Nothing beats Coke and peanuts, but try cooking with the South's favorite soft drink

It is rare to run across a Southerner who has not, at some point in their lives, enjoyed the sweet and salty taste of peanuts poured into a bottle of an ice-cold Coca-Cola. Like attending Vacation Bible School in the summertime or eating sun-warmed watermelons on the back porch, coke and peanuts is just a long-standing ritual down South.

We have, however, found other uses for our favorite soft drink besides just pairing it with peanuts. When sugar was rationed during World War II, Coca-Cola was promoted as a sugar substitute  (because it contained real sugar) and the drink found its way into recipes for cakes, glazes, and barbecue sauces. Pick up some bottled Coke this weekend and use it in one of these recipes. It might become your new favorite “secret ingredient.”

Coca-Cola Cake

The sweet syrup and magical bubbly brew of carbonated cola is the extra-something that gives this cake its incredibly moist and tender texture. Ideal for a special occasion or a casual gathering, this is one the South’s favorite sheet cakes. Get the recipe here

Jacked Up Frozen Coke

Also known as a Coke Icee, this is the perfect refreshment for a summer porch-sitting session.  Leave the alcohol out if you prefer – it is just as wonderful. Get the recipe here

Slow Cooker Ribs with Coca-Cola

We love slow-cooking in the summer time. We don’t have to heat up the oven and to use that well-worn expression; we can fix it and forget it. Here is a great way to make a barbecue main dish in the slow cooker – you just need to add the potato salad and baked beans. Get the recipe here  

Coca-Cola Chicken Wings

Perfect for a tailgate party or anytime there is a crowd, this recipe combines two of the South’s favorite ingredients: Soft drinks and chicken wings. Get the recipe here

Pressure Cooker Coca-Cola Baked Beans

More and more home cooks are using pressure cookers these days. With this recipe, you will see just how fast and convenient this kitchen appliance can be. Get the recipe here

Glazed Spiral Cut Holiday Ham

One of the many top-rated recipes to come out of the Southern Living kitchens, this Glazed Spiral Cut Holiday Ham is welcome on the table any day of the year. Get the recipe here

WATCH: Cherry Bourbon Coca-Cola Slushies

An ice-cold soft drink can be the perfect refreshment on a hot summer day down South.  In need of a quick pick-me-up? Simply make a coke float with a cold Coke and two scoops of vanilla ice cream. Toss some salted peanuts on top if you have them, and enjoy!