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Never to forget

MaxMahem, Wikimedia Commons

If you are entertaining guests, a fresh spinach salad with red, white and blue additions, is sure to be popular.


Memorial Day is Monday, May 31.

It is a very reverent holiday, when we remember all those who died while in military service with the U.S. armed forces. It is a day not only for visiting cemeteries and parades, but for families to gather and share stories and other remembrances of their loved ones who gave up their lives for our country.

This country is divided now, but is showing signs of focusing on getting more united. There is one thing that automatically unites us all as a nation, no matter what your heritage or where your ancestors came from.

We all like to eat.

We all appreciate good food and the people who work hard to grow, raise, sell, prepare and cook that food. So, if your family is getting together to celebrate this Memorial Day, and a meal is part of the event, here are a few recipes that may fit in with your plans. Fly your flag and set your picnic table.

Red, white and blue spinach salad

Of course, the spinach adds some green. You can add some crumbled feta cheese over the top of this salad if you wish.

1 bag (16-oz.) fresh baby spinach leaves

1 cup cubed, cooked chicken breast

1 cup mixed berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, quartered strawberries)

1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes

1/2 cup sliced white mushrooms

1/4 cup slivered almonds, chopped roasted pecans or walnuts, optional

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1. In a large salad bowl, combine the spinach, chicken, berries, tomatoes, mushrooms and almonds, pecans or walnuts, if using. Toss to combine.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil and salt, and pour over the salad. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Grilled fish tacos

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 garlic clove, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 pound talapia, cod or mahi-mahi

8 corn tortillas, warmed

2 cups shredded purple cabbage

1 avocado, sliced

3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves

1/3 cup Cotija cheese, optional

For sauce:

1/4 cup sour cream

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, lime juice, garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika and cayenne; season with salt and pepper to taste (about 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper).

2. Place fish into a dish or gallon size resealable bag and pour marinade over fish (if using a bag, seal bag and gently move bag around to evenly coat fish with marinade), allow to marinate in mixture 20 minutes (and no longer than 30 minutes).

3. For grilling: Preheat a grill to medium-high heat. Brush grill grates with oil and place fish on grill. Grill until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side (cooking time will vary based on thickness of fish).

4. To make the sauce: While the fish is cooking, whisk together sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice and garlic powder in a small bowl. Season with salt to taste.

5. To assemble tacos: Break fish into pieces, layer over warm tortillas. Top with shredded cabbage, avocado slices, cilantro, cheese if using, and drizzle with fish taco sauce. Makes 4 servings.

Baked ham and cheese sliders

12 white or Hawaiian dinner rolls

12 slices honey ham

12 slices Swiss cheese (or other type, if desired)

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon dehydrated minced onion

1 tablespoon yellow or Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon poppy seeds

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a large baking sheet with foil.

2. Halve dinner rolls and place 1 slice each of ham and Swiss inside each roll. Place rolls very close together on the baking sheet.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, onion flakes, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and poppy seeds. Pour evenly over all of the sandwiches. Let sit 10 minutes or until butter sets slightly. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

4. Uncover rolls and cook an additional 4 or 5 minutes, or until tops are lightly brown and crispy. Serve warm. Makes 12 sliders.

Red, white and blue frozen pops

Make sure you have plenty of time before starting this recipe. This is great for Fourth of July, too.

1 bag (12-oz.) frozen blueberries, thawed

6 tablespoons agave syrup, divided (you can also use honey)

1 cup plain yogurt

1/2 cup milk (can use almond or soy milk too)

1 bag (12-oz.) frozen raspberries, thawed

1. Place defrosted blueberries and 2 tablespoons agave or honey in a blender and puree until smooth.

2. Pour the blueberry puree 1/3 way up each popsicle mold and freeze for 30 to 45 minutes.

3. In a bowl, combine the yogurt, milk and 2 tablespoons of agave or honey and whisk until smooth.

4. Pour yogurt mixture 2/3 way up the popsicle molds on top of the blueberry mixture, gently tap to even out the yogurt layer, and freeze for another 30 to 45 minutes.

5. Place defrosted raspberries and 2 tablespoons agave or honey in a blender and blend until smooth.

6. Finish the popsicles by pouring the raspberry puree over the yogurt, place sticks in and freeze 6 hours to overnight, until frozen through. Makes about 8 pops, depending on the size of your molds.

Note: All popsicle molds are different sizes, so you may have some leftover purees. You can refrigerate the remaining berry purees and use as toppings for yogurt, granola, pancakes, etc.


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