Memorial Day unofficially marks the beginning of summer. This year, Memorial Day is on Monday, May 29, the holiday always being observed on the last Monday of May every year. Memorial Day is a time to remember and honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military, and the long weekend also provides an opportunity for many families and friends to get together after not having seen one another in a long time.
There are many Memorial Day weekend traditions, such as Memorial Day parades that often incorporate military personnel, people wearing red poppies in remembrance of those fallen to war, and Americans visiting cemeteries and memorials to pay their respects.
And on a lighter note, lots of people also take trips over Memorial Day weekend, or go to outdoor parties and barbecues. So, if you’re hosting a Memorial Day weekend barbecue this year, or are attending one and need to bring something for the grill, here are six easy and healthy recipes that everyone is sure to love.
We all know that hot dogs and burgers are summer BBQ staples. We also know that they’re not necessarily the healthiest options for us to eat. Rather than completely avoiding hot dogs and burgers this Memorial Day weekend, you can just make healthier versions that are still easy to prepare.
Quick & Easy Black Bean Burgers
Don’t knock this Quick & Easy Black Bean Burger recipe until you try it. Sure, it’s not filled with meat, but let’s be real, chances are you won’t even miss the meat when you’re eating this tasty veggie burger.
All you need to make these black bean burgers are ingredients that you probably already have in your home. This recipe requires one 15-ounce can of black beans, which you’ll rinse and drain, two tablespoons of oat flour (or you can grind two tablespoons of oats, or use your preferred flour), one teaspoon of water, ¼ cup of frozen corn (optional), and seasoning (your choice – garlic, chili powder, cumin, etc.).
To make this black bean burger, heat a large skillet over medium heat, and then coat it with non-stick spray. As the skillet heats up, mash beans in a large bowl with a fork. Add in flour, seasoning, and stir in corn (if you’re using it), making sure to mix well. Form the mix into three patties, and add it to the skillet. Cook for two to three minutes, or until the veggie burgers are browned. Then flip and cook for another minute or two.
If you’re someone (or have a guest) who prefers burgers with meat, just make sure to choose lean meat for the burgers. As long as the meat is lean, you can go with ground beef, turkey, or chicken for your burgers. And make sure to size the burgers correctly – one serving size of protein is about a 4-ounce patty.
California Hot Dog
You can find hot dogs pretty much anywhere. However, not all hot dogs are created equal. So, for this California Hot Dog recipe, you’re going to make sure that you choose hot dogs that have no more than 150 calories per hot dog, have 3 grams (or less) of saturated fat, and 370 milligrams or less of sodium. And while you’re in the grocery store, make sure to purchase whole grain hot dog buns, avocados, a red onion, alfalfa sprouts, and curry powder. Then you can start grilling once you’re back home.
To make the hot dog a California Hot Dog, place the grilled hot dog in a whole grain bun, add two tablespoons of diced avocados, one tablespoon of finely diced red onion, one tablespoon of alfalfa sprouts, and ¼ teaspoon of curry powder (or as much as you’d like for taste). This California Hot Dog provides 11 grams of protein, 27.5 grams of carbohydrates, and 7.1 grams of dietary fiber.
Best Healthy Grilled Chicken
This Best Healthy Grilled Chicken recipe yields four servings and takes just under an hour to make, with a marinating time of 30 minutes, a cook time of 20 minutes, and five minutes needed for prep. The ingredients you’ll need are four boneless skinless chicken breasts (or chicken thighs), ¼ cup of olive oil, four tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, two tablespoons of brown sugar (or honey), one tablespoon of soy sauce, one teaspoon of minced garlic, one teaspoon of Italian blend herbs, and a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional).
The chicken should be marinated for a minimum of 30 minutes, but can also be marinated up to eight hours or overnight, if you’d like to develop a deeper flavor. To make the marinade, stir together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar (or honey), soy sauce, minced garlic, dried herbs, and red pepper flakes. Pour it into a large bag, along with the chicken, and press the excess air out of the bag. Then seal it. Let it chill for 30 minutes or overnight, depending upon your preference and the amount of time that you have before you need to start grilling.
Use tongs to transfer the marinated chicken to a preheated grill or a grill pan on the stove. Then get rid of the marinade. Cook the chicken for six to 10 minutes on each side (depending on how thick it is) over medium heat until it is cooked through. The juices should run clear when you cut into the thickest part of the chicken. Serve immediately, and enjoy.
Patriotic Potato Salad with Herb Dressing
Potato salad is another one of those foods that will probably be expected at any Memorial Day BBQ. The only catch is that store-bought potato salad usually is high in calories due to the amount of mayonnaise that’s added to it. That’s why we recommend making the potato salad yourself so you can control the ingredients that you’re putting into it. This Patriotic Potato Salad with Herb Dressing, made with red, white, and blue potatoes, is a healthy side for your Memorial Day BBQ that is sure to be a big hit. Plus, it’s super easy to make.
The ingredients required are one pound of purple potatoes, 24 ounces of baby Yukon potatoes, 24 ounces of baby red potatoes, and three hard boiled eggs (sliced). To make the herb dressing, you’ll need two large garlic cloves (minced), one tablespoon of diced fresh rosemary, one tablespoon of diced fresh thyme, two tablespoons of diced fresh flat leaf parsley, ¼ cup of diced fresh chives, two tablespoons of stone ground mustard, one tablespoon of honey, ¼ cup of red wine vinegar, ¼ cup of olive oil, and salt and pepper (for taste).
To make this Patriotic Potato Salad with Herb Dressing, start by filling a large pot with water. Add the whole potatoes into the pot and then cover the pot, bringing it to a boil. Cook for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Once they’re ready, remove the potatoes from the pot and drain them. Let the potatoes sit for five minutes to cool and then cut them into quarters.
To make the herb dressing, add the garlic cloves, rosemary, thyme, parsley, chives, mustard, honey, and red wine vinegar into a medium bowl. Use a whisk to stir until combined. Then slowly add olive oil to the bowl, whisking the entire time until the mixture turns into a dressing.
Add the potatoes (cut into quarters) to a large bowl with hard boiled eggs. Then pour the dressing over the potatoes and toss the potato salad until all the potatoes are covered in the dressing. Then add salt and pepper for taste, and serve.
The Easiest Healthy Coleslaw
Coleslaw is a perfect side at any cookout, BBQ, or picnic since it’s often paired with hot dogs. However, coleslaw is another one of those side dishes that usually has a lot of mayo and other fatty ingredients when it’s store-bought. So, that’s why it’s better to just make it yourself, especially when you have The Easiest Healthy Coleslaw recipe at your fingertips.
The ingredients that you’ll need for this healthy coleslaw are two tablespoons of Dijon mustard, two tablespoons of 2% Greek yogurt, two tablespoons of vinegar (red wine, white wine, or apple cider are all good options), two tablespoons of canola oil, ½ head of green cabbage and a ½ head of red cabbage (both very thinly sliced), three carrots (cut into thin strips), one teaspoon of fennel seeds, pickled jalapenos (optional), and salt and black pepper (for taste).
To make the coleslaw, mix the mustard, Greek yogurt, and vinegar in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil, and season with salt and pepper. Combine the cabbages, carrots, fennel seeds, jalapenos, and dressing in a large bowl. Then toss it so everything is evenly coated. If you’d like, you can season it with more salt and pepper.
Who doesn’t love slushies? Seriously. So, if you need a healthy dessert that’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser, look no further. To make these healthy Watermelon Slushies, puree six cups of chopped seedless watermelon in a blender until smooth, and pour it into a shallow airtight container and freeze the night before your BBQ, cookout, or picnic. Bring the frozen watermelon on your picnic, or to your BBQ or cookout, and let it thaw slightly. Then mash it with a fork and spoon into cups, and enjoy. It doesn’t get any easier than that, does it?
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