We are hosting family this Memorial Day weekend, and the weather looks spectacular – time for a cookout!  I’ve prepared menus for 3 days – family members have been warned to arrive hungry!

MENU (Saturday night)

Sunday night:

Monday Fun:


(Adapted from Paula Deen)

Photo Credit: Food Network

1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 pound medium fresh shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
1/3 cup sliced green onions
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded Parmesan
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Pinch salt
Pinch cracked black pepper
Assorted crackers, for serving

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the red bell pepper and cook for 3 minutes.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Stir in the shrimp and green onions and cook until the shrimp are pink and firm, 2 to 3 minutes.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Stir in the sour cream, cheeses, and mayonnaise.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Add the salt and pepper, to taste. Spoon the mixture into a 2-quart baking dish.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Bake until lightly browned and bubbly, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve with assorted crackers.

***Cooking note – I made this dip in advance and then heated it when ready.  It came out very soupy, so I had to keep putting it back in the oven and adding 5 minutes here and there.  It never really solidified, but – – – everyone thought it was delicious anyway.  It truly was gobbled up and raved about.  But I wasn’t happy with the consistency.  Will adjust the ingredients next time to include 4 oz. cream cheese, and I probably won’t make it in advance.

(Adapted from Mountain Mama cooks)

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

This is my new “go-to” salsa recipe.  It tastes fabulous and is a breeze to make.  I keep a batch on hand almost all the time!
1- 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1- 10 oz can original Rotel
1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2-1 jalapeno, seeded or not (depends on how spicy you like it)
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
small to medium size handful of cilantro, washed
juice of 1 lime

Put all the ingredients in the base of a food processor or good blender and pulse to combine for 30 seconds or so until all the ingredients are finely chopped and salsa is desired consistency. Taste for seasoning and adjust to taste. Serve with chips.

(Recipe adapted from Coastal Living Magazine)

Photo Credit: Google Images

This dish is a little tricky in that tri-tips are virtually unknown in the Southeastern part of the United States. I had them originally while visiting friends in California, and people from the west coast and Texas are very familiar with them. The tri-tip is a cut of beef from the bottom sirloin, and it’s generally 2 – 2 1/2 lbs . I simply call my local butcher and order them whenever I need them. I’ve ordered them from Fresh Market and Whole Foods as well.

Photo Credit: Google Images

This preparation is my favorite way to serve tri-tips. You can use a smoker or a regular grill, and they’ll come out juicy and delicious every time. With the addition of a fresh salsa verde your guests will love you!

Salsa Verde
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
2 anchovy fillets, very finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 tbsp drained capers, roughly chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp finely chopped fresh mint
½ tsp kosher salt

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

For steak
Two 1½-pound tri-tip steaks, sliced crosswise into 1¼-inch-thick planks (can also use flank steak with excellent results). For 10 people I used 3 tri-tips that were 2 1/2 lbs each. We had lots of leftovers!
Marinade for one tri-tip:
1 tsp kosher salt
1½ tsp grapeseed oil

Rub the salt and the grapeseed oil all over the tri-tips. Grill over hot coals until desired level of doneness. Let rest for 10 minutes or so, and then slice thinly against the grain. Serve with salsa verde drizzled over the top.

Place salsa verde ingredients in medium bowl; whisk together to combine.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: the delicious life
2-3 bunches fresh asparagus

3-4 packages thinly sliced prosciutto
Extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Wash and trim an inch off the bottom of the asparagus.  Blot off, and place in a glass baking dish.  Drizzle with olive oil, then generously add salt and pepper.  Toss with your hands until well coated.

Slice each prosciutto slice in half lengthwise, and wrap around 1-2 stalks of asparagus.  Grill either directly on the heat or on a metal grill sheet with holes until done ~ 15 minutes.  You want them to be cooked, but not too soft.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

(Recipe from Bon Appetit)

Photo Credit: Bon Appetit

I got this recipe from the most recent Bon Appetit magazine, and it is just fabulous! I’ll be making it again and again~
Mixed greens (whatever you like)
1 shallot, minced
2 TBSP Lemon juice
1 TBSP Rice vinegar
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Combine 1 finely chopped shallot, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (I use Key Lime Lemon), and 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar in a jar; season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Let sit 20 minutes. Add 1/3 cup olive oil and cover. Shake to combine.

You know this recipe, but just in case:
Hershey Bars
Marshmallows and
Graham Crackers
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Melt the marshmallows over a fire and create your dessert!  ENJOY!


(Adapted from Food.com)

Photo Credit: Food.com

This dip should have my picture next to it, because it has everything I love in it – olives, cream cheese, garlic, jalapenos, and yes, vodka! Serve with crackers, chips or crudites.
1 8oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1 8oz jar of chopped green olives, drained but reserve juice
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 minced garlic cloves
4 green onions, chopped both tops and green
1/4 tsp garlic salt
~ 1/4 cup mild pickled jalapeno peppers
1 oz vodka

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Combine all ingredients and blend until well mixed.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Add some olive juice if desired for that Dirty Martini flavor!

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Chill for an hour and dig in!

(Adapted from Hoboken Digested)
Photo Credit: Hoboken Digested

1.5 lbs jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
5 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp rice wine, sake, or dry sherry
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1 1/2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp Thai sweet chile sauce
1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 slices (1/4″ thick) fresh ginger
2 scallions, trimmed, white part smashed, green part finely chopped and set aside for garnish.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Rinse the shrimp under cold running water, then drain and blot dry with paper towels. Set aside while you prepare the marinade.
Combine three tablespoons of the sesame oil, the rice wine, soy sauce, honey, sesame seeds, chile sauce, and five-spice powder in a large bowl and whisk to blend.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Stir in the garlic, ginger, scallions, and shrimp to coat, then cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.
Preheat the grill to high.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp from the marinade to a bowl and toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil. Pour the marinade into a saucepan; remove and discard the garlic, ginger, and scallion whites using the slotted spoon. Bring the marinade to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, uncovered, to a thick, syrupy glaze, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
When ready to cook, oil the grate. Arrange the shrimp on the hot grate and grill, turning with tongs, until nicely browned on the outside and firm and pink inside, about 2 minutes per side. Brush the shrimp with the glaze as they cook.
Transfer the shrimp to serving plates and or a platter.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Serve immediately. 4 Servings

(Adapted from Hoboken Digested)
Photo Credit: Hoboken Digested
This recipe says it serves 2-4, so I’ll double it to feed my group.

6 chicken drumsticks
1 (7 ounce) can chipotle peppers in adobo
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 garlic clove
juice of 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning chicken

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Rinse and pat dry the chicken.
Combine chipotle peppers, honey, vinegar, garlic, lime and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor. Process until it becomes a paste.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Place chicken in a glass dish, lightly season with salt.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Transfer 1/4 cup of the marinade to a bowl and set aside. Spread remaining marinade over chicken and turn to coat completely.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
When ready to cook. Heat grill over medium heat. Grill chicken until browned on all sides, turning once and brushing with reserved marinade. Cooking time is about 25 – 30 minutes depending on the size of the chicken legs. Chicken is done when it is punctured and juices run clear.
Transfer to a serving platter and serve hot.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

(Adapted from Family Fresh Cooking)

Photo Credit: Family Fresh Cooking

Salad Greens
a few handfuls diced Bell Peppers, use a variety of colors
a few handfuls Grape Tomatoes sliced in half
a handful of fresh chopped Dill
a handful of Italian Parsley
a few handfuls of crumbled Feta Cheese
a few handfuls of sliced pitted Kalamata Olives
a handful Green Onion
1/2 cup thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
a few pinches of Black Pepper
a few pinches of Garlic Salt
Salad Dressing of choice or a squeeze of Lemon Juice and Olive Oil

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

(Adapted from Pioneer Woman)

Photo Credit: Pioneer Woman
6 whole Zucchini (medium Sized)
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
3 whole Lemons, Zested
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt (additional)
Extra Olive Oil If Needed For Brushing
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Lop off the tops and bottoms of the zucchini and slice them into quarters, lengthwise. Place them all in a very large (or two regular sized) plastic zipper bag. Drizzle in olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon lemon zest and the juice of two lemons. Seal the bag(s) and smush them around a bit so that the zucchini is coated. Set aside for 15 to 20 minutes to marinate.

Prepare the indoor or outdoor grill to medium to medium-low heat. Grill the zucchini on all three sides until nice and tender, being careful not to burn them. Remove the zucchini to a plate as it gets done.

Pile up the rest of the lemon zest and sprinkle 1 tablespoon kosher salt on top. Use a knife to chop the salt and zest together until it becomes…well, lemon salt! Add more salt if it needs it. Sprinkle the lemon salt over the plate of grilled zucchini and serve.

(Adapted from a recipe I got from my friend, Denise)

Photo Credit: Google Images

Makes about three dozen bites. These little morsels were so good I could’ve eaten the entire tray myself! Thank you Denise!

1 pound small or medium red potatoes
2 1/2 tsp salt, divided
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
12 ounces to 1 pound thick-cut bacon
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1-3 tsp hot sauce

1 tsp (or more Lemon Pepper)

chopped chives
Salt and pepper

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Wash and dry the potatoes. Chop them into 1-inch pieces, keeping the chunks roughly the same size even if they aren’t the exact same shape.

Put the potatoes in a medium pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Season the water with 2 teaspoons of salt. Once the water begins to boil, cook the potatoes for 3 to 4 minutes, until you can stick a fork into them without too much resistance. You want the potatoes to be almost, but not fully, cooked through so they won’t fall apart during the next steps.

Drain the potatoes and put them in a large bowl. Add the rosemary, olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of pepper, and toss until the potatoes are evenly coated.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Cut the strips of bacon into thirds. Wrap each potato bite in a piece of bacon, securing it with a toothpick.

Put the potatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil spaced an inch or two apart. You may need to cook the potatoes in two batches.

Cook the bacon-wrapped potatoes for 15 minutes, then flip each piece. Cook for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the bacon is cooked through and as crisp as you like it.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Mix the sour cream, chives, Lemon Pepper and hot sauce in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pile the potato bites on a plate and serve alongside the dip.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

(Adapted from Epicurious)

Photo Credit: Epicurious


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour

7 to 8 ounces milk chocolate, broken into pieces, or 1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 cup chopped almonds, toasted
***NOTE – can substitute toffee baking bits for 1/2 of the almonds to heighten the toffee flavor!

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment.
Prepare the crust. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg yolk, vanilla, and salt. On low speed, gradually beat in the flour just until mixed. The dough will be stiff. Pat the dough evenly over the bottom of the baking pan.
Bake in the center of the oven until pale gold on top, about 20 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and scatter the chocolate pieces evenly over the crust. Return the pan to the oven for 1 minute. Remove the pan again and, using a knife, spread the chocolate evenly over the crust. Sprinkle evenly with the almonds.
Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Using a sharp knife, cut into small squares, then carefully remove from the pan with a small offset spatula or an icing spatula.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

(Adapted from All Recipes)

Photo Credit: All Recipes

This recipe is for 10 brats – adjust accordingly.
4 (12 ounce) cans beer
1 large onion, diced
10 bratwurst
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat. When hot, lightly oil grate.
Combine the beer and onions in a large pot; bring to a boil. Submerge the bratwurst in the beer; add the red pepper flakes, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

Reduce heat to medium and cook another 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the bratwurst from the beer mixture; reduce heat to low, and continue cooking the onions.

Then, cook the bratwurst on the preheated grill, turning once, 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with or without buns and sauerkraut and mustard.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

My go-to for hotdogs are Hebrew National – I think they’re the best.

(Adapted from Gwenyth Paltrow)
1 package coleslaw mix
2 TBSP veganaise
1 TBSP lime juice
1 tsp salt

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Mix all together just before serving – adjust veganaise, lime and salt to taste.

This recipe is how my mother always fixed baked beans.  It’s my favorite.

2 jars of B&M Baked Beans (again, these are my favorite – very small and great flavor)
1-2 TBSP brown sugar
1-2 TBSP yellow mustard
2 TBSP ketchup
1 small onion, minced
1 slice of bacon or salt pork

Combine all ingredients and bake at 350 degrees F until hot and bubbly.  Remove pork and serve.

And even though we will be at a lake not the beach, I thought this drink screamed, “MEMORIAL DAY!” ;0)

Photo Credit: Liquor.com

The following ingredients make 2 drinks.
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup pineapple juice
6 TBSP Light Rum
2 TBSP Amaretto
2 TBSP Grenadine (or less depending on your taste)

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Here are a few pics of how we spent OUR Memorial Day weekend: