Easy, Healthy Memorial Day Menu & Make-Ahead Tips

Flank Steak PinwheelsFlank Steak PinwheelsDon't do what I did last Memorial Day. We hosted a huge backyard BBQ with at least 50 people. We told our friends and neighbors to bring side dishes and desserts and we'd provide the main sustenance. "I'll man the grill," I told my housemates. What a mistake! Several pounds of drumsticks, many packages of tofu, a huge box of hot dogs and many, many hours later, it was dark, the mosquitoes were sucking on my neck and I was left eating pizza that a latecomer brought to the party. Never again!

I learned the secret to having a great party while still enjoying myself: keep it small and simple (and do as much as you can ahead of time).

This year, I'm inviting just a few select friends over and here's what's cooking:


  • A simple summer cocktail. To make Island Limeade, combine 3 cups boiling water and 1/3-1/2 cup sugar, to taste. Stir until the sugar dissolves; chill. Add 1 1/4 cups freshly squeezed lime juice to make limeade. Fill 4 tall glasses with ice and divide 6 ounces dark rum among the glasses. Top with the limeade. Nonalcoholic variation: Omit the rum. (Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare a large batch of the limeade-sans rum-and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.)
  • Grilled Pizza with Garden Tomatoes: Cut it into little pieces for an appetizer. (Make-Ahead Tip: Have the dough and all the toppings prepped and ready to go before your guests arrive.)
  • Flank Steak Pinwheels: I'm making a double batch ahead of time, so I can spend just a few minutes grilling, then sit down and enjoy my meal. (Make-Ahead Tip: You can prepare the steak roll ahead of time, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 6 hours until you're ready to grill.)
  • I'll drop a huge hint to my bestie Sarah to bring Strawberry Shortcake. (To serve, place sliced shortcake biscuits, berries and cream on a table and let guests assemble their own.)

By Carolyn Malcoun

When associate editor Carolyn Malcoun came to Vermont to attend New England Culinary Institute, she knew she didn't want to work in a restaurant but knew that she wanted to do something in the food industry. Luckily she discovered EatingWell, where she's able to combine her love of food and writing.

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