Pack Up A Picnic And Head To The Park



Payson's Green Valley Park is the place to be for the Fourth of July. Family fun and games start at 3 p.m. Friday, July 4, followed by a country and variety concert by the Darkhorse Band at 7 p.m., with fireworks on the lake after 9 p.m.

Arrive early, stake out a spot and set up your grill. No open flames are allowed at the park, but a gas or propane grill for those hamburgers, hotdogs, steaks and chicken are fine, according to a spokesperson for the town's parks and recreation department.

If dragging the grill out to the park isn't your cup of tea, get a cooked ham, fry or buy some chicken, pack it up along with some of these portable picnic picks and get out and enjoy the lush green grass, sparkling water and fresh air.

Deviled Cajun Eggs

6 eggs

3 tablespoons any variety thousand island dressing

1/2 teaspoon cajun seasoning

1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

Put eggs in saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to a boil, lower

heat. Cover pan and simmer for 15 minutes; drain hot water and then cover with cold water again to cool. Peel eggs, slice in half length-wise and remove yolks to small bowl. Mash yolks and combine with other ingredients, except salt. Fill cavity of egg whites with yolk mix and sprinkle with seasoned salt. Cover and chill for at least 45 minutes.

California Cowboy Beans

1 pound ground beef

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1/4 pound bacon, chopped

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 (28-ounce) can baked beans

1 (16-ounce) can pork and beans in tomato sauce

1 (15-ounce) can butter beans, drained

1 (15-ounce) can chili beans

Corn chips (optional)

Cook beef, onion and bacon until meat browns and onion is tender. Drain fat, then put meat mix into a slow cooker, either four to five quarts in size. Add remaining ingredients, stir, cover and cook on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 8 to 10 hours. Garnish with chips before serving.

Greek Bean Salad

2 (15-ounce) cans navy beans or cannellini beans, drained

1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained

1 small seedless cucumber, peeled and diced to make 2 cups

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 small onion, chopped to make 1/4 cup

1/4 cup sliced green onions

1 teaspoon oregano leaves

1/2 (16-ounce) bottle olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette to make 1 cup

12 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

1 cup diced cooked ham

1/2 cup or 2 ounces basil and tomato feta cheese, crumbled

1 package salad greens, Italian blend

In a large bowl, either of stainless steel or glass, combine beans, cucumber, tomatoes, onions and oregano. Add dressing and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours.

Add crumbled bacon about two hours before serving, along with ham and cheese. Toss to combine and chill for another two hours. Serve on salad greens.

Corn Salad

1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel yellow sweet corn, drained

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can whole kernel white corn, drained

1 can or 4 1/2 ounces chopped, pitted ripe olives, drained

Red bell pepper, chopped

Green bell pepper, chopped

Yellow bell pepper, chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup Italian dressing

1 tablespoon celery seed

Salad greens (optional)

Toss together all ingredients, except dressing and celery seed, in a large bowl. Add dressing and celery seed and toss again. Cover and chill for 24 hours. Serve on salad greens if desired.

Tomato Salad Plus

6 large tomatoes, halved and sliced and/or 2 to 3 pounds cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup chopped green bell pepper

1 medium red onion, chopped

3/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup water

4 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon each celery seed, ground black pepper and yellow mustard seed

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

Combine tomatoes, bell pepper and onion in a large bowl, either glass or stainless steel. Mix other ingredients, except cucumbers, in a small saucepan, bring to a boil. Boil rapidly for 1 minute, then pour over vegetables, stir to coat. Allow to cool slightly and then refrigerate overnight. Before serving add cucumbers to either garnish or toss.

Nuts and Pea Salad

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon dill weed

1 (16-ounce) package frozen petite peas, thawed and drained to make 3 cups

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

2 stalks celery, thinly sliced to make 1 cup

1 cup cashews

Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice and dill weed. In a separate bowl, mix peas, onions and celery, then add dressing and mix. Cover and chill for 24 hours. Stir in cashews before serving.

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