I can’t believe that next weekend is Memorial Day Weekend and May is almost over. Where did it go? Memorial Weekend officially kicks off summer and with that comes the food we enjoy most, fresh summer produce, eaten outside, super casual, with friends. Not to mention white sandals, white jeans, and white anything. Although Sweet Shark and I have some traditional summer holiday dishes, I decided to search for some enticing new recipes for me and for you to create an awesome Memorial Day Menu. From starters to entrée to sides to dessert, I’ve gathered some delicious sounding and looking recipes you should definitely try.
After you peruse the Memorial Day menu, be sure to check out today’s Broadway Tablescape posts. Chloe of Celebrate and Decorate really challenged a group of bloggers to create a tablescape based on a Broadway show.
Awesome Memorial Day Menu to Kick Off Summer Celebration
How did I decide on these particular dishes for our Memorial day Menu? I searched through Pinterest, clicked on over 50 promising recipes (I’ll be honest, the pics were a big factor because the food has to look great first, right?.) I focused only on sites that were from bloggers because I wanted “home~grown” recipes that real life people made and loved. I wanted recipes that I would make if I were having a Memorial Day party.
As a cooking instructor for 13 years, I’m picky about recipes: are they clearly written?, are the instructions clear?, are the ingredients (fresh, tasty) available? I also choose recipes from blogs that I liked the look of because I thought you would like them, too. I have to admit, I leaned toward dishes that I knew our friends would like and fit our Texas, grilling, outdoor, summer vegetable, barbecue esthetic. I haven’t personally made these recipes, but in some cases, I’ve made similar ones. My biggest criteria: Would I make all of these myself? and Did I feel comfortable recommending them to you? The answer to both questions had to be a resounding yes or the recipe got booted off the Memorial Day Menu. So let’s get started.
We call this dish Texas Caviar, but Cowboy Caviar from The View from Great Island is close enough. It’s so pretty and fresh. Serve with lots of chips because it will go fast.
TIP: this dish is prettiest when all the ingredients are diced the same size and the dice is uniform.
I love anything with bacon and we love jalapeńos. I love the idea of wrapping bacon around tater tots. And anything dipped in ranch dressing is a winner. These Jalapeño Bacon~Wrapped Tater Tots with Ranch Dressing from Spicy Southern Kitchen is my idea of a great appetizer: easy to make ahead and for serving with toothpicks, they are a one~bite flavor bomb.
TIP: jalapeños are usually not very hot, but it you have kids at a party, you might make a batch without them.
The Café Sucre Farine shared this Mexican Chopped Salad, which is similar to the Cowboy Caviar, but the addition of romaine lettuce definitely puts it in the salad category. Jicama and fried corn tortilla strips add crunch to an already beautiful salad of fresh vegetables.
TIP: Think how your recipes will look placed together on a buffet table. I would probably not choose both the Cowbooy Caviar and the Mexican Chopped Salad because they look too much alike.
I love the combination of watermelon and feta and I’ve made a version of this salad for years, sans the blueberries. Watermelon, Feta Blueberry Salad from Running in a Shirt is perfect to celebrate Memorial Day. It’s pretty, oh so fresh and refreshing, and healthy.
Around this here parts, we love our ribs. For the star of the meal, barbecue ribs can’t be beat, especially if they are smoked outside. Now we know that some parts of the country favor pork ribs and some favor beef ribs. (If you know where I’m from, you know which I prefer, but I’ve never turned up my nose at any rib.) This recipe for Smokey Barbecue Ribs from Julie’s Eats & Treats doesn’t specify which type of animal, so pick the one that you prefer ~ no civil wars on a patriotic holiday. Baked in the oven, the smoky taste comes from liquid smoke.
TIP: eating anything barbecue with your fingers is messy. Provide plenty of napkins or even rolls of paper towels on the tables for your guests. Even a couple of small packs of baby wipes to really clean sticky fingers will be appreciated.
If you are not a meat eater or want to offer company another protein choice, let’s opt for this recipe for Best Barbecue Chicken Thighs from That Which Nourishes. I love using chicken thighs: they stay moist and tender, cost less than chicken breasts, and as large as they come today, 1 thigh is perfect for 1 serving.
I’m a slaw lover and I can’t envision a summer party or picnic without a slaw of some sort on the table. This one from Grounded and Surrounded adds apples and almonds for crunch and blueberries for color. Red, White and Blue Slaw is as patriotic as a slaw can get.
You’ve got to have some kind of potato salad on a Memorial Day Menu. This version is very different from what we usually serve on a summer holiday, but Garlic~Herb Potato Salad from Cooking Classy just sounded so darn good that I want to try it. Bonus points: you can serve it warm or cold. Personally, I like potato salad at room temperature for the best flavor.
TIP: remember that cold inhibits flavor so some foods should be allowed to come to room temperature to taste best. A little extra seasoning can also compensate for foods that contain mayonnaise and should be kept cold.
Summer corn and okra aren’t quite in season yet, and it seemed like a green vegetable is in order. We love zucchini and Lemon Garlic Grilled Zucchini sure seems like a winner. Any vegetable that is grilled just tastes better. Dashing Dish adds great flavor with the addition of lemon juice and garlic used 2 ways. If you like, throw in asparagus, summer squash, or red bell pepper strips for a medley of color.
TIP: slicing the zucchini on the diagonal increases the pretty factor and allows more surface area to have grill marks.
We have to finish the meal with something sweet and festive. For dessert, what is more American than cupcakes with blueberries and strawberries (O.K. apple pie)? I love keeping with the patriotic theme and Red, White and Blueberry Cupcakes fits the bill. Buttercream Blondie provides a clearly written from scratch cupcake recipe that can be used for many different occassions.
If cupcakes are too heavy for you or you want a fruit dessert, try Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries. Perfectly in keeping with the red, white and blue scheme, these little bites of fruity goodness from Dessert Now, Dinner Later will be a big hit. She has a cute video to show you how to make this dessert. I actually think combining this fruit dessert with the cupcakes would give guests 2 great options ~ they can have 1 of each.
I hope that you like these recipe choices for your Memorial Day Menu as much as I do. Make them all or pick just one or two. Or just read about them. Save them to your Pinterest boards. If you want more Memorial Day menu ideas, check out these Pinterest Boards: Awesome Appetizers, Snappy Salads, Chicken, Chicken, Potato Party Recipes, Vegetables, or Sweet Stuff.
Before you leave, please check out today’s Broadway Tablescapes and check back in during the week to see who’s up for the day. I’ll be back on Wednesday with my tablescape.