Tater Casserole.

It’s kind of difficult to celebrate our country these days when we have the idiot in chief threatening to start a war, trying to roll back LGBT and women’s rights and separating children from their parents and housing them in prison camps with inadequate medical care and substandard food. 

Our country survived the Great Depression, Joseph McCarthy and Richard Nixon, and it will survive this too. Why not make fun of the fools on the (Capitol) hill and serve up a red-neck cook-out this 4thof July? 

The rules for red-neck cooking are simple. Dishes should contain no more than five ingredients, should be easy to assemble and must use at least two prepared items. I cheat on that a little with the Jell-O mold recipe, but water doesn’t really count as an ingredient.  The following recipes may be worthy of a trailer court, but they are also darn tasty.

Three Bean Salad

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can butter beans, drained and rinsed

1 can green beans, drained

1 can corn, drained

1 bottle Italian salad dressing

Mix the beans and corn in a large bowl. Pour salad dressing over mixture. Stir to mix and refrigerate overnight. If you want to get fancy you can add some chopped onions, too.

Tater Casserole

2 eggs

1 bag frozen hash brown potatoes

1 bunch of green onions, chopped

1 cup sour cream

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Beat eggs and mix with taters, onions and sour cream. Stir in half the cheddar cheese. Pour into a buttered baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Finger-Lickin’ Good Ribs

1 liter Coca Cola

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. Liquid Smoke

½ cup brown sugar

3 lbs. country style pork ribs

Mix first four ingredients in a large bowl. Add pork ribs and toss to coat all. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours, stirring the mixture occasionally. Remove ribs from marinade and allow to drain. Take remaining marinade and add to a saucepan. Boil down until reduced by half. Place ribs on a barbecue grill or on a rack under the broiler. Cook 7-10 minutes on each side. Brush with reduced syrup and return to grill or broiler for another 1-2 minutes per side, or until marinade caramelizes. Serve with remaining sauce.

Sweet & Spicy Chicken

8 chicken breasts

1 bottle pepperoncini

1 liter 7-Up

1 can stewed tomatoes

Salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken breast in a large pan, skin side down. Pour one bottle pepperoncini (including liquid) over the chicken breast, distributing the peppers around the chicken. Add one liter of 7-Up (or enough to cover the chicken). Top with a can of stewed tomatoes. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours, or overnight. When ready to cook, remove chicken from liquid and pat dry with a paper towel. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook down marinade (including tomatoes) until syrupy. Grill chicken breasts, basting with syrup during the last five minutes of cooking. Pour remaining syrup over chicken before serving.

Stained Glass Jell-O Mold

2 packages lime Jell-O

6 cups boiling water, divided

2 packages orange Jell-O

2 envelopes unflavored gelatin

1/3 cup cold water

1 carton (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed

In a bowl, dissolve the lime gelatin in three cups boiling water. Pour into an 8” square dish coated with cooking spray. In another bowl, dissolve orange gelatin in remaining boiling water. Pour into another 8” square dish coated with cooking spray. Refrigerate for four hours or until very firm. In a small saucepan, sprinkle unflavored gelatin over cold water; let stand for one minute. Heat over low heat, stirring until gelatin is completely dissolved. Pour into a large bowl; refrigerate for 45 minutes or until slightly thickened. Fold in whipped topping. Cut green and orange gelatin into cubes. Place whipped topping mixture in a bowl; fold in Jell-O cubes. Spread into a ring mold coated with cooking spray. Refrigerate for two hours or until set. Unmold and cut in slices to serve.

Mountain Dew Cake

2 boxes yellow cake mix

3/4 cup Mountain Dew

1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice

1 to 2 tablespoons Mountain Dew

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 10-in. fluted tube or Bundt cake pan. Prepare mix according to directions on box, swapping out any liquid listed for Mountain Dew.

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake according to package directions. Cool in pan 20 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. In a small bowl, mix confectioners' sugar, lemon juice and enough Mountain Dew to reach desired consistency. Drizzle over cake.