoning as needed
1 liter Coke
2 cups Water
1 cup Beef Stock
2 tablespoons Hickory Liquid Smoke
1- 1 1/2 cup Barbecue Sauce

First prepare the ribs. Remove the membrane from the back side of ribs, Trim away any excess fat. Generously season ribs with barbecue seasoning. Rub seasoning into the meat. Set aside for 30 minutes for the seasoning to blend with the meat.

Roll the ribs up, jelly roll style, and place ribs into the bowl of a large slow cooker. Once the ribs are in place, pour coke, then water, then beef stock and liquid smoke into the cooker. Set the slow cooker on HIGH. Cover and let cook undisturbed for 4 hours.

After four hours, line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Heat broiler element of oven. Carefully remove the ribs from the slow cooker and lay out on the prepared pan. Brush the ribs with barbecue sauce. Place ribs under the broiler, meat side up and broil for about 3 minutes. Turn ribs, bone side up, and broil another 3 minutes. Turn once more, meat side up, brush with more sauce, and broil for 2 minutes more.

Cut ribs into two or three rib servings. Stack on a tray and serve with more barbecue sauce on the side if desired.

Third-Pound Burgers
1 medium Red Onion
1 head Green Leaf Lettuce
3 large Tomatoes
24 Third-Pound Hamburgers
Hamburger Seasoning to taste
8 slices American Cheese
8 slices Pepper Jack Cheese
24 Sesame Hamburger Buns
Ketchup as desired
Mustard as desired
Mayonnaise as desired

Peel onion. Slice into thin rings. Break rings apart, place in a quarts bag, set aside in a plastic container fitted with a lid. Break lettuce leaves apart. Trim, rinse and pat dry. Place in a quarts bag, set aside in the same container. Slice tomatoes, stack in the same container. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Break burgers apart. Season with hamburger seasoning. Place in a container, cover and refrigerated until ready to grill.

When ready to grill, heat grill to medium. Cook burgers about 5 minutes per side. Place cheese on 16 of the burgers, leave remaining 8 plain. Let cheese melt.

Place burgers on a serving tray. Place buns in another tray. Have condiments and toppings at the ready to create a burger bar.

Grilled All Beef Hot Dogs
20 All Beef Hot Dogs
20 Hot Dog Buns
1 small White Onion

Dice onion. Place in a small plastic container, set aside until ready to use.

Over medium heat, grill hot dogs. Set up a dog bar with dices onions, buns and condiments.

Ranch Hand Beans
6 slices Bacon
3 (15.5-oz.) cans White Beans
3 (15-oz.) cans Black Beans
2 (15 oz) cans Whole Pinto Beans
3/4 White Onion
4 Garlic Cloves
1-1/2 cups Ketchup
1/2 cup firmly packed Brown Sugar
3/4 cup Barbecue Sauce
1 tablespoon Dry Mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 teaspoons Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper Sauce

Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from skillet; drain on paper towels. Leave a few tablespoons of bacon drippings in the skillet.

While the bacon cooks, drain and rinse the white beans, black beans and pinto beans. Place beans in the bowl of a slow cooker.

Peel and dice onions, set aside. Peel and mince garlic, set aside.

When ready, sauté onions and garlic for about 4 minutes in the bacon drippings for color and extra flavor. Add onions to the slow cooker.

In a mixing bowl, stir together ketchup, brown sugar, barbecue sauce, dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder and pepper sauce. Taste and adjust heat or barbecue flavors as desired.

Pour sauce over the beans. Stir to blend. Sprinkle crumbled bacon on top. Cover and simmer on LOW setting for about 4 hours. Serve straight from the slow cooker.

Sweet Dill Macaroni Salad
6 Eggs
16 oz Macaroni Salad Pasta
3 Green Onion
2 Celery Ribs
1/4 Red Onion
2 tablespoons Dill Pickle Relish
2 tablespoon Sweet Pickle Relish
3/4 cup Mayonnaise
1/2 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
Additional Green Onions for garnish

Place eggs in a saucepan. Cover with cold water. Bring to a full boil. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 15 minutes. Remove eggs from the saucepan with a slotted spoon. Crack shells on the counter, then plunge eggs into an ice-water bath. Let steep for 20 minutes. Peel hard-boiled eggs and set in refrigerator to cool completely.

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package directions. Drain and rinse well under cold running water. Set aside to continue draining.

While the pasta cooks, trim green onions. Slice and set aside. Trim and clean celery, mince and set aside. Peel red onion, mince and set aside.

In bowl, combine onions, celery, pickle relish, mayonnaise and red wine vinegar. Whisk to combine. Taste dressing and season with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Adjust seasoning according to personal tastes.

Chop 4 eggs. Add to dressing. Cut V marks in remaining 2 eggs to create tulip flowers. Set aside.

Place macaroni in a large bowl. Pour egg dressing over macaroni. If desired, add chopped olives and toss to coat. Smooth out top.

Using the back of a spoon, create an indentation in the top of the salad. Place Egg flower into indentations. If desired, sprinkle lightly with paprika. Trim root end from a few green onions, trim green tops to about 2 inches. Using a sharp parring knife, cut green tops into strips still attached to the bulb. Dip into cold water to cause the strips to curl. Decorate the top of the salad with green onion flowers. Cover with plastic and refrigerate until well chilled.

Mema’s Deviled Egg Potato Salad
Deviled Egg Garnish
8 Eggs, divided
2 tablespoons Mayonnaise
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Paprika for color

Place eggs in a saucepan. Cover with cold water. Bring to a full boil. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 15 minutes. Remove eggs from the saucepan with a slotted spoon. Crack shells on the counter, then plunge eggs into an ice-water bath. Let steep for 20 minutes. Peel hard-boiled eggs and set in refrigerator to cool completely.

For the Deviled Eggs, pick 4 of the best-looking peeled eggs. Slice in half, remove yolk to a bowl. Mash yolk into a fine meal. Mix in mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon at a time, until creamy. Sprinkle with just a little wine vinegar. Season yolk mixture with salt and pepper. Fill egg whites with yolk mixture. Sprinkle with paprika for color. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Reserve remaining hard-boiled eggs for the potato salad.

Potato Salad
3 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 Red Onion
2 Celery Ribs
1 tablespoon Bacon Drippings, warm (Optional)
1 cup Mayonnaise
1/4 cup Sour Cream
1 tablespoon Mustard
2 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar plus a sprinkling for potatoes
Kosher Salt to taste
Fresh Black Pepper to taste
4 Green Onions for garnish

Peel and slice potatoes into large chunks. Place potatoes in a stockpot and cover with 1-inch of salted water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are just tender but not soft, about 10-15 minutes. Drain well. Sprinkle LIGHTLY with red wine vinegar and set aside in refrigerator to cool.

Meanwhile, mince red onion and celery ribs. In a large bowl combine onions, celery, bacon drippings, mayonnaise, mustard, sour cream and red wine vinegar. Whisk to combine. Taste dressing and season with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.

Chop reserved hard-boiled eggs into small pieces. Add chopped eggs to dressing. Taste dressing a second time, adjust seasonings as necessary.

Place cooled potatoes in a large bowl. Pour egg dressing over potatoes. Gently fold dressing into the potatoes. Smooth top.

Trim the green onion roots, Cut green tops from the blubs and pale green portion of the onions. Slice tops, set aside.

Using the back of a spoon, create indents for the deviled eggs. Scatter sliced green onions over the salad. Place deviled eggs neatly nestled into the indentations. Carefully slice the top portion of the bulbs into thin strips. Plunge into ice water to help open and curl. Garnish salad with the onion bursts. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Cherry Topped Pink Stuff
1 (16 oz) Crushed Pineapple, well drained
1 (16 oz) tub Cottage Cheese, small curd
1 (3 oz) box Strawberry Jell-O
1 (8 oz) container Cool-Whip
Maraschino Cherries garnish

Drain pineapple, set aside.

Place cottage cheese in desired mold or serving dish. Sprinkle with dry Jell-O.

Fold in cool-whip. Add crushed pineapple. Chill at least 3 hours or overnight.

Garnish with cherries just before serving.

Patriotic Poke Cake
1 box White Cake Mix
1 cup Water
3 Eggs
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
1 box Jell-O Strawberry Gelatin
1 cup Boiling Water
1/2 cup Cold Water
1 (3 oz) White Chocolate Instant Pudding
1/2 cup Cold Milk
1 (8 oz) container Cool Whip, thawed
1 cup fresh Strawberries
2 tablespoons Sugar
1/2 cup fresh Blueberries

Heat oven 325-degrees. Grease bottom of a 13-inch by 9-inch cake pan, set aside.

Blend cake mix, water, oil and eggs in a large bowl at low speed until moistened, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium, beat for 2 minutes. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake on the middle rack in the heated oven for about 25 minutes or until cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven, place on a cooling rack for 15 minutes.

While the cake cools, place gelatin in a 4-cup glass measuring cup. Add 1 cup of boiling water. Stir until gelatin is dissolved. Add cold water, stir once.

With tines of fork, poke holes almost to bottom of warm cake about every 1/2 inch. Carefully pour strawberry gelatin mixture evenly over top of cake. Refrigerate, loosely covered, at least 3 hours but no longer than 12 hours until serving time.

Cut green tops from strawberries. Slice berries, sprinkle with sugar to draw out the juices. Let berries sit in the sugar-syrup for about 30 minutes. Drain strawberries, pat dry and set aside.

In large bowl, beat pudding mix and milk with whisk until blended and smooth. Gently stir in whipped topping. Drop by spoonfuls over top of cake; carefully spread until even.

Arrange strawberries and blueberries on top of cake to look like flag. Store loosely covered in refrigerator.

A nice final touch to the desserts are those beautifully glazed cookies every bakery in America has available for your 4th of July Celebration. Simply pick out a nice assortment, arrange on a platter and watch them disappear.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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