Do you need help organizing a summer barbecue? Here are the best products and ideas to turn a household or backyard into a simple, laid-back atmosphere to celebrate Memorial Day.
Of course, grilling is preferable for a Memorial Day celebration. Have a Plan B: You may have to set the grill up on the deck and serve your guests inside due to in-climate weather. Hot dogs, brats and hamburgers are the meal’s stars, and large Portabello mushrooms and Boca burgers are options for any vegetarians. Kabobs are a great way to navigate a guest list of picky eaters. Just slice up meats and veggies and have them assemble their own skewers!
Ears of fresh sweet corn on the grill and potato packets round out the meal as low-prep appetizers. To assemble the potato packets, lay out a square of aluminum foil on your prep surface. Slice up potatoes like Yukon golds in 1/4 inch slices. (Prepare about two medium potatoes per guest.) Add a couple of pats of butter. Place the sliced potatoes on one half of the foil. Fold the empty side of the aluminum foil over the potatos, and crumple the seams together to close.
It’s easy to forget the small stuff. Don’t forget the buns and toppings, like fresh onions, tomatoes and lettuce. You’ll need your staple condiments: ketchup, mustard and relish. You’ll also need butter for those potatoes and corn.
Dessert can be a breeze, too. Prepare an angel food cake from a mix (or create a gluten-free one from this recipe at Gluten-Free Homemaker). Frost with Kraft Cool Whip. Add on blueberries and strawberries to transform the cake into an American Flag. Plus, an added benefit is that it is low in sugar for anyone with dietary concerns.
Keep ice in two or three coolers. Add in juice boxes, water bottles, soda, flavored water and alcoholic beverages. It’s fun for your guests to search for their favorite beverages, and those drinks will stay refreshingly cold with no extra fuss.
Put a mixture of red, clear and blue glass baubles in mason jars. Put one or more American flags on sticks in each jar. Not only do they add a patriotic touch, but they’ll keep your tablecloths from flying away into the wind.
If you don’t want the expense of buying new mason jars, check out rummage and garage sales, request them on Craigslist, or look at thrift stores.
Don’t forget that you’ll need a slew of tablecloths (inexpensive plastic, colored ones are available at most dollar or chain stores) plates, Solo cups, and napkins.
If you shy away from disposable paper napkins, bandannas are a nice alternative. They can even be purchased at dollar stores. Buy red, white and blue colors. (Food Network’s show, “The Pioneer Woman”, starring blogger, photographer, mother, author and rancher, Ree Drummond, suggests that they’re the perfect cloth napkins to keep around for all occasions since they don’t need ironing!)
Use extra Mason jars you have lying around if you don’t want to use disposable cups.
If you don’t have enough tables for your party, you can rent them at local rental and party supply businesses, ask to borrow them from your church or neighbors, or just don’t sweat it! Ask your guests to bring their own lawn chair. They can even park them throughout the house if rain puts a damper on the celebration. Then, you only need enough work space for lying out the food so everyone can help themselves. (Just make sure you have heavy-duty plates for your guests so they have an easier time eating without tables!)
In my opinion, Kingsford charcoal makes everything taste better! But you’ll need a match or long-handled lighter and lighter fluid to get your party on. Have a serving platter or plate handy for the freshly-grilled food, as well as tongs or a long-handled fork for grabbing and then flipping your eats on the grill.
Don’t overlook the serving utensils. You will need a serving spoon or fork for each dish you have out on the table.
Have a set of plastic silverware on-hand for each guest. (If you want to re-use them in the future: wash and keep them in a cupboard for the next party; add them to your camping supplies; or place them in your family’s emergency disaster kit.)
Keep a handful of toothpicks on the table, with salt and pepper shakers, seasonings and butter.
Copy and paste this list for your shopping trip!
Bags of ice
Hamburgers, brats, hot dogs
Vegetarians: portobello or Boca burgers, soy products
Picky eaters’ option – kabobs: skewers, onions, multi-colored bell peppers, mushrooms, cubed meat
Sweet corn ears
Angel food cake mix
Mustard, ketchup, mayo
Pickles, onions, tomatoes, lettuce
Cheese (if having cheeseburgers)
Butter (for bread and corn)
Salt and pepper shakers
Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
Plates and/or bowls
Solo cups (or use Mason jars)
Mason jars (containers for baubles and flags)
Glass baubles (red, clear and blue)
American miniature flags on sticks
Food Prep and Grilling Supplies
Charcoal, lighter and lighter fluid
Knives (cutting buns, dinner rolls)
Notes: Remember coolers, tables, chairs, and place out enough garbage and recycle containers so clean up is a breeze.
Happy Memorial Day. Invite a vet to your barbecue, and remember to celebrate what the is about. See the holiday’s history here. Make it memorable, tasty and super simple!