Memorial Day weekend is upon us, which means it’s time to kick off summer, wheel out the grill, and get our backyard celebrations started! I admittedly jumped on the BBQ train earlier this week when I saw some cute hot dog napkins at Target that quickly inspired our dinner plans. Grilled hot dogs, some macaroni salad, and pickles made for a pretty delicious weeknight treat. Now that the first al fresco meal of the season has been taken care of, I’ve been digging in my archives for more Memorial Day menu ideas and thought I’d share a few of my favorites here as you plan your own long-weekend celebrations! Summer Starters. One of my favorite recipes for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July is a red white and blue chip and dip platter made with blue corn chips, red peppers, and star-shaped pitas for dipping! The beginning of summer is also a perfect time to start grabbing fresh berries from the market, and my strawberry goat cheese crostini are a great way to highlight them (I’d add some little American flag toothpicks to each one for a festive touch!)

Warm Up The Grill. It’s not officially summer until the grill is hot! I have a few favorite grilled recipes in my archives that I pull out for summer entertaining again and again. To start the meal off, I love a grilled peach salad — it’s a simple dish that looks so pretty on the table. Another favorite grilled side dish is grilled Mexican street corn — it’s always a hit at parties. And of course the grill will be full of burgers! I have two different spins on the grilled burger that are fun for entertaining: a stuffed mushroom burger for the vegetarians, and a buffalo bbq chicken burger that packs tons of flavor.

Patriotic Desserts. I just shared a new recipe this week for a 15-minute, no-bake dessert: Mini Berry Mascarpone Cakes (made with store-bought pound cake!). Another one of my all-time favorite summer desserts that requires no-cooking are frozen berry cheesecake jars. Blueberry cobbler is another family favorite, we make a double batch because this recipe disappears from the table in minutes! For a grown-up spin on a childhood favorite, I also love to make a batch of boozy popsicles — blackberry apricot tequila popsicles are a cocktail and dessert in one!