Memorial Day weekend is known for many things…gathering with family, remembering those who serve our great country, patriotism, backyard barbecues, beachside picnics and so much more. But in spite of all these great aspects, this weekend is also known for some not so good-for-you food choices. Here at New England Country Soup, we believe that an all-American menu does not need to be all bad for you. We pride ourselves on being all natural, healthy, as-good-as-homemade, and patriotic to boot! Essentially, ‘good for you’ is more about leaving out the bad, and certainly not, for us, about leaving out the taste! That’s why New England Country Soup uses the freshest vegetables and all natural chicken, heart healthy oils like olive and sunflower and spices in lieu of excess salt (sea salt instead of regular salt for full flavor, but less sodium). Make sure you have a fun and fresh Memorial Day  weekend with these great grill recipes, outdoor friendly salads, and healthy swaps and substitutes.

On the Grill

Did you know that practically ANYTHING can be thrown on the grill. And, grilling imparts fabulous flavor with very little fat, is super quick and easy, and makes a few simple ingredients shine. Try one or more of the recipes below or get creative with recipes all your own!  

Grilled Margarita Pizza

Grilled Chicken Kabobs

Or try… BLT Kebabs

Herbed Turkey Burgers

Simple Salads and Sides:

These simple dishes are easy to whip up to keep you with the party and out of the kitchen. Some can be prepared ahead of time or outside on the picnic table!

Grilled Carrots

Nothing says “Hello Summer!” quite like Grilled Corn on the Cob

A Southern staple, Cowboy Caviar (aka vegetable allsorts)

Watermelon Feta Salad

Desserts Done Right:

Rustic Fruit Tart (use whatever your farmer’s market has!)

Watermelon “Cake

S’mores Pops (Just a bite!)

Healthy Swaps:

As you create your Memorial Day Menu, whether you use the recipes provided above or stick with your own family traditions, there are many ways you can ramp up the health points. Try these easy swaps and substitutes to keep your family gathering fit and carefree.

Low fat and probiotic filled Plain Greek Yogurt works as a base for creamy dips in place of sour cream or cream cheese, as a smooth filling for buttermilk in homemade ranch dressing, and can be sweetened for fruit sauces or ice cream toppings.

Herbs Fresh is the way we turn up the flavor in our own soups and we find that this trick easily translates to many other dishes. Try fresh rosemary on grilled pizza, sweet basilleaves in anything from side salads, and as that “interesting” ingredient in sparkling waters or homemade lemonades. And, never underestimate the use of a sprig of brightspearmint (or any mint for that matter!). It makes the most boring plate pretty and the dullest dish come to life!

Sharp cheeses provide a great burst of flavor and can be used sparingly to compliment a dish. Instead of a mound of american or shredded cheddar, try a few little dabs of tangygoat cheeseFeta adds bite and a salty taste to otherwise sweet dishes and salads, and for grilled pizzas, fresh mozzarella is the best for stringy gooey pizza slices.

Say it with me, “citrus is our friend.” And, its so true! While your grill is hot, halve severallemons, oranges, or limes and place cut side down on a well oiled grill grate. The heat will open up the tiny pockets of juice, caramelize the flavors, and impart a smokey taste to the fruit. Then squeeze over grilled meats, fresh vegetables, even, baked desserts to increase flavor with oh-so-little guilt!

And with everything you do in the kitchen, naturally cook it with love and with your family in mind and you’re sure to wow the crowd. Have a safe and healthy Memorial Day weekend and happy eating!