Independence Day Recipes from Connestee Falls

Connestee Falls Cookbook Cover Art

CONNESTEE COOKS! is a cookbook compiled of classic recipes from the myriad of chefs in residence at Connestee Falls. The book covers a wide range of meals, styles and ingredients. The culinary diversity is shared in recipes from the book posted regularly here on the Blog.

Uncle Sam visit to Connestee Falls via Fire Enginge

If you plan to entertain guests this year for Independence Day our Connestee Cooks can help with menu ideas that are sure to please most any tastes.  Even that of old Uncle Sam who might show up as he often does at Connestee Falls for the biggest day of summer.

Here are four great recipes handpicked from the Connestee Falls Resident Cookbook.


Pinkie Byrd has lunch covered with some very veggie sandwiches for a lighter start to the holiday.


  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 medium green pepper
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • ¼ c. boiling water
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 c. mayonnaise (may substitute ½ Ranch dressing for ½ c. of the mayonnaise)

Finely chop all vegetables. If using a blender, put cucumber and tomatoes on top and do not over blend. Drain very well. Sprinkle gelatin over water and stir to dissolve. Add salt and mayonnaise, mixing well. Stir in vegetables. Chill at least 4 hours. Spread on bread to serve. Mix will keep for 2 weeks in refrigerator.

Eleanor Kirlin offers this take on the classic holiday grilled ribs with a special rub.


  • 1 Tbsp. celery seed
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • ¼ c. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. salt (less if desired)
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 2 ½ loin back or country style ribs
  • 1 (8oz.) can tomato sauce
  • ¼ c. vinegar

Combine five dry ingredients. Rub ½ mixture on ribs; add remaining mixture to tomato sauce and vinegar. Heat and use to baste ribs. Cook over glowing coals until tender, about an hour. Baste and turn frequently.
Note: I par-cook the seasoned ribs in the microwave on Medium-high about 10 minutes per side. This reduces the time on the grill and avoids charring before the pork is done. Yields 4 servings.

Here’s a delicious spin on the classic Tater-tots from Karen Marshall.


  • 2 lb. ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • ½ tsp. garlic salt (or to taste)
  • 1 (8 oz.) can mushrooms, drained
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup (do not add water)
  • 1 lb. sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 lb. Tater Tots

Put ground beef, onion and green pepper in a frying pan; cook until meat is almost done. Drain and pour into a 9 x 13 casserole dish; cover with mushrooms.  Whip mushroom soup so it can be poured over mushrooms. Cover with Tater Tots (as many as will make one layer deep).  Bake at 350° for 20 minutes (until Tater Tots are brown).  Cover with cheese; return to oven for 5 minutes (until cheese melts).

Nancy Scharsich contributed this cake recipe to close out the holiday feast with a fantastic desert.
  • 1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen raspberries, thawed and drained (reserve syrup)
  • ¼ c. raspberry jam
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 (18 ¼ oz.) pkg. chocolate cake mix
  • 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 Tbsp. margarine, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°. In one-quart glass measuring cup, combine ⅔ cup reserved syrup, jam, and 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Microwave on High until thick and clear, 1 ½ to 2 ½ minutes. Stir in berries and set aside. Prepare cake mix as directed. Pour half of batter into greased 13 x 9-inch pan. Bake 15 minutes. Do not over bake.
In small bowl, beat cream cheese, margarine and 2 tablespoons cornstarch until fluffy. Gradually beat in condensed milk, then egg and vanilla. Pour evenly over cake in pan. Spoon raspberry mixture in small amounts over top. Bake 10 minutes. Top with remaining batter and bake 30 minutes longer, or until cake springs back when touched. Refrigerate leftovers.

Find more recipes from our Connestee Cooks series here on the Reflections Blog. Have a fantastic dish you’ll be making for July 4th, share it in the comments below.


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