Celebrate Memorial Day With Flags and Fresh Local Produce

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Memorial Day is an American Holiday always observed on the last Monday of May, the day serves to honor the men and women who dies while serving the United States military. Memorial Day this year will be celebrated on Monday, May 27, 2024. Often families celebrate and observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades.
Memorial Day often marks the “unofficial” beginning of the summer season, which also means the beginning of more widely available fresh fruits and vegetables. To celebrate this year, wear your red, white and blue and place some flags on gravesites in honor of fallen soldiers. Then join family for some fresh local “in season” produce.

Tomato Basil Strawberry Salsa

  • 2 large fresh Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 ½ fresh strawberries, diced
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
  • Juice of one fresh squeezed lime
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt and ground pepper

To make the tomato basil strawberry salsa: Add all ingredients to a large serving bowl and toss gently until well combined.
Refrigerate the tomato basil strawberry salsa for at least 1 hour before serving, to let the flavors combine. Give a quick stir when serving because the juices tend to set at the bottom. Enjoy!

Cool and Refreshing Chicken Orzo Salad

  • 12 ounces orzo, whole wheat preferred
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 2 cups fresh cucumbers, diced
  • 2 cups fresh asparagus, cut into ½ pieces and blanched and cooled
  • 1 cup green onions, optional
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped

For the Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon local honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl; set aside.

To a large skillet, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, chicken, evenly season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 to 6 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and lightly golden browned. Stir and flip intermittently to ensure all sides cook evenly. I used thin-sliced chicken breasts which cook quickly. Cooking time will vary based on thickness of chicken. Transfer the chicken and cooking juices to the bowl with the orzo.
Add the tomatoes, cucumbers, asparagus, green onions, parsley, basil, and stir to combine; set aside.
To a small bowl, add 3 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, honey, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and whisk to combine. Taste vinaigrette and check for seasoning balance; add more salt, honey, lemon juice, etc. to taste.
Evenly drizzle the vinaigrette over the orzo bowl, stir to coat evenly, and either serve
immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate before serving. (I think it is better if it is refrigerated for a bit).
Serves 6-10, each serving contains; Calories 480, Carbohydrates 42 g., Protein 41 g., Fat 12 g., Sodium 621 mg., Fiber 4 g., Sugar 13 g.

Mini Fruit Fluffy Cheesecake Trifle

For the Graham Cracker Crumble

  • 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs, about 10 full sized crackers
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

For the Cheesecake

  • 8 ounce cream cheese
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 cups cool whip, or freshly whipped cream
  • Fresh berries, strawberries and blueberries are in season

For the graham cracker crumble, crush crackers in a large zip lock type bag, pour crumbs, sugar and melted butter into a bowl and stir until fully combined. Pour into a 9” x 13” casserole dish and press into an even layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, until light brown. Allow to cool.
For the cheesecake, beat cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth. Add powdered sugar, beat to combine. Add lemon juice and beat until fully incorporated. Add milk and combine.
Fold cool whip or freshly whipped cream into cream cheese mixture. Spoon into dessert dished, or smaller dishes, like a glass juice cup, fill a large piping bag and pipe into dessert dishes.

To assemble, layer a spoonful of graham cracker crumble, then a layer of cheesecake, fresh chopped strawberries, fresh blueberries and a final layer of cheesecake.
Serves 6, each serving contains; Calories 314, Carbohydrates 37 g., Protein 5 g., Fat 17 g.,
Sodium 294 mg., Fiber 1 g., Sugar 23 g.

New Potato Salad

  • 4 cups baby red skin new potatoes, cut into small pieces
  • ½ cup green bell pepper, finely diced
  • ¼ cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon reduced fat mayonnaise

Salt and fresh ground pepper
Optional, top with sliced green onions
Bring a pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until soft, about 10 minutes.
While the potatoes are boiling, combine the red onion, green pepper, mustard, olive oil, vinegar and mayonnaise and season with salt and pepper.
Once the potatoes are done, toss them into the bowl with dressing and additional salt and pepper to taste. Top with optional sliced green onions.
Serve at room temperature or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Serves 6, each ¾ cup serving contains; Calories 107, Carbohydrates 17 g., Protein 2.2 g., Fat 3.2 g., Fiber 2 g.

Mexican Street Corn Salad

  • 4 ears of fresh corn
  • 2 tablespoons of sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon of fine sea salt
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • ½ teaspoon of chipotle chili powder, or regular chili powder
  • 1 small bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 medium jalapeno, finely diced, more or less to taste
  • 1/3 cup of cotija cheese, crumbles
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • Optional garnish, extra cheese, cilantro, limes

Heat your grill to roughly 400 degrees.

You can grill the corn with the husks on or off. If using husks on, let your corn soak in water for 10 minutes before grilling, if using husks off, lightly spray each cob with cooking spray.
Place the corn on the grill and cook for roughly 12 minutes, turning the cobs ¼ turn every 3 minutes. Let the corn cool enough to handle and then carefully cut the corn form the cob and place in a large bowl.
Make the dressing by stirring together sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic, salt, lime zest and juice, and chili powder.
In a large bowl, combine the corn, bell pepper, jalapeno, cilantro, cotija cheese, and cream sauce.
Toss to combine so that all of the corn is covered.
Garnish with additional cheese and cilantro.
Serves 4, each serving contains; Calories 311, Carbohydrates 31 g., Protein 9 g., Fat 18 g., Sodium 486 mg., Sugar 10 g.