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Recipes for your celebration

As we celebrate our nation’s Independence Day, we share the fun with family and friends.
Many times that means a picnic between the parade and Sitting Bull Stampede rodeo at night. Feeding a crowd or just a few, the recipes don’t have to difficult to be delicious. The flag cheesecake may take more time, but that is a show stopper!
Sometimes it is fun to try something new or a new twist on a family favorite. We hope these recipes can cover those bases.
Have a safe and joyful Fourth of July.

Fourth of July Recipes

Italian Pasta Salad
Sometimes it is nice to try something other than potato salad and cole slaw. This pasta salad is delicious and easy to make.
16 oz. pasta, cooked according to package instructions
8 oz. mozzarella balls, halved
4 oz. salami, quartered
2 cup baby spinach
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
1/2 cup pitted black olives, sliced
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
Pinch red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
In a large bowl, toss together pasta, mozzarella, salami, spinach, tomatoes, artichokes, and olives.
To make the dressing, add olive oil, vinegar, garlic, Italian seasoning, parsley, and red pepper flakes to a jar and secure with a lid then shake to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Dress pasta with dressing and serve.

Easy Crockpot Cowboy Beans
1 lb. lean ground beef (90% lean)
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 can (16 ounces) butter beans, drained
1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 ounces) pork and beans
1 can (15-1/4 ounces) lima beans, rinsed and drained
In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.
Transfer to a three-quart slow cooker. Combine the brown sugar, ketchup, vinegar and mustard; add to meat mixture. Stir in the beans. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until heated through.

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Bites recipe
2-3 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces
8 ounces bacon cut into thirds
1/2 to 1 cup BBQ sauce of your choice
Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.
Wrap each piece of cubed chicken with a small strip of bacon. Secure with a toothpick and place on your baking sheet. Brush with desired amount of BBQ sauce.
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes – 1 hour. Remove from oven and add more BBQ sauce as desired. Serve warm.

Famous Juicy Lucys
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 slices American cheese
4 hamburger buns
Combine ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, and pepper in a large bowl; mix well. Form eight thin patties from the beef. Each patty should be slightly larger than a slice of cheese.
Cut each slice of American cheese into four equal pieces; stack the pieces. Sandwich one stack of cheese between two ground beef patties. Tightly pinch edges together tightly seal the cheese within the meat. Repeat with the remaining cheese and patties.
Preheat a cast-iron or other heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Cook burgers until well browned, about four minutes. It is common for burgers to puff up due to steam from the melting cheese. Turn burgers and prick the top of each to allow steam to escape; cook until browned on the outside and no longer pink on the inside; about four minutes. Serve on hamburger buns.

American Flag Cheesecake Crust
1 1/2 cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup mascarpone cheese at room temperature
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cups cold heavy whipping cream
20 large fresh strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise, or as needed
24 large fresh blueberries, or as needed
Combine graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar, cocoa powder, and melted butter in a bowl until mixture is thoroughly combined and crumbly.
Transfer crust mixture to a 9×11-inch baking dish. Press crust into bottom of dish until smooth and even. Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.
Mix cream cheese and mascarpone cheese in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract into mixture.
Whisk 1/3 cup sugar into whipping cream in a separate metal or glass bowl until the cream is fluffy and forms soft peaks. Add whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture and gently whisk until filling is soft, fluffy, and well combined.
Spoon filling on top of the graham cracker crust, spreading and smoothing the top. Tap the pan gently on a work surface several times to settle the crust and filling. Cover pan tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 3 hours.
Starting at the bottom long edge of the cake, arrange strawberry halves in a horizontal line with the pointed bottoms of the strawberry halves pointing to the right. Start a second stripe of strawberry halves at the top right of the cake, arranging strawberries with the bottoms pointing right in a line stretching about 2/3 of the length of the cake.
Continue to make strawberry stripes, starting about 3/4 inch up from the bottom stripe and laying down 3 more stripes stretching the full length of the cake. Make one more line of strawberries beneath the short stripe to leave a square space for the blue field of stars.
Lay a line of blueberries with the blossom ends pointing up in the upper left square space. Continue to lay down blueberries in lines, berries touching the previous line, until the square is filled with blueberries. Cut cake into squares to serve.

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Cookie Sandwiches
1 cup creamy peanut butter or almond butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup dates
1 egg
vanilla or chocolate ice cream or frozen yogurt
8 oz melted dark chocolate
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the peanut butter, dates and vanilla. Pulse until well combined and no large chunks of dates are visible. Add the egg and combine. Roll the dough into 16 balls and place on the prepared baking sheet. Using a fork, gently press down on each dough ball to flatten and create a crisscross. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-10 minutes. Do not over-bake.
Remove the cookies from the oven and let cool. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop 1 scoop of ice cream on to half of the cookies. Sandwich with the remaining cookies, gently pushing down. Transfer to the freezer and freeze for 15 minutes.
Melt together the chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl.
Drizzle or dip the sandwiches in chocolate. The chocolate should begin to harden. Eat and enjoy or return to the freezer. Remove from freezer 5 to 10 minutes before eating.

Peach Lemonade
4 cups water, divided
2 medium peaches, chopped
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup lemon juice
1 medium lemon, sliced
Mint sprigs, optional
In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups water, peaches and sugar to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes or until peaches are tender. Remove from the heat. Cool. Strain, discarding peach skins.
In a large pitcher, combine the peach mixture, lemon juice and remaining water. Add lemon slices and mint if desired.
For an adult beverage, add Peach flavored vodka or Peach Tree Schnapps.