Kickoff Summer With These Memorial Day Party Recipes

Planning the perfect Memorial Day party can be fun, but it can also be stressful to come up with just the right ingredients.  Chef Blakely Trettenero, the founder of, says there are plenty of ways to make that party pop.

“Grilling outside with family, friends, cocktails and fun is an ideal way to kickoff summer,” she says.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Memorial Day is the third-largest grilling occasion of the year, behind July 4 and birthdays. Plus, it’s affordable, with the price of a 12-person cookout in 2015 rising just 2 percent over the previous year.

“Make a party out of it,” Trettenero says. “Go ahead and decorate, and consider catering to everyone who will attend: kids, drinkers, vegetarians. And, don’t forget water bowls and treats for those with dogs.”

Most important of all are the food and libations. Trettenero offers some recipes for getting the party started.

• Homemade BBQ Sauce: Whether it’s steak, burgers, chicken or veggie patties, you can’t go wrong with fresh BBQ sauce. It’s easy to make your own sauce and it’s fun to tinker with different ingredients to see exactly what you and your family like. You won’t go wrong by combining the following ingredients:

1¼ cup ketchup
1 cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup water
¼ cup pineapple juice
¼ cup molasses
juice from ½ lemon
2 ½ teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons paprika
½ – 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

• Wing it in the oven: While grilling hot dogs and burgers, consider using the oven to cook wings in a tinfoil-lined tray for a much easier time than frying them. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and cook the wings for 30 minutes (you can make BBQ sauce during this time). Next, brush the wings liberally with the sauce and kick the oven temperature up to 400 degrees. Cook the wings an additional 10 minutes.

• Watermelon Margarita Popsicles:

5 cups diced seedless watermelon
½ cup sugar
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
¾ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
½ cup silver tequila of choice
sliced lime rounds (optional)

In a blender add the watermelon, sugar, lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice and tequila. In your Popsicle mold of choice, pour the liquid ¾ of the way full, put on the top, and put in your sticks. If you want, add a thinly sliced lime round in the mold before pouring it in to make it look pretty. Let them freeze for 3-plus hours before enjoying.

“These recipes are just the beginning of what’s possible at your grilling party,” Trettenero says.

About Blakely Trettenero

Blakely Trettenero, host of the Cooking for Bimbos ( and Hungry for Travels ( websites, is a graduate of the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Orlando, Fla. She is a world traveler, having visited more than 30 countries, and is becoming a frequent guest on TV.

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