Memorial Day Barbecue

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 Nothing kicks off summer like a Memorial Day barbecue. If you plan to host a cookout, we have most of the menu planned for you. If you’re invited somewhere, you can take one of these delicious dishes along!

Honey Mint Limeade

6          cups of water

1/2       cup honey

1/2       cup sugar or more to taste

Big handful of fresh mint

1/2       cup fresh lime juice, plus 1 tablespoon

Juice your limes and measure the juice, but do not discard used limes. Set aside.

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil and then add honey, sugar, fresh mint and used limes. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and let the mixture rest for 20 minutes so the mint and lime can infuse.

Strain the mixture into a pitcher and stir in the fresh lime juice. This limeade is not overly sweet, so add more sugar or honey to taste. If you think it’s too sweet, remember ice will dilute it. Chill for several hours. Stir and garnish with lime slices before serving.

Serves 6.

Pineapple Peach Black Bean Salsa

1          15 oz. can seasoned black beans

1/2       cup fresh or canned pineapple tidbits, drained

1          cup fresh or canned peaches, drained and diced

1/3       cup diced red onion

1/3       cup chopped cilantro

2/3       cup your favorite chunky salsa

1/2       teaspoon cumin seeds

Juice from half a lime

Salt and pepper to taste

Drain the black beans and pour into a bowl. Drain pineapple tidbits, measure 1/2  cup and pulse it for 2 seconds in a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, chop the pineapple into small chunks and add to black beans. Drain and chop the peaches and add to the bowl. Chop red onion and cilantro. Stir all remaining ingredients together, and add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until it’s time to serve. This salsa can be made a day in advance.

Bacon and Green Onion Potato Salad

8          cups sliced russet potatoes

1          tablespoon salt

1          cup mayonnaise

1          cup sour cream

1          package onion soup mix

1/4       teaspoon black pepper

3          green onions

1          pound of bacon

Rinse and slice the potatoes. I leave the skin on, but that is optional. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt. When water reaches a rolling boil, add the potatoes and cook 15-17 minutes or until fork-tender.

In a large bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, onion soup mix and black pepper. Slice the green onions and set aside.

Fry the bacon until crisp, set on paper towels. When it’s cool enough to handle, chop the bacon as fine as you can. Add half the bacon and half the green onions to the mayonnaise mix and stir.

Drain the potatoes and coat in mayonnaise mix. Then sprinkle the rest of the bacon and onions over the potatoes. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.

Simple Grilled Chicken

6   medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/4   cup olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

3/4  teaspoon Cajun seasoning or seasoned salt

1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper

2   limes

Heat grill to 375-400 degrees or medium-high.

Rub the olive oil all over the chicken breasts. Sprinkle seasoning on one side of the breast, then flip it and sprinkle salt and pepper on the other side. Use seasoned salt or even a barbecue rub if you don’t have Cajun seasoning.

When the grill is hot, place chicken on it, cover and cook 8 minutes. Then flip the chicken and cook 8 minutes, or until cooked through. When the chicken is done, juice 1 lime over the breasts. Top with salsa and serve with remaining lime slices.

Serves 6.

Easy Flag Cheesecake

1          9-inch graham cracker pie crust

1/4       cup strawberry or blueberry jam

1          8 oz. package of cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2       cup sugar

1/2       cup sour cream

1          teaspoon vanilla

2          eggs

Fresh blueberries and raspberries

Whipped cream (optional)

Leave the cream cheese on the counter for several hours to come to room temperature. (This helps prevent lumps in the cheesecake.)

Heat oven to 350.

Microwave the jam for 10 seconds, and then spread it on the bottom of the graham cracker crust. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Then add sugar, sour cream and vanilla, and beat again until smooth. Add the eggs and blend just until the eggs are incorporated. Pour into the graham cracker crust. Bake for 30-36 minutes or until the cheesecake is set.

Cool on the counter for 2 hours, then refrigerate for 3 hours before serving. Use raspberries to create stripes and decorate an edge with blueberries to resemble the American flag.

This cheesecake can be made a day in advance, but don’t decorate it until time to serve if you make it ahead of time or the berries may bleed on the dessert.

It’s particularly good served with additional berries and a dollop of whipped cream.

Serves 6-8.

Juliana Goodwin is a food columnist, cookbook author and avid traveler.
She loves to create food, share recipes and encourage entertaining. If you have a question, email julianalovesfood23@gmail.com.

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