It isn't the hamburgers and frankfurters. Or the fried chicken or baked ham. What makes planning a Fourth of July outing difficult is figuring out what to serve with them. That requires decision making. And usually, it also requires some preparation time.
Not to worry.
We have a whole file full of great recipes that will make perfect side dishes for any kind of a picnic. Potato salads, bean salads, coleslaws, fruit salads . . . you name it and chances are we have a recipe that will suit somewhere among the thousands we keep on hand.
Need something that will really be the perfect extra touch for cold baked ham? Well, when the weather's too hot for baked beans, how about a bean salad that combines canned limas with diced tomato and feta cheese. Tossed with a garlicky oil and vinegar dressing, it makes a refreshing contrast to the ham.
A good complement to fried chicken, cold or hot, is an old Midwestern favorite, Favorite Pea Salad. An unlikely combination of chilled, blanched peas, bacon, hard-cooked eggs and cubed Cheddar cheese, this salad will undoubtedly bring back memories of childhood Fourth of July picnics to many a transplanted Midwesterner. If you're a purist or a lucky gardener who has a ready crop of fresh peas, by all means blanch and chill them for this salad. Otherwise, frozen peas can be thawed and drained and used with no further cooking.
Potato salads, of course, will go with almost any type of picnic food, as will pasta salads and fruit salads. And no picnic fit to be classed a true Fourth of July celebration can be without a classic coleslaw. It goes with practically anything, from sandwiches on down the line.
If you're short on planning time for your holiday picnic, the accompanying recipes should include at least one or two that truly whet your appetite. Then all you'll have to do is find time to prepare them before Thursday's Fourth of July gathering of the clan.
GARDEN FRESH POTATO SALAD
10 cups new potatoes
Boiling salted water
1/2 bunch broccoli, cut into florets
1 cup yogurt
1 cup mayonnaise
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 cups chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped chives or green onions
4 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or chervil
Cook new potatoes in boiling salted water until tender but not mushy. Chill. Blanch broccoli florets in boiling salted water about 2 minutes or until just bright green. Quickly drain and place in large bowl of cold water in refrigerator.
Blend yogurt, mayonnaise and lemon juice in large bowl. Cut potatoes into quarters. Add to yogurt mixture with celery, chives, hard-cooked eggs and basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill several hours. Just before serving, drain broccoli florets and pat dry with paper towels. Fold into potato salad mixture. Makes 8 to 10 servings.
8 cups finely shredded green cabbage
4 cups shredded red cabbage
1 cup diced green, yellow and/or red pepper
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
2 cups diced onions
Combine shredded cabbages, green pepper, carrots and onions in large bowl. Toss together with Tangy-Sweet Dressing. Cover and chill until serving time. Makes 8 to 10 servings.
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1 tablespoon minced thyme
Dash white pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely crushed
1 teaspoon minced ginger
Stir together sugar, mustard, celery seeds, salt, vinegar, water, oil, thyme, white pepper, garlic and ginger. Cover and chill until ready to use.
LIMA BEAN-FETA SALAD
1 (17-ounce) can lima beans, drained
1/4 medium onion, cut in julienne strips
1 tomato, diced
1 teaspoon oregano leaves, crushed
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup diced feta cheese
Combine lima beans, onion, tomato, oregano, parsley, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt to taste, garlic, lemon juice and feta cheese. Cover and chill well. Serve on bed of lettuce. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
SOUR CREAM-POTATO SALAD
4 cups diced cooked potatoes
1/4 cup minced onion
2 tablespoons minced green pepper
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1 pimiento, minced
1/2 cup chopped celery
Sour Cream Dressing
Combine potatoes, onion, green pepper, pickle relish, eggs, pimiento and celery. Add Sour Cream Dressing and toss lightly. Allow to stand overnight in refrigerator. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Sour Cream Dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
Combine mayonnaise, sour cream and milk. Beat together until blended. Stir in lemon juice and hot pepper sauce. Cover and chill thoroughly before using. Makes 1 3/4 cups.
FAVORITE PEA SALAD
2 (10-ounce) packages peas, thawed and drained
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
4 green onions, sliced
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup cubed Cheddar cheese
2 hard-cooked eggs, diced
1 cup diced or sliced celery