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Picnics, cookouts, grilling out doors….we spend most of the menu planning around the food, and rightly so, but the beverage is important during the hot summer cook-outs. This month we decided to suggest a simple syrup to keep in the fridge to sweeten any type of beverage you might want to serve. We’re giving you our recipe for perfect Southern Sweet Ice Tea and added a festive fruit punch to make your cook-out special.  Then we dug back in our 1980’s recipe collection and decided to add a delightful Strawberry Pretzel Dessert….Bon Appetite, Y’all!

Simple Syrup

An easy way to add sugar to beverages. Keep some in the fridge

 

Bring equal parts of granulated sugar and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Boil for about 1 minute or until sugar dissolves. Stir; remove from heat and cool completely. Store in a jar in fridge.

 

Basic Southern Sweet Iced Tea

 

Bring 4 cups cold water to a boil.  Add 4 family-size Luzianne tea bags. (or your favorite brand of tea bags) Turn off heat; cover and steep for 15 minutes. (don’t boil; that makes tea bitter)  Remove from heat & discard tea bags. Meanwhile, pour 6 cups cold water and of cups sugar into a large pitcher, stirring till sugar is dissolved. Add warm tea and stir. Refrigerate until cold. Pour over ice tea glasses full of ice and serve with a lemon wedge. A real Southern treat!  Makes a little over ½ gallon 

Microwave Iced Tea: Bring 4 cups cold water in a large measuring cup to a boil; add 8 regular size tea bags (or 4 family-size) and steep for about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and pour into a pitcher; add 1 cup sugar, stirring to dissolve. Add 4 cups cold water.  Makes 2 quarts

Coffee Maker Method: Put tea bags in coffee basket; fill pot with water and let it run down through tea bags. Put 1 to 1½ cups sugar in a pitcher. Add brewed tea and finish filling with cold water.

Note:  Sam’s Club carries the box of 48 gallon-size Lipton tea bags

Note: For a slightly weaker tea, Steep the tea bags in ½ gallon boiling water and add ½ gallon cold water at the end (following the above directions).  Restaurants make it this way, using a one gallon-size tea bag.

Summer Party Fruit Punch

 

1 cup simple syrup

2, 48-oz cans pineapple juice

12-oz. can frozen orange juice, thawed, undiluted

12-oz. can frozen lemonade, thawed, undiluted

10-oz. pkg. frozen sliced strawberries, thawed

2 quarts ginger ale

Ice

 

Combine fruit juices, strawberries and simple syrup.  When ready to serve, add the ginger ale and a block of ice.

Taste for sweetness, may need to add more simple syrup.

Makes about 40 servings.

Strawberry Pretzel Dessert

A great summer cook-out dessert

 

Crust:

2 cups coarsely crushed pretzels

¾ cup butter, melted

3 Tbsp. sugar

Mix together and press firmly into bottom

of a 9x13 baking pan.

Bake at 375º for about 8 minutes. Cool.

Filling:

8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

8-oz. carton Cool Whip, thawed

Beat cream cheese and sugar together.  Fold in Cool Whip and spread over cooled crust. Refrigerate 10 to 15 minutes.

Topping:

1, 6-oz. package strawberry Jello

2 cups boiling water

Dissolve Jello in boiling water. Refrigerate and let congeal to the consistency of egg whites, about 15 minutes.

Then stir in:

2, 10-oz. pkgs. frozen sliced strawberries, thawed

Pour over cream cheese layer and chill until firm.

To serve, cut into 12 squares.

Extra add-ins to regular Iced Tea:
 
1.
12-oz can frozen lemonade, thawed & undiluted.
 
2.
3-1/3 cups Looza Peach Nectar
 
  3.
If tea in pitcher gets cloudy, add a little bit of hot water and stir.
 
4.
Keep some simple syrup in a squeeze bottle in fridge to add to hot coffee or cold drinks.
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