#FRIDAYFOOD Memorial Day side dishes for the cookout

I have had a lot of great Memorial Day celebrations over the years. As a newspaper reporter, you have the opportunity to cover many celebrations and “work” on days that everyone else has as a holiday. While it may have been annoying, those days taught me so much.

One Memorial Day, I spent covering funeral of U.S. soldier from Webster County.  I had covered military funerals in the past but this one was so impactful because it was held on Memorial Day. That day was so special to me, even though I did not know the family. It showed me the true meaning of Memorial Day. 

And much like the fun festivities of Christmas tends to take away the true meaning, sometimes the cookouts and trips to the lake tend to diminish the true meaning of Memorial Day.

I think the fun and the significant can find a way to coincide. I think it is  so important for families to discuss the true meaning of holiday – discuss friends and family members who have been lost during wartime. Talk to veterans about their experiences, if they are open to sharing, while sharing a burger from the grill. What a special time to learn more about our family members, while sharing amazing food and kicking off summer!

So what are you bringing to the cookout? Maybe a dish or two from the Friends of the Library Taster’s Luncheon Cookbook, “Delta Dishes.”

Macaroni and Cheese by Beth Blakely

1 package of elbow macaroni

4 eggs, beaten

2 ½ cups milk

3 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper

½ stick of margarine

1 can of cheddar cheese soup

Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain. Add eggs, salt, margarine and cheddar cheese soup; mix well. Add milk, salt and pepper. Pour into casserole dish. Bake 45 minute or 1 hour. Add cheese on top before serving

Or perhaps,

Potato Casserole by Betty Ellis

2 pounds frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed

½ cup margarine, melted

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1 pint sour cream

1 (10 ¾ ounce) cans cream of chicken soup

½ cup finely chopped onions

2 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese

Combine all ingredients and place in a large casserole dish.

Topping: 2 cups crushed cornflakes and ½ cup of melted margarine. Mix the topping together and sprinkle on top of the casserole. Bake 1 to 1 ½  hours at 350 degrees.

And if there’s any room after homemade ice cream…

Strawberry-Pretzel Jell-O Salad by Katharine Pratt

Bottom Layer: 2 cups crushed pretzel sticks; ¾ cups melted butter; and 3 tablespoons sugar. Mix together pretzels, butter and sugar and press in a 13×9 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Let it cool completely.

Middle Layer: 8 ounces of cream cheese; 12 ounces of Cool Whip; and 1 cup of sugar. Cream together and pour over pretzel mixture.

Top Layer: 1 large can crushed pineapple, drained; 1 large box strawberry Jell-O; 2 (10 ounce) boxes of frozen strawberries; 2 chopped bananas; and 1 cup chopped pecans, optional.

Drain and reserve juice from crushed pineapple and frozen strawberries. Boil juice from pineapple and strawberries plus enough water to make 2 cups of liquid. Mix boiling liquids with 1 large box of strawberry Jell-O. Cool until syrupy. Add crushed pineapple, frozen strawberries, chopped bananas and pecans. Pour over cheese layer and refrigerate.

Happy Memorial Day and please remember the true meaning of this important holiday!



See this column in the May 25, 2017 edition of The Winona Times.


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