Home Cooking Recipes
home cooking recipes                                            home cooking recipes
Quick & Easy
By Beverly Barbour


Independent cooking

There is just enough kid left in most of us to want to have fried chicken, potato salad, and watermelon on the 4th of July. So don't you think that we kids should have our own way on red, white and blue day?

That doesn't mean, of course, that the recipes we use have to date back to our birth, we all know a few fresh herbs can add fireworks to our cooking and that chicken cooked in the oven has fewer calories. Here are a few ideas for old-fashioned picnic fare prepared with today's flair.


POTATO SALAD WITH MUSTARD

Nothing blah about this recipe. It is packed with herbs and flavor.

4 pounds small red skinned potatoes, quartered
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup mayonnaise (can be low-fat)
1 cup chopped fresh parsley, Italian parsley preferred
3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
1/4 cup drained capers
1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup water

Cook potatoes in salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to blend. Drain potatoes and while still warm, add to dressing; toss gently to coat well. Cool and refrigerate. Makes 8 servings.



CRISPY CHICKEN WITH HERBED BREAD CRUMBS

"Fried" in the oven so that you don't have to watch it closely, this is good hot or cold.

2 garlic cloves, peeled
4 slices white bread, torn into pieces
1/4 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
zest from 1/2 an orange or 1 lemon optional
1 teaspoon dried rosemary or thyme, 1 tablespoon if using fresh
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
pinch of cayenne pepper
2 1/2 pounds chicken parts

Preheat oven to 375F. Line baking sheet with foil. Place garlic in food processor, or blender; process until finely chopped. Add bread, cheese, salt and pepper and process until bread is finely crumbed. Add the zest and rosemary and process to distribute evenly. Add the butter and process until completely incorporated. Transfer breading to plastic or paper bag. Combine buttermilk and cayenne. Add chicken parts and turn to coat. Shake of excess liquid and place the chicken, a few pieces at a time, in the bag of breading. Shake bag until chicken is well coated. Place parts on baking sheet, leaving space between them. Bake 45 go 44 minutes or until coating is crisp and juices run clear when chicken is pierced. Makes 4 servings.


Watermelon doesn't have to be dessert or serve as a bowl for a gathering of fresh fruits, it can also be a salad.


WATERMELON, FETA CHEESE AND MINT SALAD

The combination of sweet melon and salty cheese is delicious.

handful of arugula, watercress or other salad green (preferably with a bite)
extra virgin olive oil, to taste
fresh lemon juice, to taste
2 pounds fresh watermelon with rind, peeled, cut into bite-sized chunks and seeded
4 ounces feta (or other sharp) cheese, cut into chunks
1/2 pomegranate seeds, if available (if not, use 1 crisp apple, sliced
handful fresh mint leaves

Cook potatoes in salted water until tender , about 10 minutes. Combine reaming ingredient in a large bowl, and whisk to blend. Drain potatoes and while still warm, add to dressing; toss gently to coat well. Cool and refrigerate. Makes 8 servings. Toss the arugula with olive oil and lemon juice. Portion onto plate and arrange watermelon on plate. Scatter cheese on top, then pomegranate seeds. Garnish with mint. Makes 6 servings.



FANCIED BROWNIES

You can use your favorite brownie recipe, or even a mix, it is the two icings that dress up the portable dessert.

Confectioners Frosting:
1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Chocolate Glaze:
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable shortening

Combine frosting ingredients and spread on cooled baked cookies or bars. Then decorate with Chocolate Glaze. Melt ingredients over hot (Not boiling) water; stir until blended. Press through paper cone or pasty tube to make lettering or ribbons. To Feather: Press thin horizontal lines on Chocolate Glaze onto Confectioner Frosting which has been spread on cake, cookies or bars. Make thin lines about 1-inch apart. Run a tooth pick across the lines alternating from top to bottom of and then from bottom to top. Keep the spacing even and you will have a pattern that looks professional but anyone can achieve with a handy dandy toothpick.

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