Memorial Day is a day of remembrance of those who have died in our nation’s service. Each state, city, and town have various activities prepared to honor this day. As for me, it is the beginning of grilling season. What can I say, I am a cook at heart and find every opportunity to celebrate every holiday with food, after I pay my respects, that is, and honor those who have died for our country as their sacrifice is the greatest sacrifice of all.If you have a day planned for the outdoors with grilling in mind or having a picnic, I have a few dishes that you may want to consider adding to your repertoire. The recipes are easy with minimal prep, hence more time spend enjoying the day. Have a great Memorial Day!

Grilled Spice-Rubbed Skirt Steak

Try this flavorful cut of meat instead of the usual rib-eye, tenderloin, etc. Slice the meat thinly so it remains tender.

3 garlic cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
2  teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1/4 pounds skirt steak (2 steaks), each halved crosswise


Mince garlic and mash to a paste with salt. Stir together spices and herb in a bowl, then stir in garlic, molasses and oil until a paste forms. Pat steak dry, massage paste all over the steak. Place marinated steak in large plastic bag and chill at least 6 hours.

Bring steak to room temperature, at least 30 minutes before grilling. While steak comes to room temperature, prepare grill for cooking. If using a charcoal grill, open vents on bottom of grill, then light charcoal. Charcoal fire is hot when you can hold your hand 5 inches above rack for 1 to 2 seconds. If using a gas grill, preheat burners on high, covered, 10 minutes, then reduce heat to moderately high.

Grill steak on lightly oiled grill rack, uncovered, turning over once for approximately 4 to 6 minutes total for medium-rare.  Cut steak diagonally across grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices and serve.

Serves 6

Chicken with Jalapeno Tequila Glaze

Sweet and spicy chicken with citrus and tequila. Adjust heat to desired spiciness.

1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely ground whole coriander seeds, in spice mill or mortar with pestle
1 teaspoon ground fennel
1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 whole fryer chicken (about 3 1/2-4 lbs), cut up
2/3 cup pineapple juice
1 lime, juiced
1/3 cup gold or silver tequila
2 tablespoons (packed) brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 to 2 finely chopped jalapeño chiles with seeds
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger-root


Mix coriander, salt, fennel, and red pepper. Sprinkle mixture all over chicken, cover and chill at least 6 hours or overnight.

Combine pineapple juice, tequila, brown sugar, honey, 1 jalapeño, shallot, garlic, and ginger in small saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until mixture thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Add 1 more jalapeño if more heat is desired. Cool glaze. Transfer about 5 tablespoon glaze to small bowl and set aside for serving.

Prepare barbecue grill on medium heat and spray with nonstick spray. . Arrange chicken, skin side up, on grill. Grill 15 minutes, turning occasionally. Brush chicken with glaze in saucepan. Turn chicken over; brush with glaze again. Grill until juices run clear when pierced with fork or until instant-read thermometer inserted into chicken registers 165°F, turning and brushing occasionally with glaze, about 10 minutes longer. Transfer to platter. Spoon reserved glaze over.

Serves 4

Potato Salad with Lemon and Fresh Herbs

3 pounds baby red potatoes
4  tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoon honey
3 medium green onions, thinly sliced
2 celery stalk, diced into 1/3 inch cubes
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel


Bring potatoes to boil in large pot of salted water. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and place potatoes back in pot over hot stove to dry out remaining liquid for another 5 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes.

Cut potatoes into 3/4-inch pieces. Place 1 layer of potatoes in large bowl; sprinkle with some of vinegar and salt and pepper. Continue layering potatoes with vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add all remaining ingredients; toss. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Note: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and chill.

Serves 8

Salad of Cucumber, Tomato, and Feta

Simple, light and refreshing salad for a hot summer day

6 cups coarsely chopped English or Kirby cucumbers, about 2 lbs
2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 1 pound total)
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives , halved
1 7-ounce package feta, crumbled, divided
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup coarsely chopped basil
8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black


Combine cucumbers, tomatoes, green onions, olives, half of feta, basil and mint in a large bowl. Whisk oil, vinegar, brown sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl; season dressing with salt and pepper. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle remaining half of feta over and serve.

Serves 8

Mixed Berry Cobbler

No meal is complete without something sweet. I love berries this time of the year. However this recipe can be prepared all year long as it uses frozen berries. You can also use fresh berries in place of frozen ones.

2 cups granola (any granola cereal you like)
1/2 cup low-fat milk or whole
2 (12-oz.) packages frozen mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, cherries)
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
21/2  teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Vegetable cooking spray
Vanilla ice cream or low fat plain yogurt


Preheat oven to 350º. Stir together granola and milk in a small bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Toss together berries and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Spoon berry mixture into a 8-inch square baking dish.Stir granola mixture, and spoon over berry mixture. Lightly coat with cooking spray Bake at 350º for 1 hour or until bubbly. Serve with vanilla ice cream or plain yogurt.

Serves 6