This weekend marks the kickoff to barbecue and cook out season: Memorial Day. Here are some of our favorite ideas for Memorial Day get-togethers:
Food. Let’s face it, food can make all the difference at a barbecue, but you don’t want to spend the majority of your party in the kitchen preparing food for your guests and not laughing or chatting with them. Think about things you can make prior to your guests arriving. One of our favorites is a black bean and corn salsa that can be served with tortilla chips or as a side salad. It’s simple, mix the following ingredients and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving: 1 cup thawed frozen corn, 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed), 1 chopped tomato, 1 chopped scallion, ¼ cup chopped red onion, 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and the juice from one lime. So yummy!
Fresh fruit is always nice at a barbecue, but to make it a little more festive, think red, white and blue. By taking a rectangle platter and doing rows of red fruit (strawberries, raspberries, watermelon) and semi-white fruit (pineapple and banana) and adding a square of blueberries at the top, your fruit platter is also a decoration.
For a beverage, try this Red, White and Blue Sangria from RecipeGirl.com. We haven’t made it yet, but how fun does it look?
Décor. In short, anything with red, white and blue goes on Memorial Day. To add some color and light (if your party will go into the night), take old food jars to make centerpieces. You can buy colored sand at a nearby craft store and layer red, white and blue in the jars. Stick a small candle at the top and you’re done!
Use your plates, napkins and utensils as decorative accents. Around the holidays, there are many different patriotic themed items that you can pick up at your nearest grocery store or super store that will make your table spread look wonderful!
Games. Whether it’s ladder ball, bocce or bean bag toss, it’s nice to have outdoor games in mind to give your guests something to do. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive to be fun either. At a recent cook out with friends, I participated in a small field-day-like competition which included three legged races, a jumping rope contest, horse shoes and water balloon toss. All oldies, but still goodies.
Keep the bugs away. Yes, I know I’m a little biased, but honestly, who enjoys getting bitten by bugs? A mosquito control barrier spray will keep the unwanted guests from crashing your party.
Happy Memorial Day everyone!