Plan menus with plenty of good food for Memorial Day weekend


By Ann Cipperly

While Memorial Day generally signals the beginning of summer, it was set aside as a day to honor the men and women who have given their lives serving our country. As you plan your menu and activities for the weekend with family and friends, take time to remember those who paid the price for our freedom.
In Opelika, a Memorial Day service will be held Monday, May 27 at 10 a.m. at City Hall. This year U.S. Army Veteran Major Douglas Barrett will be speaking. A reception will follow at the Museum of East Alabama on 9th Street in downtown Opelika.
A few years ago, Don and I visited the Memorials in Washington, D.C., including the National World War II Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Korean War Veterans Memorial. At the Vietnam Memorial Wall, it was emotional for some as they found the name of their loved one. Being there was a humbling experience.
The National World War II Memorial honors the 16 million men and women who served, with more than 400,000 losing their lives. Each year more than 300 Honor Flights take veterans to the memorials.
While in Washington, we also toured Arlington National Cemetery. The massive number of white crosses throughout the 624-acres was striking and haunting,
Many in our family have served. We have been blessed that they came home, although there were close calls. One of Don’s brothers was in a helicopter when he reached for something on the floor, when he raised up, he saw the bullet hole where he was sitting.
During World War II, my father went with his friend Robert Brown of Opelika to join the Army on the Buddy Plan. My father was turned down because of a childhood injury. Robert served and was killed. I always thought my father would have been lost too being by his friend’s side.
I remember the sadness when Dale Hilyer of Opelika was killed in Vietnam, and recall the concern when my aunt’s brother in law, Col. David Hamilton, was missing in action in Vietnam. After many years, Col Hamilton’s body was found and is now buried at Arlington.
Don served in the Marine Corps, and we currently have four family members who are serving or who are married to someone serving. Two of those are expecting to go to South Korean.
On one trip to Washington, D.C., we stayed at the Ritz-Carlton at Pentagon City in Arlington, Va. From the window in our room, we had a clear view of the Pentagon. We could only imagine how those felt who were looking out the windows on 9/11 after the plane flew into the Pentagon.
While we are looking forward to a long weekend to be with family, we will be aware of the reason for Memorial Day.
Formerly known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day originated during and after the Civil War to commemorate the soldiers who died. The name changed to “Memorial Day” in 1882. The day of remembering lost soldiers was observed more after World War II. While May 30 became an official holiday in 1967, it was moved to the last Monday in May in 1968 to become a three-day weekend.

Look over the following recipes from local good cooks and assemble menus for the weekend to have plenty of good food to serve. As you relax and enjoy time with family and friends, take time to reflect and honor those who fought and gave it all for our country to continue to have freedom.

Cipperly can be contacted at


Peach Fizz
Jenny Clary
This is a refreshing summertime drink.
1 pint fresh chopped peaches, sweetened
1½ cups cold pineapple juice
1 Tbsp. lemon or lime juice
2 cups ice cubes
1 cup cold ginger ale
Place fresh peaches in a blender; add pineapple juice and lime juice. Blend until peaches are broken up. Add ice and blend to a thick icy consistency. Add ginger ale and blend. Makes 6 cups.

Caramelized Vidalia Onion Spread
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
3 large Vidalia onions, chopped
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
2 cups mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, minced
Tortilla chips or crackers
Melt butter in skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté about 10 minutes or until caramelized or golden brown.
Stir together cheese, mayonnaise and garlic; add onions. Spoon into a greased baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Let sit about 10 minutes before serving with chips or crackers.

Simple Grilled Vegetables
Emma Jane Hunt
This simple side is a great way to round out any meal and take advantage of the summer’s best produce.
1 eggplant
2 zucchini
2 yellow squash
Extra virgin olive oil
4-6 leaves of fresh basil, cut into thin ribbons
Cut all vegetables length-wise into thin slices, about ¼ inch thick. On a well-oiled grill (a grill pan also works great), cook vegetables for 2-4 minutes per side. Adjust cooking time for how crisp or soft you like vegetables.
Place cooked vegetables on a plate and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with basil.

Daddy’s BBQ Boston Butt
Tony Johnson
2-3 lbs. Boston Butt
3 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 Tbsp. smoked chili powder
3 tsp. apple cider vinegar
3 tsp. butter
Rinse off Boston Butt, then pat dry with paper towels. Place meat on large sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Sprinkle dry ingredients evenly, pull up sides of foil, add vinegar and butter to bottom of meat. Roll up and seal edges of foil tightly.
Lay another large sheet of foil to double wrap meat; seal tightly.
Place in 9 by 13-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 4 to 5 hours.
Remove from oven and let sit for 30 minutes. Open foil and remove meat to large bowl; pull apart with forks.
Serve on buns with your favorite barbecue sauce.

Tony’s Rib Roast with Garlic Herb Butter
1 cup butter, softened
7 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. pepper
5-7 pound boneless ribeye roast, trimmed
Mix together the butter, garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper in a bowl until evenly combined.
Rub the herb butter all over the rib roast.
Oven Method: Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place rib roast on a roasting pan with a rack. Bake for 5 minutes per pound of meat. A 5-pound roast would bake for 25 minutes, and a 7-pound roast would bake for 35 minutes.
Turn off the heat and let the rib roast sit in the oven for 2 hours, making sure you do not open the oven door or else the residual heat will escape.
Once the 2 hours are up, remove the roast from the pan. Let roast rest for about 15 minutes before carving. Use pan drippings to make gravy, if desired.
Grill Method: In a grill with controlled temperature (Green Egg or Kamado-Joe) set the temperature for 275 degrees. Cook a 7 to 8 lb. roast for about 4 hours, checking internal temperature of roast after 3 to 3 and a half hours. For medium rare, temperature should be 130-135F. Rule of thumb is to remove roast at 120-125F. and allow to rest about 20 minutes loosely covered with foil. This allows the meat to rise a few degrees.

Creamy Grape Salad
Gayle Harper
Always popular for gatherings.
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 lb. seedless green grapes
2 lb. seedless red grapes
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. chopped pecans
In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla until blended. Add grapes and toss to coat. Transfer to a serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
Sprinkle with brown sugar and pecans just before serving.

Green Beans with Vinaigrette
Kelli Duncan
2 lb. green beans, stem ends trimmed
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. white-wine vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. coarse salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a large pot fitted with a steamer basket. Fill a large bowl with ice water; set aside.
Place green beans, stem ends trimmed, in basket. Cover; steam until crisp-tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Plunge beans in ice water. When cool, drain; pat dry with paper towels. Transfer to a large bowl.
In a small bowl or jar, whisk or shake extra-virgin olive oil, white-wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, coarse salt and ground pepper until thickened and combined. Pour over beans; toss to coat.
To make ahead (up to one day), steam beans and make the dressing; refrigerate separately, covered. Up to one hour before serving, toss beans with dressing, and keep at room temperature. Serves 8.

Baked or Grilled Marinated Ham Slices
Katy Melton
6-10 ham slices, cut ½ inch thick
1 cup ginger ale
1 cup orange juice
½ cup brown sugar
½ tsp. ground cloves
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. wine vinegar
2 tsp. dry mustard
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
Combine all ingredients. Pour over ham slices, cover and marinate overnight. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or on the grill for about 5 minutes on each side, basting with marinade.

Lime Frosted Angel Food Cake
Pat Fox
1 angel food cake
1 can sweetened condensed milk, chilled
½ cup lime juice
2 tsp. lime zest
1 small container Cool Whip
1 pkg. flaked coconut, optional
Beat sweetened condensed milk; add lime juice and zest; continue beating. Fold in Cool Whip. Slice angel food cake in half. Spread frosting between layers and cover the cake. Sprinkle with coconut, if desired.

Hearty Baked Beans
Ann Gore
½ lb. ground beef
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
Brown above ingredients in a small amount of olive oil and drain well.
3-4 slices bacon, chopped and cooked until crisp in about 1 tsp. olive oil (do not drain).
Add to deep skillet or Dutch oven:
Browned ground beef mixture
1 large can pork & beans
½ cup Heinz catsup
2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
Taste and add additional catsup and/or brown sugar if desired and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes.
If desired, you can bake in oven for about 30 minutes rather than on stove top.

Mama’s Famous Chocolate Pound Cake with Fudge Icing
Jennifer Roach
½ lb. butter, softened
½ cup Crisco
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
3 cups Swans Down cake flour
½ tsp. baking powder
4 tsp. cocoa
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Cream butter and Crisco. Add sugar and eggs. Sift dry ingredients. Add alternately with milk. Add vanilla. Bake in greased Bundt (or pound cake) pan at 325 for about 1 hour and 20 minutes until it tests done.
Fudge Icing
2 cups sugar
½ cup milk
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup white Karo syrup
2 heaping serving spoons cocoa (enough to make it dark)
1 stick butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix all except vanilla in boiler over low heat until butter is melted. Stirring constantly, let it come to boil for two minutes. Remove boiler from heat and beat until lukewarm and “thick-like.” Add vanilla and beat until thick enough to spread.
Spread icing onto cake. It is especially important to allow a lot of the icing to flow over into the hole in the center of the cake. That’s what makes it famous.

Cheesy Garlic Bread
Gayle Harper
1½ cups mayonnaise
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup thinly sliced green onions with tops
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 loaf French bread (about 20 inches), halved lengthwise
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley, optional
Paprika, optional
Mix mayonnaise, cheese, onions and garlic; spread on bread halves. If desired, sprinkle with parsley and paprika. Wrap each half in foil. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours or freeze.
Unwrap and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes (20-25 minutes, if frozen) or until puffed but not brown. Cut into slices.

Squash Soufflé Casserole
Tony Johnson
2 cups squash, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup mayonnaise
1½ cups sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup margarine
1½ cups saltine crackers, crushed
Cook squash with chopped onion; drain. Add remaining ingredients except margarine and crackers. Beat squash mixture with electric mixer until only slightly lumpy. Pour into 2-quart baking dish.
Brown cracker crumbs in margarine in skillet until lightly brown. Sprinkle crumbs on top of squash. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Center should be firm.
Can be done ahead and refrigerated, then baked before serving.

Banana Pudding
Kelli Duncan
2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies
6 to 8 bananas, sliced
2 cups milk
1 (5-oz.) box instant French vanilla pudding
1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12-oz.) container Cool Whip or equal amount sweetened whipped cream
Line the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch dish with 1 bag of cookies and layer bananas on top.
In a bowl, combine milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer. Using another bowl, combine cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth.
Fold whipped topping into cream cheese mixture. Add cream cheese mixture to pudding mixture and stir until well blended.
Pour mixture over cookies and bananas and cover with remaining cookies. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Chocolate Chip Cake
Katy Leonard
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 box Duncan Hines Butter Recipe Golden cake mix
3.9 oz. pkg. chocolate instant pudding
6 oz. (about half of a package) milk chocolate chips
Powdered sugar
Mix eggs, sour cream and oil; add all other ingredients except chocolate chips. Beat until well blended; fold in chocolate chips by hand. Bake in a greased and floured Bundt cake pan at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes. Let cake cool completely; lightly sift powdered sugar over top and sides of cake.

Stacked Salad
Katy Melton
Le Sueur green peas
Bacon bits
Fresh mushrooms, sliced
Grated Swiss cheese
Green or red onions, diced
Celery, sliced
Day before serving:
In a bowl large enough for number of people you are serving, place a layer (about 1-1 ½ inch thick) of lettuce that has been washed and torn into bite size pieces.
Over this spread a layer of mayonnaise, sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper, layer of mushrooms, then celery, then onions, peas, bacon bits and cheese. Repeat at least twice or up to as many layers as needed.
Finish with mayonnaise and garnish with bacon curls, parsley, mushrooms or any other garnish. Cover and refrigerate overnight.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here