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Memorial Day menu ideas with pizzazz

Whitney Coy is a freelance writer and editor based in Columbus, OH, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She writes frequently for SheKnows, as well as several other websites. She writes on topics including parenting, pets...

Enjoy these holiday treats!

Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff off to the summer party season and no one wants to get the season off to a boring start. Bring a little pizzazz to your Memorial Day bash with these fun menu ideas, guaranteed to start your summer off right.

Enjoy these holiday treats!

Seafood spectacular

Skip the burgers and go with fish and other seafood at your Memorial Day party. Serve rockfish, cod, bass, snapper, crab, lobster or any other seafood you love. Side dishes that pair well with this type of menu are seasoned rice, thick-cut fries, cornbread, cheddar biscuits and potato salad. For dessert, think chess pie and fresh fruit. Be sure to serve another meat, such as chicken, for guests who don’t eat fish.

Pairing seafood and wine >>

Serve up skewers

Ditch those boring buns and serve up a variety of foods grilled on skewers. Stack steak, chicken and shrimp with tons of veggies like peppers, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and squash for skewered meals your guests will love. Mix it up more by wrapping the meat pieces in bacon before you stack them on the skewer. Make sure to provide some skewers with just veggies for vegetarian guests. To personalize it even more, chop the meats and veggies before your party, them set them out buffet-style and let your guests assemble their own skewered masterpieces. If you go this route, be sure to keep your meat on ice and out of the sun so it doesn’t spoil. You can even serve fruit kabobs (grilled or not) for dessert to keep with the theme.

Try this recipe for toasted strawberry and marshmallow skewers >>

Celebrate with sliders

If you just can’t give up your burgers on Memorial Day, add a twist to the classic by making them mini. Serve different types of sliders, made of beef, turkey or chicken, along with a wide variety of toppings, cheeses and dressings. This way, guests can taste several different sandwich combos without wasting food or feeling too full.

Try this recipe for cheddar stuffed turkey sliders >>

Dessert bar

Skip the predictable desserts -- cakes and pies are so yesterday! Have a little fun by setting up an ice cream or brownie bar. Keep your ice cream from melting by storing it on ice. Use a large plastic or metal tub or bin filled with ice to keep things cold. Set each individual carton of ice cream back in the ice when not in use. Keep an eye on the ice, making sure it gets replaced when needed. If there’s no one waiting on the ice cream, shove it deep down in the ice to keep it even cooler. Offer vanilla, as well as chocolate and strawberry, to suit everyone’s tastes. It’s not a sundae without the toppings, so break out the good stuff for your dessert bar. Set out a bunch of bowls, either mixed or matched, and fill them with anything sounds good on top of ice cream or brownies. Some suggestions include: Chocolate syrup, hot fudge, caramel, marshmallow, strawberries, sprinkles, bananas, whipped cream, nuts, crushed candy bars and cookies and chocolate chips.

Food Tip

Make your party patriotic! Don't stop at the decor -- serve only foods that are red, white and blue to keep everything looking festive!

More Memorial Day party tips

Memorial Day party checklist
Memorial Day cocktail recipes

Memorial Day backyard BBQ recipes

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