The Fourth of July is my favorite time of year for several specific reasons.
For one thing, no ski parkas. How lucky are we that our Independence Day takes place at the beginning of summer, when New England is in its prime: warm days, and soft, breezy nights.
Next, the fourth involves none of the pesky expenditures that saddle those other gift giving holidays. Rather, the fouth of July consists of folks simply enjoying time together-usually at outdoor barbecues, with all the fixings.
Finally, the Danvers Family Festival has a long history of providing local families with a solid week of fun-filled events leading up to the big finale at Plains Park. The fact that the festivities culminate in a patriotic, awe-inspiring fireworks display gets five out of five huge American stars for the Fourth Of July in my book.
At our Fourth of July cookout we will have the usual: games for the kids, and cold beer for the rest; and of course, the standard barbecue fare: hamburgers, hotdogs and various marinated meats. But I always look forward to that one long table laid out with sides and salads. In my humble opinion, these are the real stand-outs because the flavor variations are limited only to your imagination, and the possibilities are endless.
The trick is to find recipes that are as tasty as they are unique and unexpected, and this year I have just the dish. For our gathering I will make a family favorite: 7 Layer Salad. I got this recipe from my stepsister who makes it every year, and this year I decided to make it myself.
The best way to describe this recipe is a cross between a garden salad and vegetable dip, with bacon on top. It also presents so nicely when layered in a clear trifle bowl. Packed with healthy vegetables and flavor, this is as easy to make as it is tasty.
Lower fat variations would substitute Splenda or other sugar alternatives, low fat mayo, and turkey bacon, so you can trim the calories without losing any of the delicious-ness.
Happy Fourth, everyone! Enjoy!
Seven Layer Salad
Layer as listed in a large bowl:
- 1 head Iceburg lettuce, torn
- 1/2 c. celery, chopped
- 1/2 c. green pepper, chopped
- 1/2 c. red onion, chopped
- 10 oz. frozen peas, cooked and cooled
- 1 pt. Hellman's mayo
- 2 T. sugar
- 4 - 5 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
- 6 - 8 slices of very crisp bacon, chopped
Let sit over night and enjoy!
P.S. : I usually add extra cheese and bacon...