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5 Foolproof Memorial Day Menus

Take the stress out of Memorial Day menu planning—we've done it for you! Check out five complete menus that include Memorial Day appetizers, salads, sides, entrees, drinks and desserts.

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Traditional: Barbecued Picnic Chicken

I like to serve this savory chicken at family picnics. Cooked on a covered grill, the poultry stays so tender and juicy. Everyone loves the zesty, slightly sweet homemade barbecue sauce—and it’s so easy to make. —Priscilla Weaver, Hagerstown, Maryland

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For more, check out our best Memorial Day BBQ recipes.

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Traditional: Sour Cream Cucumbers

We have a tradition at our house to serve this creamy cucumber salad with the other Hungarian specialties my mom learned to make from the women at church. It’s especially good during the summer when the cucumbers are freshly picked from the garden. —Pamela Eaton, Monclova, Ohio
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Sparkling Fruit Salad

Pineapple chunks, mandarin oranges, strawberries and grapes are treated to a dressing of wine and sparkling club soda in this delightful salad. Serve in dessert dishes or set the whole bowl on the table for a fetching presentation. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Traditional: Scalloped Taters

This creamy and comforting slow-cooked side tastes great with almost any main dish and is a snap to assemble with convenient frozen hash browns. It's a good way to make potatoes when your oven is busy with other dishes. —Lucinda Wolker, Somerset, Pennsylvania
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Traditional: Aunt Frances' Lemonade

My sister and I spent a week each summer with our Aunt Frances, who always had this thirst-quenching lemonade in a stoneware crock in her refrigerator. It makes a refreshing drink after a hot day of running around. —Debbie Reinhart, New Cumberland, Pennsylvania

Lemonade pairs perfectly with these other Memorial Day cookout favorites.

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Traditional: Red, White and Blue Dessert

I changed a recipe I found and ended up with this rich, fresh-tasting dessert. Decorated to resemble a flag, it's perfect for the Fourth of July or any other patriotic occasion. —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
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Quick & Easy: Beer Dip

Ranch dressing mix flavors this easy dip packed with shredded cheese. It's perfect paired with pretzels. Be forewarned, though—it's hard to stop eating once you've started! The beer cheese dip can be made with any type of beer, including nonalcoholic. I've taken it to many parties and I am always asked for the recipe. —Michelle Long, New Castle, Colorado
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Quick & Easy: Creamy Grape Salad

Everyone raves when I bring this refreshing, creamy grape salad to potlucks. For a special finishing touch, sprinkle it with brown sugar and pecans. —Marge Elling, Jenison, Michigan
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Quick & Easy: Grilled Peppers and Zucchini

This versatile side dish is so simple and quick that I had to share it. Grilling the colorful veggies in a foil packet means one less dish to wash, but I sometimes stir-friy the mixture on the stovetop. —Karen Anderson, Fair Oaks, California
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Quick & Easy: Good Ol' Burger

For an easy weeknight dinner, try these juicy burgers. A dollop of chili sauce on top makes them extra flavorful. —Ron Treadaway, Acworth, Georgia

Sample these other Memorial Day sandwiches, too!

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Quick & Easy: Lemony Fruit Cooler

This punch looks so pretty with all the colorful fruit floating in the bowl. It has a refreshing taste and is easy to put together. —Dawn Shackelford, Fort Worth, Texas
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Quick & Easy: Strawberry Pretzel Dessert

Need to bring a dish to pass this weekend? This make-ahead strawberry pretzel salad will disappear quickly at any potluck. —Aldene Belch, Flint, Michigan
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New Favorites: Maryland Corn Pops

Fresh-picked sweet corn is a big thing in Maryland. Here’s my homespun version of Mexican street corn that brings in local bay flavors. —Kristie Schley, Severna Park, Maryland
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New Favorites: Juicy Watermelon Salad

This fruit salad has such a surprising yet fabulous mix of flavors that friends often ask for the recipe. Combine seedless watermelon varieties in yellow, red and pink for a colorful twist. —Heidi Haight, Macomb, Michigan
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New Favorites: Matt's Jerk Chicken

Get ready for a trip to the Islands. You may think jerk chicken is complicated but, really, all it takes is time. Throw on some tunes, grab an icy drink and prepare to be transported. Have a smoker? You can smoke the chicken first and finish it on the grill. —Jenn Hall, Collingswood, New Jersey
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New Favorites: Raspberry Refresher

This recipe explodes with raspberry flavor! It's a wonderful summertime treat.—Doreen Patterson, Qualicum Beach, British Columbia
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New Favorites: Red, White & Blue Berry Trifle

This luscious trifle tastes best if made the day before serving. Keep additional berries on hand for decoration. —Kaia McShane, Munster, Indiana
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Healthy: Avocado Salsa

I was planning a party and thought it might be fun to try a different kind of avocado salsa. This recipe was an absolute success. Scoop it up with chips, spoon it over chicken or steak, or eat it on its own! —Susan Vandermeer, Ogden, Utah
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Healthy: Balsamic Three-Bean Salad

Here's my little girl's favorite salad. She devours it just about as fast as I can make it. I suggest preparing it ahead of time so the flavors can get to know each other. —Stacey Feather, Jay, Oklahoma
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Healthy: Lemon Garlic Mushrooms

I baste whole mushrooms with a lemony sauce to prepare this simple side dish. Using skewers or a basket makes it easy to turn them as they grill to perfection. —Diane Hixon, Niceville, Florida
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Healthy: Baja Pork Tacos

This delicious pork tacos recipe is my copycat version of the most excellent Mexican food we ever had, when we were visiting Flagstaff, Arizona. The original recipe used beef instead of pork, but this comes mighty close to the same taste. —Ariella Winn, Mesquite, Texas
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Healthy: Patriotic Pops

My kids love homemade ice pops, and I love knowing that the ones we make are good for them. We whip up a big batch with multiple flavors so they have many choices, but these patriotic red, white and blueberry ones are always a favorite! —Shannon Carino, Frisco, Texas
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Kid-Friendly: Party Pretzels

Not only are these a perfect mid-morning or afternoon snack at work, they're perfect for hungry kids just home from school. Plus, they make for fantastic party food! —Carrie Shaub, Mount Joy, Pennsylvania
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Kid-Friendly: Colorful Spiral Pasta Salad

Tackle gatherings with a bright pasta salad. This tricolor toss-up with broccoli, tomatoes, olives and a hardworking dressing is one of the easiest cold pasta salad recipes you could take. —Amanda Cable, Boxford, Massachusetts
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Kid-Friendly: Deluxe Hash Brown Casserole

My son-in-law gave me the recipe for this hash brown casserole, which my kids say is addictive. It's an amazing make-ahead dish.—Amy Oswalt, Burr, Nebraska
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Kid-Friendly: Crispy Fried Chicken

This Sunday dinner staple is first fried and then baked to a crispy golden brown. Well seasoned with oregano and sage, this classic is sure to satisfy diners at church potlucks or late-summer picnics. I love fixing it for family and friends. —Donna Kuhaupt, Slinger, Wisconsin
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Kid-Friendly: Rainbow Spritzer

Layers of colorful fruit submerged in a fizzy, sweet beverage make this a kid-friendly sipper that gets two thumbs-up. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Kid-Friendly: Crispy Star Pops

These patriotic pops are a hit at our annual Fourth of July get-together. Serve them as an after-picnic dessert. Or slip them into cellophane bags, tie on ribbons and give them as favors. —Colleen Sturma, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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