Memorial Day Meals

Simply-Spicy-Grilled-ChickenWhile wondering what to make for this upcoming Memorial Day, we discovered that we had plenty of meat ideas, but not enough recipes for side dishes. Here are several favorites from our staff. Happy Memorial Day!

Grilled Watermelon Salad from Temper

Grilled Watermelon Salad

Ingredients 

1/2 (5-pound) seedless watermelon
1/4 cup honey
2 limes (including their zest)
Coconut oil (for brushing on the watermelon)
Kosher salt (specialty salt is great here, if on hand)
2 cups fresh baby arugula, washed and dried… or, for a pretty presentation, just alfalfa sprouts
1 cup goat cheese, crumbled
Fresh, finely cracked black pepper

Directions
Cut the watermelon into roughly 3”x3” cubes – any smaller than that, and you run the risk of it falling through the slats. 

Pour the honey, lime juice and zest into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook until reduced to a thick syrup consistency. Set aside. 

Heat a nonstick grill pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle just enough coconut oil over watermelon chunks to thinly coat and place on hot grill pan. Grill each side about 2 minutes until grill marks appear; transfer to a plate and season with salt.
To assemble the salads, put about 1/4 cup of baby arugula on a serving plate, followed by a grilled slice of watermelon in the center, and top with a tablespoon of crumbled cheese and another 1/4 cup arugula. Add another watermelon slice and another tablespoon of cheese. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Finish each salad with a very light drizzle of coconut oil and honey-lime syrup. Dust with black pepper and serve immediately.

Ultimate South of the Border Mac and Cheese by Vector

Makes 6 servings
Choose a medium-sized pasta with twists, grooves or curves that will hold a maximum of the cheese sauce. I prefer good ol’ elbow, but fusilli comes a close second. You can skip the onion/bay leaf/peppercorn infusion for the béchamel sauce to save time; it adds a subtle layer of savory flavor to the dish.

2 ½ c (9 ounces) dry pasta
2 ½ c whole milk
2 T chili powder
1/2 C canned diced chiles
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoky paprika
1 slice onion
1 bay leaf
10 whole black peppercorns
4 T unsalted butter
¼ c all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated (about 2 ½ cups)
3 oz fontina cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
3 oz Emmenthal, Gruyère or similar Swiss-type cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
½ c fresh bread crumbs

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter a 2-quart baking dish.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Stir in the pasta and boil until it is about half-cooked, tender on the surface with a distinct bite still in the center, about 5 minutes. Drain well, rinse with cold water and set aside, tossing from time to time as it cools to avoid sticking.
3. Put the milk in a small saucepan with the onion slice, bay leaf and peppercorns. Bring just to a low boil over medium heat, then take the pan from the heat and let sit to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. (If skipping the aromatics, simply warm the milk.)
4. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until it foams up and has a very slight toasty smell (it should not brown), 1 to 2 minutes. Strain the warm milk into the pan and whisk to blend. Continue to cook the sauce, whisking often, until it thickens, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and gradually whisk in the cheeses until fully melted. Add chiles. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper, add cumin, paprika and chile powder. Then add the pasta and stir to fully coat all the pasta with the cheese sauce.
5. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly over. Set the dish on the oven rack and lay a piece of foil on the rack below to catch any drips. Bake until the macaroni and cheese is bubbling hot and the top is nicely browned, about 40 minutes. Let sit for about 15 minutes before serving.

Grilled Pineapple and Veggie Skewers by Rock N Roll

Cut up your favorite veggies and place on a skewer, alternating pineapple wedges and vegetables. Brush everything with melted butter and sprinkle with chile powder. Grill to desired tenderness. Brush with butter and a squeeze of lime juice. Serve warm.

Orzo & Roasted Corn w/ Roasted Poblano and Feta by Temper

Ingredients

2 large poblano peppers
1 cup uncooked orzo
3 tablespoons coconut oil, divided (see Directions, below)
3 ears of shucked corn
1 medium red onion, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
¼ cup thinly sliced green onions
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup of cream cheese (if you can find Greek yogurt cream cheese, use that!!)

Directions

Preheat broiler.
Cut poblano peppers in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. 
Broil 15 minutes or until blackened. Place in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel and chop.
Prepare grill to medium-high heat.
Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Place orzo in a large bowl; drizzle with 1 tablespoon coconut oil. Cool slightly.
Place corn and red onion on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 5 minutes or until lightly browned, turning occasionally. Cut kernels from ears of corn; chop red onion. Add bell pepper, corn, red onion, 2 tablespoons coconut oil, green onions, and remaining ingredients to orzo. Toss gently to combine.

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