Nothing says summer like Independence Day.

Each year on July 4, Americans celebrate freedom and independence with barbecues, picnics, parades and family gatherings.

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While variations are numerous, many favorite dishes and foods immediately come to mind when one thinks of Independence Day.

Shish Kabobs

Serving size: 6

1 1/2 pounds boneless sirloin steak

2 small zucchini, cut into 6 pieces each

1 medium yellow summer squash, cut in half, each half cut into 6 pieces

1 red bell pepper, cut into 12 chunks

12 whole button mushrooms

1/2 red onion, quartered

12 wooden skewers, soaked in water 30 minutes

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

1 tablespoon chopped chives

Salt and pepper and whatever seasonings you like to taste

Trim fat off steak; cut into 24 cubes. Thread beef, zucchini, squash, peppers, mushrooms and onions onto each skewer in desired pattern.

In small bowl, combine melted butter, garlic and chives; salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare grill to medium heat. Brush kabobs with melted garlic butter. Place kabobs on grill.

Grill, turning occasionally and brushing with butter, 7-9 minutes or until desired (145 degrees for medium-rare; 160 for medium).

Everyone's Favorite Broccoli Salad

1 head fresh cauliflower

1 bunch fresh broccoli

1 can black olives, drained

1 jar green olives, drained

1 package Good Seasons Italian salad dressing mix

1 medium sweet onion, sliced

1 green pepper, sliced thin or chopped

4 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced

Cherry tomatoes

1 head of cabbage, shredded

Mix dressing according to directions on the package. Combine cauliflower, broccoli, olives, onion, pepper and mushrooms. Pour dressing over the shredded cabbage and refrigerate overnight.

Lemon Coleslaw

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup vinegar

1 teaspoon celery seed

Salt and pepper

1 small package lemon Jell-O

1/2 cup oil

Mix sugar, water, vinegar, celery seed, salt and pepper together and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add lemon jello; cool, then add oil. Pour over cabbage, carrots, green pepper, onions, etc. Keep refrigerated. Keeps for weeks.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Those who try to do something and fail are much better off than those who try nothing and succeed.

GARY'S TIP: One lemon yields about 1/4 cup juice; one orange yields about 1/3 cup juice. This is helpful in making fresh orange juice or lemonade.