Memorial Day Menu

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Memorial Day MenuMemorial Day is a time to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for this great country. We get together with fellow service members, friends, and family and enjoy good food and the great outdoors and mark the beginning of summer.

Having a simple menu with traditional summer recipes will allow you to add your own spin to each dish and let you enjoy more time with your loved ones and guests. BBQ sauce is synonymous with summer and can be used to marinade, baste, and season, along with serving as a condiment.

But wait! Do not go adding bottled BBQ sauce to your grocery list! If you have never made your own, you’ve got to try it and you may never go back to bottled again. I keep a jar of homemade in our fridge and although I am not about to hand you my husband’s secret recipe, I think you will find that creating your very own personal, amazing, secret recipe is simple and so very rewarding.

In this menu, BBQ sauce lends its delicious flavor to burgers, chicken, tofu, and beans so you have lots of options for your guests.  Serve potato salad, cucumber salad, and fresh berries with cream alongside, and you have a delicious feast to share.

Memorial Day Menu
Your Very Own Personal Amazing Secret BBQ Sauce

Ingredients to try:

  • Tomato (crushed, sauce, or paste)
  • Molasses
  • Sweetener (agave, honey, maple syrup, etc).
  • Stone ground mustard
  • Worcestershire sauce (not vegetarian)
  • Soy sauce
  • Onion (chopped or powdered)
  • Peppers (i.e. jalapeño halved and seeded)
  • Garlic (powdered or cloves)
  • Ginger (powdered or fresh grated)
  • Paprika
  • Oregano
  • Cumin
  • Chili powder
  • Thyme
  1. Start out with a base of about 1/2 cup each tomato, molasses, and sweetener in a small saucepan. Add other desired ingredients, sticking with tablespoon measurements to start.
  2. Bring to a boil and then simmer about 20 minutes to thicken, stirring occasionally. Keep tasting and adding ingredients until you reach a flavor you like.

* If you like spicy, add a jalapeno (see above) during the cooking process then remove it once the sauce is ready. If you are a fan of the sweeter stuff you could try dates.  If you like a good tang, try more ginger and mustard.

BBQ Burgers, Chicken, Tofu
BBQ Burgers, Chicken, Tofu

For every pound of protein, add 1/3 cup of BBQ sauce. Use extra sauce for brushing chicken and tofu while grilling and for serving.

For Burgers:

In a mixing bowl, incorporate the sauce into one pound of ground beef (or other ground meat),  and add 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Divide into 4 equal patties. Grill at 450 degrees for 4-6 minutes each side. For medium, burgers should be 160 degrees.

For the Chicken:

Season your boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3-4) with salt and pepper, place in container and coat well with sauce. Let marinate in fridge at least one hour. Grill at 350-450 degrees for 8-9 minutes per side. Chicken should be 165 degrees when cooked.

For the tofu:

Using extra firm tofu that has been drained and dried, cut blocks to ½ inch thickness. Place in container and coat well with sauce. Let marinate in fridge at least one hour. Grill at 350-450 degrees for 7-8 minutes per side.

Roasted Potato Salad
Roasted Potato Salad

  • 3 pounds red potatoes, in half or quarter inch pieces
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment, add potatoes, and toss with 1 TB olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper..
  2. Roast for about 20 minutes until they begin to brown.
  3. Using a whisk, combine the rest of the olive oil, yogurt, garlic, and shallot in a small bowl.
  4. In a large serving bowl add the arugula, still warm potatoes, and the dressing and stir gently. Season with more salt and pepper if desired. Serve warm or cold.

Cucumber Salad
Cucumber Salad

Combine the following in a serving bowl:

  • 2-3 cucumbers, halved, seeded, and chopped.
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced.
  • 2 ears of corn, grilled, cut off the cob.

Whisk the following together, then add to the salad and mix well:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

BBQ Beans
BBQ Beans

  • 1 cup (Your Very Own Personal Secret Recipe) BBQ Sauce
  • 1 can each great northern beans, black beans, and garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  1. In a medium pot, add all the ingredients, stir and bring to a boil. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes more. Liquid will reduce and sauce will thicken.

Berries with Fresh Whipped Cream
Berries with Fresh Whipped Cream

  • 1-2 pints each blueberries and strawberries
  • 1 half pint whipping cream or 1 can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated at least one hour.
  • 1-2 tablespoons desired sweetener, I use maple syrup or cane sugar.

For Traditional Whipped Cream:

  1. In a medium-size mixing bowl, pour the whipping cream and add 1 tablespoon of sweetener.
  2. Use an electric mixer on high until thick and fluffy. Taste and add the other tablespoon of sweetener if desired. Place in fridge until ready to serve.

For Coconut Cream

  1. Open the can upside down, drain the liquid, and reserve for another use. Scoop solidified coconut milk into a mixing bowl and add your sweetener.
  2. Use an electric mixer on high until cream is fluffy. Place in fridge until ready to serve.

*Serve your berries in bowls, buffet style, or layer them with the cream in jars or glasses just before ready to serve.

*The red, white and blue is fun and appropriate for the holiday, but trying different combos of fruits, and even nuts and seeds, can make a great dessert as well.