Memorial Day often symbolizes the unofficial start of summer: a three day weekend, warmer weather, the end of school, barbecues, time spent with friends and family, and remembering those that have served our country. I love to entertain, and we often have friends over for a grill out, drinks, and time spent outside that weekend, but I’ve found it’s harder to put things together in recent years. This year I’m chasing around a toddler, pregnant with baby #2, and most days can’t keep my house clean, let alone put together a Memorial Day party. That’s where the recipes below come in handy. These are easy Memorial Day recipes to throw together for a party of your own or bring over to a friends’ place. All of them can be prepped during nap time, and they are all delicious!
Cheddar Ranch Cheese Spread
This is one of my go-to’s for dips to bring to potlucks, book club, etc. It’s so easy to put together and uses only a few ingredients!
1 8 oz package cream cheese (do not use fat free–1/3 fat is okay), softened
1/2 cup sour cream (do not use fat free)
1 package dry ranch dressing mix
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add sour cream and dressing mix until blended. Stir in cheese.
- Chill 2 hours and serve with crackers or tortilla chips.
Mini Corn Dog Muffins
You can’t have a Memorial Day celebration without hot dogs, right?! This appetizer combines a popular fair food with one of America’s favorite foods. It’s easy to lose track of how many of these you eat because they are so good and easy to pop in your mouth! The kids will love these too!
1 box corn muffin mix
1/3 cup milk
8-10 all beef hot dogs, cut into 1″ bites
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease mini muffin pan.
- Blend ingredients to make corn muffins.
- Spoon 1 T. batter into each mini muffin cup. Place one hot dog bite into the middle of each cup.
- Bake for 8-12 minutes or until corn bread is golden brown. Cool in mini muffin tin for 5 minutes before serving.
Recipe adapted from: http://iowagirleats.com/2012/01/30/super-bowl-recipe-week-mini-corn-dog-muffins/
Avocado, Black Bean, and Corn Salad with Lime-Cumin Vinaigrette
Easy, delicious and healthy?! This salad meets all three criteria and I like that it strays from the typical pasta salad or fruit salad that you often see at barbecues.
One 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium ripe tomato, diced (Roma or vine-ripened)
1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and diced
3/4 cup frozen corn (rinsed straight from freezer to thaw, no need to cook)
3 to 4 T lime juice
2 to 3 T honey, agave or maple syrup
2 to 3 T olive oil
1 t cumin
1/2 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
- Salad–Combine all ingredients in a bowl; set aside while you make the vinaigrette.
- Vinaigrette–Combine all ingredients in a small jar with a lid and shake vigorously (or in a small bowl and whisk together).
- Slowly drizzle about half of the vinaigrette over the salad and toss gently to combine. You may not use all of the vinaigrette depending on taste preference.
- Salad may be served immediately or up to 1 to 2 days later, noting that avocado will likely oxidize as time passes.
A barbecue isn’t a barbecue if you don’t grill out, right?! These burgers are packed with flavors of cheese, ranch, and bacon. We made them for a Mother’s Day grill out this year, and my mother-in-law said they were some of the best burgers she’s ever had! Make sure to use ground chuck; if the meat is too lean, the burgers will fall apart.
1 1/2 lb ground chuck
3 T sour cream
2 T Ranch dressing mix
1/3 cup cooked and crumbled bacon
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Combine all ingredients and form into 4 hamburger patties.
- Grill to desired temperature (about 4 minutes on each side for medium and 5 minutes for medium well). The burgers will be very moist, so be careful when you flip them.
Strawberry Jello Poke Cake
This has to be the easiest cake ever, and the flavors scream summer. Substitute any flavor of jello if strawberry isn’t your favorite.
1 box white cake mix (eggs, oil, and water called for on package)
1 (3 oz) box Strawberry jello (or any other flavor)
1 cup boiling water
1 8 oz container cool whip, thawed
Sliced strawberries, for garnish
- Prepare and bake cake in 9 x 13 inch pan, according to package directions. Remove cake from oven. Let cool 30 minutes.
- Using the back of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the cake.
- Mix together jello powder and boiling water until jello dissolves. Carefully pour mixture evenly over the top of cake. Cover and place in fridge to chill for a few hours.
- When ready to serve, spread cool whip evenly over the top of the cake. Cut into pieces and serve with sliced strawberries.
Don’t forget that you can’t go wrong with the classic s’mores at the end of the night. We love gathering around the fire pit with friends and indulging in one of the great tastes of summer.
White Strawberry Lemon Sangria
A party isn’t a party without some fun drinks. Although I won’t be partaking in alcoholic drinks this summer (I’ll definitely be missing a drink on the porch after our daughter goes down for bed), you can enjoy this tasty sangria that screams summer.
2 lemons, thinly sliced
1 apple, cored and sliced (any kind)
1 cup strawberries, hulled and sliced lengthwise (frozen and then defrosted work too)
1 bottle dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay are good)
1/2 cup light rum
4 cups lemon-lime soda
- Add lemon slices to a large pitcher, then the apples, then the strawberries.
- Pour the wine and rum over top.
- Cover and place in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours.
- Remove from the refrigerator and add the lemon-lime soda. Add a few pieces of the fruit to your glass and pour sangria over to serve.
Strawberry Blueberry Limeade
Here is an easy, non-alcoholic drink for my fellow pregnant mommas!
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 t sugar
1 sliced frozen strawberry
- Pour lemon and lime juice in a glass.
- Add sugar into the class with the juice and mix.
- Add the strawberries, blueberries and ice.
- Fill the glass the rest of the way with club soda and enjoy!
Do you have easy go-to recipes to share? What’s your favorite part of Memorial Day?