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Safely celebrating the Fourth of July

Calling all cooks

With everything going on this year, from Covid to protests and the cancellation of all the usual public celebratory events, July 4th promises to be massively scaled-back. And though celebrating will be different, it can still be fun, and safe.

My celebration will be in the backyard and include a few family members, some July 4th decor, a hot grill and a lot of laughter, good food and drink. If that’s how you’re leaning, here are a few suggestions you might like to try, all easy and delicious.

Have a happy and safe holiday!

V-8 Grilled Chicken

1 fryer chicken cut into 8 pieces

1 (12-ounce) can V-8 vegetable juice cocktail

1/2 to 1 cup water

Barbecue sauce for glaze

Directions: Trim chicken pieces of excess fat and place in resealable plastic bag. Pour in V-8 and water till chicken is covered. Seal bag and refrigerate overnight.

One hour before cooking, remove chicken from marinade. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Allow chicken to rest to room temperature.

Preheat half of grill to high. Lightly brush chicken with canola or vegetable oil. Sear over high heat, starting with breasts and thighs, then adding legs and wings. Turn chicken when the skin is seared and releases from grill.

As pieces are seared and begin to brown, place in pan set over the unheated side of grill and cover loosely with foil. Allow chicken to finish cooking in pan over indirect heat till internal temperature of chicken reaches at least 165-degrees F (thighs should be around 180-degrees F.) During final 10 minutes of cooking brush on light coating of your favorite barbecue sauce. Serves 4.

Easy Cheesy Potatoes

(Serving a crowd? Double recipe and bake in 13×9-inch pan)

1 package frozen hash brown or O’Brian potatoes, slightly thawed

1 T. flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/4 tsp. onion powder

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided

2 T. shredded parmesan cheese

1 cup milk

2 T. butter, melted

Directions: Grease 9×9-inch baking pan. Combine flour, salt, pepper and onion powder. Set aside. In large bowl combine hash brown potatoes and dry seasoning mixture. Place half of potato mixture into baking pan. Top with 1 cup cheddar cheese. Top with remaining potato mixture, 1 cup of cheddar and 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese. Pour milk and melted butter over mixture. Bake in 350-degree F oven, 45 to 50 minutes or till top is golden brown. Serves 6.

Perfect Boiled

Corn-on-the-Cob

(I’ve used this recipe for years. The corn comes out tender and sweet every time.)

Corn, desired amount, husks and silks removed

Water

Sugar

Lemon juice

Directions: Place husked corn in enough unsalted water to cover. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice for every gallon of water used. Heat to boiling then boil 2 minutes uncovered. Remove corn from heat; cover and let stand 10 minutes. Serve with plenty of butter, salt and pepper.

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