Memorial Day Made Simple

For an easy Memorial Day idea, honor our veterans and soldiers and signal the arrival of summer with an outdoor celebration. The day will go smoothly with our easy make-ahead menu, a step-by-step party-planning checklist, and fun Memorial Day party ideas.

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Show gratitude for the freedom that soldiers have fought for by celebrating Memorial Day with the ones you love. Invite friends and family, share easy Memorial Day recipes, and enjoy the barely-there summer weather. We have everything you need to plan the menu, prep for the party, and enjoy spending time with family and friends.

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Rosemary-Grapefruit Gin Cocktails

Put that fresh herb garden to good use. These sweet-tart drinks are a great way to start the party, and they only take a few minutes to prep. Make the rosemary syrup the night before, then set up a bar with all the fixings and let guests mix their own Memorial Day cocktails.

Rosemary-Grapefruit Gin Cocktails Recipe

Watermelon-Mint Salad

Snag a sneak peek of summer's fresh flavors with this watermelon salad perfect for your Memorial Day menu. It's super simple to make and only calls for five ingredients.

Watermelon-Mint Salad Recipe

Peanut Butter Burgers

Your friends will be begging to get the recipe for your oh-so-juicy burgers. The secret? Peanut butter tucked inside the burger mix prior to grilling.

Peanut Butter Burger Recipe

BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches

These faux-BBQ sammies will please vegetarians and carnivores alike. Their meaty taste comes from shredded jackfruit and barbecue sauce. 

BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches Recipe

BLT Pasta Salad

A summertime staple and must-have Memorial Day dish, pasta salad is the perfect picnic side. Try this dressed-up version with bacon, lettuce, and tomato. 

BLT Pasta Salad Recipe

Padma's Grilled Corn

Corn on the cob is perfect for any Memorial Day menu. It's portable, grillable, and oh, so flavorful thanks to lemons, smoked paprika, and fleur de sel.

Padma's Grilled Corn Recipe

Ice Cream Tacos

This fun (and easy-to-make) treat deserves a place on your Memorial Day desserts table. Upgrade a basic ice cream sundae by making waffle-cone "taco shells." Then let guests create their own masterpieces by setting out different flavors of ice cream and toppings.

Ice Cream Tacos Recipe

Key Lime Pie Cupcakes

End your Memorial Day menu with a sweet-but-tart treat. These cute Key lime cupcakes are filled as well as frosted and feature a decadent graham cracker crust.

Key Lime Pie Cupcakes Recipe

Fun Entertaining Ideas

Casual entertaining in the backyard is one of the joys of summer. If you've decided to invite a ton of folks to drop by throughout the day, play the day by ear rather than coming up with a formal plan. These pre-party prep ideas let guests entertain themselves on a whim.

  • Set up activity stations to encourage spontaneous fun. Think croquet, badminton, volleyball, or Bocce.
  • For the kids (and the kids at heart), set out Hula-Hoops, sidewalk chalk, water balloons, music, and more.
  • Arrange some chairs in the shade, and have a tub filled with beverages to beat the heat. If you live in a hot and sunny climate, consider a kiddie pool for instant cool-offs.

Your Party-Planning Checklist

The Day Before the Party:

  • Prepare the syrup for the Rosemary-Grapefruit Gin Cocktails. Cover and store in an airtight container.
  • Make Key Lime Pie Cupcakes.
  • Set up outdoor activity stations.
  • Make sure the gas grill's propane tank is full.

Four Hours Before the Party: 

  • Prepare the Watermelon-Mint Salad. Cover and chill.
  • Cook pasta for the BLT Pasta Salad. Place in the fridge to cool.
  • Set out backyard toys for kids to play with and arrange chairs for seating.

Two Hours Before the Party:

  • Assemble the BLT Pasta Salad.
  • Prepare a condiments tray for the burgers.

30 Minutes Before the Party:

  • Set up a cocktail station with all the ingredients for the Rosemary-Grapefruit Gin Cocktails. Don't forget the ice!
  • Prepare Peanut Butter Burgers for grilling.
  • Prepare BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches filling.
  • Slice hamburger buns and shuck the corn.
  • Prepare toppings for Ice Cream Tacos bar (except the ice cream). 
  • Light the grill.
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