Memorial Day growing up always consisted of boating trips, where knee boarding and tubing ruled the day and delicious food accompanied water breaks (that’s actually me up there on that knee board!). Those memories are nothing short of sweet, and I’d like to continue them throughout my adult hood and pass them down to my children.
The United States holiday actually started out with the title of “Decoration Day.” It was a day to observe and remember the fallen men of the U.S. armed forces, and women and school children would decorate the graves with flowers and pictures. Holding it’s original meaning still today, we remember those who have passed on fighting for our freedom and celebrate with beach trips, great food, fireworks, and the overall beginning of the Summer Season.
One of my favorite Memorial Day traditions is a cook out. Grilled food, iced cold beverages and homemade side dishes are what summer is all about. As I’ve gotten older, my taste buds have become more refined and I really enjoy new takes on traditional cook out dishes. I took the liberty of scouting out some great recipes that I want to try out today, and hopefully you’ll give them a whirl too. Enjoy!
1. Preheat grill to 400° to 450° (high) heat. Cut onion into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Brush with 1 Tbsp. olive oil, and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Cut bell peppers into 1-inch-wide strips. Place pepper strips in a large bowl, and drizzle with 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper; toss to coat.
2. Grill onion and bell pepper strips, covered with grill lid, over 400° to 450° (high) heat 7 to 10 minutes on each side or until lightly charred and tender.
3. Brush cut sides of rolls with remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil, and grill, cut sides down, without grill lid, over 400° to 450° (high) heat 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly browned and toasted.
4. Spread blue cheese on cut sides of roll bottoms; top with arugula, bell pepper strips, steak, and onion. Spread mayonnaise on cut sides of roll tops. Place roll tops, mayonnaise sides down, on top of onion, pressing lightly.
*French hamburger buns may be substituted. We tested with Publix French Hamburger Buns.
Note: We tested with Saga Classic Soft-Ripened Blue-Veined Cheese.
Flank Steak Sandwiches With Brie: Substitute 5 oz. Brie, rind removed, for blue cheese. Proceed with recipe as directed.
Herb Chicken Sandwiches: Substitute Herb-Marinated Chicken Breasts for flank steak. Proceed with recipe as directed.
Herb Chicken Sandwiches With Grilled Peaches: Reduce onions to 1 and red bell peppers to 2. Cut 2 large peaches into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, cutting through stem and bottom ends. Proceed with recipe as directed, grilling peach slices, covered with grill lid, over 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until grill marks appear. Assemble sandwiches as directed, topping onion with peach slices. Prep: 20 min., Grill: 32 min., Stand: 10 min.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Fruit for Decorating:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a muffin top pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. With a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg, lemon zest, and vanilla. Mix until well combined.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.
4. Add flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until just combined.
5. Press about 1/4 cup of cookie dough into muffin top pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until pizzas are slightly golden brown. Let the pizzas cool for 2-3 minutes in the pan. Remove to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.
6. While the cookies are cooling, make the frosting. Using a mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugars, lemon juice, and lemon zest together until smooth. Spread frosting over mini fruit pizzas.
7. Arrange fruit on each mini fruit pizza. Chill until ready to serve.
Note-if you don’t have a muffin top pan, you can make a large pizza by using a pizza pan. Feel free to use your favorite fruits-kiwi, mango, raspberries, mandarin oranges, peaches, and bananas are also great toppings!
3. Spray 4 mason jars with non-stick spray and press graham crust into jars. I began by adding a tablespoon to each, and repeating until graham crumbs were gone. They don’t need to look perfect. I pressed the crumbs down firmly with the flat bottom of a clean screwdriver.
1. In a bowl, whisk egg and sugar until smooth and no lumps remain.
2. Add milk, cream, butter and vanilla, and mix until combined.
3. Stir in sour cream.
4. Sift dry ingredients together and add to wet mixture. Mix until batter is smooth.
5. Using a 1/4 cup measure, add batter to mason jars one scoop at a time. You only want to fill them up about half way, and the batter should work evenly for 4 jars. Again – don’t worry if it is perfect. Place mason jars in a baking dish and add about 1 1/2 cups of water to the bottom. Bake for 30 minutes, or until cake is set.
6. Remove cake from the oven and press large marshmallows down on top, being careful not to burn yourself. There is no set number of marshmallows to use, I pressed down as many as I could, about 4-5 each.
7. Heat the broiler on your oven and watching carefully, brown marshmallows for about 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown. Do not take your eyes off them! Serve immediately.