Memorial Day Eats

Last week I found out that I was selected to take part in FoodBuzz and Kelly Confidential’s Are You Party Ready? Campaign. And it was good timing – the fam and I decided to have a last minute Memorial Day cookout. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to visit Pennsylvania (where my family lives) for the 4th of July or Labor Day, so I wanted to include all of my summer favorites at this party.

I didn’t have time to make everything from scratch, so we bought our potato and macaroni salads from the local deli and I devoted my time to a homemade Arugula, Watermelon, and Feta Salad.

Mom and I shopped for all of the party ingredients on Monday morning (doing things last minute runs in the family…)

Arugula, Watermelon, and Feta Salad with homemade citrus dressing (inspired by Ina Garten’s recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of arugula
  • 1/4 small, seedless watermelon cut into 1″ cubes
  • 6 oz feta cheese, crumbled
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 squirt of honey
  • 1/2 cup of canola (or olive) oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, combine the arugula, watermelon, and feta – toss gently
  • In a small jar or tupperware container, combine the juice, shallot, honey, salt, pepper, and then gradually mix in the oil, whisking continuously.
  • Give the bottle or container a good shake to make sure the dressing is combined.
  • Keep salad chilled until ready to serve and then drizzle with dressing.
  • Seriously, so easy!!

My family doesn’t *love* vegetables, but everyone (!) ate the salad and liked it. Even, hard-to-please Grandma.

Alongside the deli salads and the arugula-watermelon-feta salad, we grilled 92% lean burgers and topped them with fresh mozzarella, raw onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and ketchup. I’m not a huge white bun fan (I’d rather have my carbs in dessert form…), so I ate my burger in a lettuce wrap.

And for dessert, Mom visited the local bakery and picked up strawberry shortcake with whipped cream!

In an ideal world, I’d make everything from scratch for a family get-together, but when time is tight, buying already prepped food from trusted delis/bakeries is just as good.

The sun was HOT yesterday, so it really felt like summer. While we chowed down on burgers, I played my summer music favorites

  • 1. Summer Love by Justin Timberlake
  • 2. Summer Girls by LFO (I stand by my decision!! This is a good song, hehe)
  • 3. In the Summertime by Mungo Jerry
  • 4. Summer in the City by Lovin’ Spoonful
  • 5. California Gurls by Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg
  • 6. Cruel Summer by Banarama

Things on the running front have been going okay, 5 miles on Sunday and another 4 miles on Monday. If I can gather the motivation (and not die from heatstroke) the plan is to run 3 x 1 mile @ 5k pace w/ 400m recovery later today. Stay tuned.

Until then, I leave you with a photo of my very summer-y breakfast. This was my first time putting berries (instead of jam) on top of my peanut butter & honey toast and it was surprisingly refreshing!

Do you have any summer party/entertaining tips? I have a lot of fun get-togethers planned for the coming months and I’m always looking for ways to make things easier and healthier.

Bonus – If you go share your tips on Kelly Confidential, the site will donate $1 to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund and you’ll be entered for a chance to win an Electrolux refrigerator. Can you tell I like entering contests?!

  • I don’t. I should. Just focusing on getting through the last 3 weeks of school. And then sleeping for a while! That salad looks easy enough to make even for the not-so-culinaryily-inclined people, such as myself.

    It is hot today, isn’t it! I did 10 yday and it wasn’t as bad as I imagined so get out there! (I will try to convince myself of this today, too! As I’ll prob start bitching later…)

  • I don’t. I should. Just focusing on getting through the last 3 weeks of school. And then sleeping for a while! That salad looks easy enough to make even for the not-so-culinaryily-inclined people, such as myself.

    It is hot today, isn’t it! I did 10 yday and it wasn’t as bad as I imagined so get out there! (I will try to convince myself of this today, too! As I’ll prob start bitching later…)

  • that is my favorite breakfast! mmmm. and Summer Girls by LFO….amazing. Entertaining tips…hmmm, always have enough booze. and alternate plans in case it rains!

  • I’m totally recreating that salad ASAP! Looks delish. As does your berry toast…I bet it would be awesome with Nutella. 😀 I hear you on avoiding dying from heatstroke…I’m so grateful that my Texan neighbors tend to have their sprinkers on during my morning runs!

  • sprinklers*

  • Courtney

    I have made & enjoyed this salad many times – and everyone always loves it! Sometimes I add nuts (either pecans or cashews) if I want to bulk it up. I also throw in other fruit if I have it on hand (sweet strawberries are a fave). 

  • Anonymous

    Ooh berries would make a great addition!

  • Ah, I love arugula/watermelon/feta salads– I order them whenever I spot them on the menu at restaurants, and have tried to recreate them at home but they never turn out as well because I never know what type of dressing to put on. Yours sounds delicious!

    For parties/entertaining, I am definitely going to try a ‘mockamole’ recipe I’ve seen floating around online– some avocado, pureed green peas, and greek yogurt to make it a bit healthier. And while I love my sugary, fruity margaritas at summertime parties, I want to pick up a bottle of Skinnygirl margarita next time to keep it on the lighter side (and save carbs for desserts!)

  • YUM. That salad looks amazing. So does the whipped cream on that cake! We have lots of summer BBQ’s too, and I tend to sway toward a mexican theme because a lot of the meals you can prepare in advance so there’s more time to socialize (I’ll have to share my fish taco recipe soon!!) Stay cool!

  • I love that salad, and I love that even “hard-to-please” Grandma liked it 🙂  My grandma tries to take my vegetarianism all in stride, but reminds me before every family event that she “really doesn’t like rabbit food, dear” 🙂  I love salads and cold grain dishes for summer parties; anything you can make in advance is a win in my book.

  • love entertaining, though i am the most frazzled host ever. i learn more each time i screw up majorly or am totally unprepared even when everyone’s arrived, so if anything i’ve learned give yourself way more time than you anticipate you’ll need to prepare food and drinks! oh, and don’t forget the ice. totally necessary, easily forgotten.

    hope you enjoyed your time in PA!

  • that salad looks soooo good. i’m always wary of fruit in salads. it’s something that always seems to taste better when other people do it, haha. i’ll try this, though! as far as summer entertaining tips, simple is best. keep the food simple and the beers cold.

  • Entertaining tips for get togethers that involve food? Pick up a copy of “In the Small Kitchen” (which I am not-so-coincidentally giving away this week on my blog, hehe) and they have wonderful tips!  🙂

    Glad to see you had such a delicious and fun Memorial Day weekend!

  • Anonymous

    good advice! cold beer is key 😉

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  • Laura Bashar

    Your salad screams summer! Looks yummy!

  • Healthyeverythingtarian

    that watermelon feta salad always weirds me out – but everyone tells me how good it is! i must try. and good call on the bananarama song 🙂