Posted in Appetizers, Salads, Side Dishes, Vegetables

Memorial Day Weekend Menu – Part I of IV

Entertaining for the Holiday weekend?  If you’re stuck for ideas, the following four days of menu ideas may help.  Tonight, I offer an appetizer and side dish idea.  I cooked both tonight to make sure they were as good as I remember from last year’s BBQ season.  The best thing about both of these recipes is that they can be made the day before, leaving you more quality time with your friends instead of being stuck in the kitchen.

Enjoying delicious food without the guilt!


Roasted eggplant dip with toasted Italian bread


Cucumber Salad

Roasted eggplant dip with toasted Italian bread

Roasted Eggplant Dip

Serves 10

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Cool down time: 2 hours before serving

Estimated values per serving:

Calories = 200                                              Fat = 3 grams

Preheat oven to 450o.


2 Eggplants cut lengthwise


2 Cloves garlic – crushed

2 Tomatoes – seeded and chopped

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon paprika

Juice of 1 lemon

1 Tablespoon fresh basil – chopped

Pepper to taste

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

2 loaves of Italian Bread – cut into 12 slices per loaf

Olive Oil Cooking Spray


  1. Sprinkle salt on cut side of eggplants onto paper towels and “sweat” them out for about 30 minutes.  Rinse off salt. 
  2. Place aluminum foil on baking sheet and spray with cooking spray.  Roast eggplants for about 45 minutes in oven until they are soft. 
  3. Let the eggplants cool on baking sheet for at least 30 minutes until they are easy to handle.  Scrape out the inside of the eggplants into a food processor and using the “pulse” button on the food processor, pulse about 5 times until eggplant is chopped. 
  4. Spray skillet with cooking spray and add tomatoes, eggplant, oregano, paprika, lemon juice, basil and pepper.  Simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened (about 10 minutes). 
  5. Transfer to a bowl and stir in cheese.  Allow to cool for about 2 hours.
  6. Toast Italian bread.
  7. Serve eggplant at room temperature with toasted bread.

Cucumber Salad 

Serves 10

Prep time: 5 minutes + 2 hours marinating

Refrigeration time: overnight

Estimated values per serving:

Calories = 115                                              Fat = 2 grams


4 skinless cucumbers – thinly sliced

1 large sweet onion – thinly sliced

2 cups water

¼ cup salt

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup water

2 tablespoons cooking oil

½ cup white vinegar


  1. Place cucumbers, onion, 2 cups water and ¼ cup salt in bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours. 
  2. Heat sugar and 1 cup water until sugar dissolves. 
  3. Cool sugar mixture to room temperature and add oil and vinegar. 
  4. Strain and thoroughly rinse cucumbers and onion from salted water.
  5. Add cucumbers and onions to sugar water mixture. 
  6. Refrigerate overnight and serve cold.