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    Coca-Cola® and Daytona 500®: The Perfect Pairing

    Who’s excited for the DAYTONA 500®? Whether your enthusiasm lands you in front of the TV or with friends at a local watering hole, there’s something about the ritual of speed and excitement that boosts your appetite! What’s a race fan to do but put out a top notch food and beverage spread and what better ingredient to pair with NASCAR® than the one, and only, iconic Coca-Cola®?

    That’s right – let’s host this year’s NASCAR® festivities with a get-together featuring recipes made from some of the most popular Coca-Cola drinks on the market: old-fashioned Coke®, Diet Coke® and Cherry Coke®.

    It’s easy to see why NASCAR® and Coca-Cola® belong together. Both represent the best of American spirit and innovation. You might be surprised to learn that The National Association for Stock Car Racing (NASCAR®) has remained a family owned and operated business since 1947. As the largest sanctioning body for stock car racing, NASCAR® may best be known for the DAYTONA 500® every February. Currently, grandson Brian France oversees NASCAR® and his responsibilities are likely to leave the man thirsty enough to turn to another American tradition: the Coca-Cola family of beverages.

    Coca-Cola® has been satisfying America’s thirst since Atlanta Pharmacist Dr. John S. Pemberton experimented with syrup formulas in 1886 and came up with the first of many flavors now beloved by soda drinkers for nearly 130 years.

    So, if you're hosting a party when next year’s DAYTONA 500® rolls around, these recipes from Coca-Cola® fans are guaranteed to keep guests as focused on your food as they are on the track.

    Brined Coca-Cola® Chicken.

    Brine, batter and fry chicken to a golden finish by following these three steps and guests will snap up your Coca-Cola® -brined thighs faster than a NASCAR® lap.

    1. Soak 12 washed chicken thighs (bone in; skin on) in 4 cups of Coca-Cola®, 2-1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce, 1 Tbsp. Tabasco, 3 Tbsp. coarse salt and 2 Tbsp. freshly ground pepper for at least four hours in the ‘fridge. Use a colander to strain the thighs when you’re ready to start frying the pieces.

    2. Prepare a batter of 1 large egg, ¾-cup peanut oil. 2 tsp. baking powder, 2 Tbsp. coarse salt, 4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, 1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper, 1 Tbsp. onion powder, 1 Tbsp. garlic powder and 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour. Use a whisk to slowly introduce dry ingredients to the wet ones so the batter doesn’t clump. Pat chicken pieces with paper towels before dipping each thigh into the batter mixture.

    3. Fill a cast-iron skillet half-way with equal amounts of peanut oil and lard, slowly bringing the mix to a temperature of 375 degrees F. Place coated thighs into the skillet. Keep an eye on the temperature, making sure it doesn’t go below 350 degrees F as you turn the thighs with tongs for around 8 or 9 minutes. Don’t remove thighs from the fat until juices run clear to make sure they’ve cooked completely.

    Cherry Coke® Salad.

    Even if you’re not a salad fan, a Cherry Coke®-infused salad could convert you. You may wish to make several of these salads since the recipe feeds four and the crowd at your NASCAR® viewing party is going to ask for seconds.

    1. Heat to a boil all contents of a 40-ounce can of pitted cherries (juice, too)

    2. Remove cherries from the heat and stir in a 3-ounce package of cherry gelatin

    3. Add a 20-ounce can of crushed pineapple and juice, 1 cup Cherry Coke® and ½ cup chopped pecans

    4. Pour into an oiled, 6-cup mold, cool down and refrigerate for at least 2 hours until the salad is set.

    Diet Coke® Chocolate Cake:

    There's nothing wrong with washing down calorie-laden foods like pizza, fries and desserts with Diet Coke®! Soothe your sorrows if your favorite driver doesn’t make it to the finish line in time by eating a couple of pieces of this dessert. The recipe serves 12.

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

    2. Grease the sides of an 8-inch spring release cake pan and place a circle of parchment in the bottom

    3. Sift 1 cup self-rising flour, 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder and 1 tsp. baking powder into a bowl. Add ¾-cup brown sugar

    4. Melt ¾-cup butter in a small sauce pan. Add 1 cup Diet Coca-Cola® , stirring to heat, but remove before it boils

    5. Beat together ¾-cup buttermilk, 2 medium eggs and 1 tsp. vanilla extract

    6. Whisk the cola mix into the dry ingredients until blended and then add the buttermilk mix, gently blending

    7. Pour batter into the cake pan; bake for 40 minutes or until the cake is done. Cool 15 minutes before frosting

    8. Make frosting by mixing ½-cup broken, plain chocolate pieces with 3 Tbsp. Diet Coke® over a low heat in a saucepan. Remove from heat, add 3 Tbsp. buttermilk and cool down before spooning over the cake and serving.

    Want the chance to attend next year’s race? If you’d prefer to sip your favorite Coca-Cola beverage in person at the 2015 DAYTONA 500® and save those recipes for next year, you can make it happen by entering to Win a Trip to the DAYTONA 500® at Isle of Capri Casino Hotel Lake Charles. Visit the casino, follow entry rules and have fun at your favorite game while waiting to hear if your name’s called. Four winners’ will be selected every hour from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., each earning $250 in FanPlay, winners are eligible for the 11 p.m. grand prize drawing for a VIP Package for two at next year’s DAYTONA 500®. C’mon. You know you’d rather be track side!

    The promotion runs until October 25th, so rev up your motor and race over to the casino fast. That fried chicken, Cherry Coke® salad and chocolate cake will taste just as delicious when you get home from your Daytona 500® adventure—maybe better.

    Find even more fan recipes here on Coca-Cola®’s site: http://www.coca-colacompany.com/food/recipes/

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