It's Memorial Day Cookout Time

Break out the barbecue gear — cookout season is officially here.

This article orginally appeared in South Orange Patch in May 2011 -- but the part about the yard being soggy still applies!

The backyard may be soggy and the grill rusty from lack of use, but the calendar says that Memorial Day weekend is approaching.  For most of us, that means parades, flag waving and cookouts.

If I’m hosting, I like to keep the main course simple – burgers and dogs, or maybe barbecued ribs or grilled chicken.  My favorite part of the meal though, is definitely the side dishes. 

Over the years, I’ve acquired a collection of recipes from friends who happen to be terrific home cooks.  Sometimes I ask them to bring the dish they’re famous for.  Often, I make them myself.

Here are recipes for three of my all-time summer side dish hits, courtesy of three culinarily gifted friends.  These dishes are easy to make, transport well, and never fail to please a hungry crowd.    

With a little luck, Mother Nature will smile on South Orange and let us keep the party outdoors. 



1/3 cup cider vinegar

¼ t. dry mustard

1 t. celery seed

2 T. sugar

Salt and pepper

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

¾ cup vegetable or canola oil

2 pounds green or red cabbage (or a combination of each), shredded

¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced

1 pound bleu cheese

Whisk together first seven ingredients. Toss dressing with cabbage and onion in large bowl. Top with bleu cheese. Dressing can be kept separately and tossed just before serving. Serves 8-10.


1 box linguine or spaghetti

2 T. vegetable oil

1 bunch scallion, chopped

7 oz. can Ma Ling pickled cabbage (optional - available at Chinese grocery stores)

2 T. soy sauce

3 T. sugar, or to taste

Boil pasta, drain and rinse with cold water.  Set aside.  Heat oil in skillet.  Sauté scallion until wilted and almost brown.  Drain and rinse cabbage.  Add to skillet, along with soy sauce and sugar.  Simmer 5 minutes on low heat, adding a little water if necessary.  Remove from heat and pour over noodles; toss.  Can be served at room temperature or cold.  Serves 8-10.


(Note: These taste just as delicious when the meat is omitted).

½ lb. bacon, diced

½ lb. ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

½ c. brown sugar

½ c. granulated sugar

¼ c. ketchup

¼ c. barbeque sauce

2 t. mustard

2 t. molasses

½ t. chili powder

1 t. pepper

½ t. salt

1 (16 oz.) can butter beans

1 (16 oz.) can kidney beans

1 (31 oz.) can pork and beans

Brown bacon, beef, and onion; drain.  Transfer to a baking dish and add all other ingredients.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Can be served hot or at room temperature.  Serves 8-10.

Do you have some picnic-worthy recipes you'd like to share?


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