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12 Easy Recipes for Your Memorial Day Weekend Cookout

Memorial Day Weekend is, for many people, a chance to fire up the grill for the first time in a long time as the season of backyard cookouts begins in earnestheres a tutorial on how to bring those grills out of hibernation, by the way. But for every grilling buff out there looking to sweep the neighborhood competition, there are a dozen guests who must decide what they can contribute. This list is for them.

What follows are some quick and easy apps, sides, and desserts that the non-grilling experts among us can bring to any barbecue, picnic, potluck, or garden party. As much as possible, these recipes eschew a hot oven, and they dont require precious space on the grill; theyre make-ahead options that have been proven to please a crowd. Here are The Takeouts best ideas for your summer kickoff.

Caprese Salad

Theres nothing more refreshing than a Caprese salad in the summertime; something alchemical happens when we combine mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes beneath a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. But because its so simple, theres plenty of room to play around within its specifications. We asked chefs how they improve upon something as perfect as Caprese, and they had a lot to say. Read more about assembling the ideal Caprese here.

Alcohol Infused Fruit

This simple but delectable treat is tailor-made for summertime: cool, refreshing, boozy, and best consumed outdoors in the sun. The fruits natural juices function as a built-in mixer, complementing the spirit of your choice with bright, hydrating flavor. This is also a great way to get a stealthy buzz if youre heading to a park or a beach where alcohol and/or containers arent allowed. Just dont rat us out if you get caught, okay? Learn more about the best alcohol infused fruit combos here.

Taffy Grapes

We dont want to think of a summer without Taffy Grapes, a Chicago-area phenomenon thats easy to make in big batches at home and bring along to any backyard barbecue. Simply put, these are green grapes dipped in white candy coating (aka almond bark) and rolled in crushed peanuts. But somehow, our taste buds send a signal to our brains that this inventive treat tastes just like a taffy apple. Fun to make, easy to assemble, and impossible to resist, this treat is one that belongs on any backyard spreadpartygoers cant get enough of them. Get the recipe here.

Easy German Potato Salad

Where would we be without potato salad, that enduring side dish that brings families together as firmly as the mayonnaise that binds it? In all its variations across the decades, potato salad has been a prominent feature for cookouts and big celebrations because it can be prepared cheaply for large numbers of people, and its filling toojust dont let it stay out in the sun without proper care.

While we have plenty of tips and tricks to make your potato salads more exciting, heres a suggestion that might be the most exciting of them all: skip the potatoes entirely. We know, it sounds sacrilege. But German potato salad made with gnocchi spares the home cook the work of peeling, slicing, and cooking potatoes, swapping in the relatively simple step of cooking gnocchi. Its springy texture is a welcome change of pace, and the flavors of bacon and vinegar stand out nicely against its mildness.

Ramen Noodle Salad

This salad isnt just a crowdpleaserit will convince the salad-haters in your life to reconsider their position. Ramen Noodle Salad consists of cabbage, slivered almonds, sunflower nuts, and a few other simple ingredients tossed in a tangy dressing. True to its name, its then topped with a package of uncooked ramen noodles, crushed into crouton-sized crunchy bundles, which absorb the flavors and grow softer as the day goes on. If you havent tried it yet, youre missing out. Get the recipe for Ramen Noodle Salad here.

Cheesy Pinwheels

The best recipes are the ones that involve multiple kinds of cheese, and these Cheesy Pinwheelshave the added benefit of yielding dozens of servings, designed to feed a poolside army. They must be made ahead of time so that they have plenty of hours to firm up in the fridge, but the process is simple and the ingredients list is minimal. Its easy to put your own spin on these, although theyre perfect just as they areeach is a one-bite wonder just zesty enough that kids and adults alike will still be drawn to the platter. Get the recipe for Cheesy Pinwheels here.

The Best Macaroni Salad

This recipe for Garlic Lemon Herb Macaroni Salad was born out of two desires: to develop an easy and winning side dish for backyard barbecues and Memorial Day Weekend festivities, and to find a way to make macaroni salad less bland so that you taste more than mayonnaise on the noodles. This recipe is fully customizable, letting you change the amount of lemon, garlic, and parsley to suit your tastes (and those of your guests). If you cant find the right herbs at the store, just swap em out. You might think you dislike macaroni salad, but you havent had this before. Get the recipe for Garlic Lemon Herb Macaroni Salad here.

Instant Michelada Ice Cubes

Do you even understand what these Michelada Ice Cubes can do for your cookout cred? Once you bust these out of the freezer and promise instant beer cocktails for all, youll be hounded for the recipe the rest of the summer. Since its only six ingredients, you can decide whether to write it down for your friends or keep the secrets to yourselfeither way, youre guaranteed a great summer sipper. Get the recipe for Michelada Ice Cubes here.

No Bake Brownie Bites

This dessert, designed for cookouts and weekends at the cabin, doesnt require the baker to stand in front of a hot oven, making it the perfect summer offering. No Bake Brownie Bites are simple to assemble, and the use of dry instant coffee in the mixture keeps them from being overly sweet. There are seven ingredients, all of which you might very well have in your pantry, and since the end result is rather dense, small portions are perfectly satisfying. Get the recipe for No Bake Brownie Bites here.

Smores Dip

You shouldnt have to build up a roaring campfire to enjoy the taste of smores. Thats probably whySmores Dip has become so popular in recent yearsthat and its perfect ratio of marshmallows and chocolate with a graham cracker dipper. Just four ingredients will let everyone crowd around one pan with ease, rather than passing a sticky roasting skewer back and forth while one kid complains that their marshmallow fell into the dirt. Get the recipe for Smores Dip here.


Scotcheroo, Scotcharoono matter how you spell it, this bake sale staple is a bulletproof addition to any Memorial Day Weekend spread. The recipe calls for five ingredients, no oven time, and only a bit of work over the stove, meaning you can prepare a few batches in advance, freeze them, and dole them out at cookouts and potlucks all summer long. Get the recipe for Scotcheroos here.

Homemade Magic Shell for Ice Cream

This reci

Wednesday, May 24, 2023 at 3:00 pm

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