1000 x 90

Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Memorial Day and Graduations – A Time of Remembrance and Honor

By Sherrie Norris

A busy Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching, right along with local high school graduations. The coming days will be filled with parties, picnics and memorial gatherings, the latter of which might be, or at least should be, more solemn affairs that the former. However, Memorial Day has become known as the unofficial beginning to summer and goes hand-in-hand with graduations, in that respect.

Memorial Day is often confused with Veteran’s Day, as it is a day set aside to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives in military service to our country. Veteran’s Day, in November, honors all veterans.

And of course, graduation day is a huge celebration culminating about 13 long years of hard work for school students — and their parents — who also need to be celebrated for a job well done.

So, as we move forward with these thoughts in mind, both special occasions are deserving of our respect. And, along with gatherings usually comes food, so dig in and never forget the sacrifices required of both events.

Graduation Cap-cakes

1 cake mix of choice

1 can icing of choice (school colors)

Graham crackers

Licorice strings

Food coloring

Bake cupcakes according to box directions. No cupcake liners needed, but do grease and flour the muffin pans. When done, remove pans from oven and cool cupcakes completely, removing them to a foil-lined cookie sheet. Mix food coloring into icing for desirable school colors if needed. Start with white and gradually add enough food coloring for intended colors, if not available on store shelf. Gently spread icing on the cupcake sides and some on top. Frost the graham cracker and attach to top of cupcake. Cover entire “cap” with icing. Tie thin licorice strings into tassels and use frosting to attach to the caps.

Celebration Sticks 

Pretzel rods

Candy coating wafers or white chocolate for melting

Colored sprinkles

Choose school-colored candy melts or white chocolate with coordinating colored sprinkles.

Melt candy wafers; cover half of pretzel rods with candy coating and sprinkle with colors of choice.

Let set on waxed paper.

Rods may be covered with clear plastic wrap and tied with curling ribbon in school colors. 

Watermelon Salad with Celery-Nut Dressing

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

2 Tbsp. mayonnaise

1/3 cup heavy cream, whipped

11/3 cups celery, thinly diced

3 cups watermelon balls, chilled

Bright green lettuce leaves

½ cup pecans chopped

Beat cream cheese with mayonnaise until smooth and fluffy. Fold into whipped cream; add celery. Arrange watermelon on salad greens and top with celery-cheese dressing. Sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Chicken Ranch Wraps

8 large flour tortillas

4 cups cooked chicken, cut up or shredded

½  cup Ranch dressing

1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded

½  cup chopped parsley

Shred or cut chicken into small pieces. Spread 1 Tbsp. of Ranch dressing across the entire tortilla. Add ½ cup of shredded chicken to tortilla.

Sprinkle 2 Tbsp. of shredded Mozzarella onto chicken. Sprinkle a little parsley on each tortilla. Roll tortilla. Lightly spray nonstick grill pan

Place tortilla onto grill for one to two minutes on each side. Cut into 2 pieces, using a diagonal cut

French Dip Sliders

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1 med. onion

2 tsp fresh thyme

1/4 tsp. salt

¼  tsp. black pepper

12  Hawaiian sweet rolls

10 slices provolone cheese

14 oz. sliced roast beef

½  cup unsalted butter

1 ½  Tbsp. dried onion soup

1 pkt. au jus gravy mix

3 cups water

Fresh chopped parsley for garnish

Melt 3 Tbsp. butter In a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until onions are translucent. Add thyme, salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Remove rolls from package, cut through so that tops and bottoms remain intact. Place the bottom, cut side up, onto a large baking dish or pan. Top with half of the cheese. Add roast beef. Top with onion and remaining cheese, cover with top rolls. 

In a small microwavable bowl,  heat remaining butter and onion soup mix, brush lightly onto the rolls. Cover with foil and bake for about 25 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the au jus as directed on pkt. Use for dipping.