With the arrival of Memorial Day weekend also comes the unofficial arrival of summer! And with that, I want to find myself outside more, enjoying the weather, and spending less time meal planning. With routines thrown out the window and the days more unpredictable, I really need to have the fridge stocked with items that are easy to grill or grab last minute. Meals I can prepare in 30 minutes or less! So while the theme of this post is Memorial Day recipes, it really is a collection of dishes and recipes perfect to have on hand all summer long!
Memorial Day Meal Plan
I don’t make it, I grab it from my local grocery store that makes it fresh daily. Once home, I wrap it up in foil and keep it in Tupperware in the fridge. It easy is to reheat in the oven for dinner or pack cold for a picnic. You can also slice it up and add to salads, pastas or sandwiches.
Hot Dogs w/ Fixings
Another easy item to have on hand in the fridge, I am still a huge fan of hot dogs on the grill. We buy the Oscar Meyer Natural Smokes Angus Beef Franks made without nitrates. The fun part comes in the fixings. Upgrade from traditional condiments and give these toppings a try! These also work for burgers, veggies burgers, tacos and sandwiches!
Blistered Shishito Peppers
Prepare a grill for medium high heat (or prepare a dry large cast-iron skillet over medium high). Toss a half a dozen shishito peppers with 2 tablespoons of olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning occasionally until tender and blistered all over, about three minutes. Toss in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of unseasoned rice vinegar. Let cool; remove stems. Finish off with spicy hoisin bbq sauce (see below) and matchstick carrots.
Creamy Ranch Slaw
Toss a cup of Ranch Dressing with 3 cups of thinly sliced red and green cabbage (I grab pre-made bags at the store). Season with salt and pepper. Finish off with crumbled potato chips, a fresh cucumber spear and chives!
Charred Corn Salsa
Prepare a grill for medium high heat (or prepare a dry large cast-iron skillet over medium high). Grill 2 husked ears of corn, turning occasionally, until lightly charred, 5-8 minutes. Let cool. Cut kernels off cobs; Toss with 2 oz crumbled feta or queso fresco, 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion, 2 teaspoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon lime zest; season with salt and pepper. Finish off with roasted red peppers, tomato wedges and fresh cilantro!
Hoisin BBQ Sauce
Stir together 1/3 cup hoisin sauce, 1/3 cup barbecue sauce, and 3 tablespoons of Sriracha. Finish off with cucumber spears, scallions and a dash of celery salt.
Potato Salad with Old Bay + Kettle Cooked Potato Chips
It is always all about the side dishes! Personally, I am not a brown sugar and baked beans girl and would rather see the summer sides come in the form of potato and pasta salads! Once made, they are easy to store in the fridge and serve at your convenience. This potato salad is without the traditional mayo and a a little more acidic because of the vinegar. Don’t be shy with the potato chips and chives to balance out the flavor!
2 pounds small white potatoes, scrubbed, halved
¼ cup cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
A tablespoon of whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon (or more) coarsely ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 cups kettle-cooked potato chips
¼ cup coarsely chopped parsley
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
- Place potatoes in a large pot and pour in cold water to cover; season with salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until tender, 15–18 minutes. Drain and return to pot to dry out; let cool.
Meanwhile, heat ¼ cup oil in a medium skillet over medium-high. Add onion; season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes.
Transfer onion to a large bowl. Stir in vinegar, mustard, Old Bay, black pepper, and cayenne. Add potatoes, potato chips, parsley, and chives to vinaigrette and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt and black pepper if needed; drizzle with more oil.
Corn Cobettes with Basil Butter
Is it even a summer meal without fresh corn on the table? There are endless ways to dress up corn and if there is ever any left over, slice it off the cob and add to salads and salsas!
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 c. fresh basil, finely chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, Kosher salt
- 6 ears fresh corn, husked
Combine butter, basil, cayenne pepper, and kosher salt in a bowl. Cook fresh corn; let cool slightly, then break each into 2-3 pieces. Serve with basil butter alongside.
Gemelli Pasta with Goat Cheese, Arugula and Pine Nuts
I just love arugula, especially come summer time. Our local farmer’s market usually has it bundled fresh and it is the best I have ever had! I have been making this pasta like mad lately and I usually serve it warm. But we sometimes have leftovers and I like it just as much as a cold pasta salad during the summer. Note: Make sure to reserve the pasta water as directed below. It makes all the difference in taste and texture!
- ¾ pound gemelli or casarecce pasta
- 4 oz. fresh goat cheese
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- dash of red pepper flakes
- 4 oz. baby arugula (about 4 cups)
- ¾ cup walnuts toasted and chopped
- 1/3 cup finely chopped chives
- Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the cheese, oil and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and red pepper flakes, stirring and mashing with a fork until smooth. Drain the pasta, reserving ¾ cup of the cooking water, then return the pasta to the pot.
- Add the arugula, goat cheese mixture and reserved pasta cooking water, then toss until the cheese mixture is evenly distributed and the arugula begins to wilt.
- Stir in the walnuts and chives, reserving a tablespoon of each for garnish, if desired, then season with salt and red pepper flakes. Transfer the pasta to a warmed serving bowl, then garnish with the remaining walnuts and chives.
Watermelon and Rice Krispie Treats
When it comes to Memorial Day desserts, I keep it simple. I am not one for red, white and blue died frosting and food coloring tinted sweets. However, I do think a beautiful red and blue berry trifle is always nice. But in reality I am all for serving fresh watermelon and a tray of Rice Krispie treats! Speaking of the latter, I like ours extra gooey so here is how I adapt the traditional recipe.
- 8 tablespoons of salted butter (1 stick but cut it into 8 tablespoons)
- 1 package (10 oz) of mini marshmallows
- 5 cups Rice Krispie Cereal
- Melt the butter in a medium pan on medium low heat.
- Add mini marshmallows, stir until they are completely melted.
- Turn off the heat.
- Add the Rice Krispie Cereal and mix until the cereal is completely coated with the marshmallow mixture.
- Spoon into a 9×13″ shallow pan. (I use a spatula coated with cooking spray)
- Lightly press the Rice Krispie mixture down into the pan.
- Allow to cool.
- Cut into squares and serve
Happy Memorial Day! I hope everyone has a chance to get outside to enjoy the weather!
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