Memorial Day is the official kick-off to summer festivities. Pools are opened and everyone is firing up the grill to cook delicious eats for the entire family. Great food is one of the key elements to a great celebration as people gather to remember the active military and veterans who’ve served the country.
Do you already have your menu planned? Instead of sticking with the same old burger and hotdogs, jazz things up with a new dish that your guests will love by trying one of these new Memorial Day recipes.
Melissa Cookston, author of Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room, has a new cookbook, Smokin’ Hot in the South: New Grilling Recipes from the Winningest Woman in Barbecue. Fox News named Cookston as “one of the most influential pitmasters in America” and the Memphis Business Journal in 2015 listed her as one of their “25 Super Women in Business.”
Check out Cookston’s mouthwatering recipe for Smoked Chicken Bacon Bombs. It’s probably not the healthiest recipe, but just throw a salad on the side and you’ll feel better about this delicious decision. (Recipe reprint is courtesy of Andrews McMeel Publishing.)
Smoked Chicken Bacon Bombs
Ingredients: 4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped, plus 8 slices, uncooked, divided
1 teaspoon minced jalapeño chile
1 tablespoon minced red bell pepper
½ teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons Pepper Poultry Rub
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
2 teaspoons Grillin’ Shake
½ cup BBQ Mother Sauce, Version 2, plus more for dipping
Set up a grill for indirect heat to cook at 275°F with apple wood. Place a sheet of plastic wrap over each chicken breast (to help with the mess) and, using a mallet, pound the breasts to ¼-inch thickness. In a small bowl, mix the cheese, cooked bacon bits, jalapeño, bell pepper, and garlic. Season both sides of the breasts with the rub, then lay them flat, smooth-side down, and place a quarter of the spinach on each breast and sprinkle a quarter of the cheese mixture over each, leaving a ½-inch edge. Roll each breast up jelly-roll style, as tightly as possible, then wrap 2 raw bacon slices around each breast and secure with toothpicks. Lightly sprinkle the rolled breasts with Grillin’ Shake and place on the grill. Smoke for 1 hour, until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 150°F, then place them on the direct side of the grill to finish cooking and sear the bacon. Roll the breasts over until the bacon is browned on all sides and the breasts’ internal temperature is over 160°F. Move them back to the cooler side of the grill and glaze the breasts with BBQ Mother Sauce; let them set for 5 minutes. Remove from the grill and serve, with extra sauce on the side. (From Smokin’ Hot in the South: New Grilling Recipes from the Winningest Woman in Barbecue by Melissa Cookston / Andrews McMeel Publishing)
If you’re in need of a vegetable but tired of the norm, Cookston’s Mexican corn recipe is a great new take on corn on the cob to consider.
Ingredients: 2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
4 ears fresh corn, shucked and silks removed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (optional)
¼ cup grated cotija or Parmesan cheese
1½ teaspoons mild chili powder
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
In a small bowl, mix the melted butter and lime juice. Brush the mixture on the corn and lightly sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
Prepare a grill to cook on high heat. Grill the corn, turning every 2 or 3 minutes, until the corn is tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the corn from the grill and let it cool slightly, then brush with the mayonnaise, if using. Place the cheese on a plate and roll the corn in it to coat, then sprinkle with chili powder and cilantro. (From Smokin’ Hot in the South: New Grilling Recipes from the Winningest Woman in Barbecue by Melissa Cookston / Andrews McMeel Publishing)
And no cookout celebration is complete without the perfect dessert. Gina Homolka is the cook behind www.skinnytaste.com. Homolka’s “Red, White and Blueberry Trifle” is a heavenly mixed berry delight made with summer fresh blueberries, strawberries, white chocolate pudding, angel food cake, and whipped cream.
If you don’t have time to make angel food cake, fear not friend, you can always walk over to your local bakery section and pick up an already made cake to use instead. Just keep in mind that you’ll need around 10 oz of cake—that’s based on the size of the average trifle dish.
We hope you like these dishes as much as we do. Share these delicious recipes with your friends. What will you be serving up for your Memorial Day celebration? Leave us a comment and let us know.