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Memorial Day Recipe Ideas for Poolside Celebrations

For pool lovers everywhere – the happy season of grilling and chilling is upon us with the arrival of Memorial Day weekend! The summer holidays and graduations; those events we love to celebrate poolside. Outdoor entertaining is the antidote for busy lives. There’s also a freedom that goes along with pool parties where paper plates support fresh, hand-held foods that are simple to make and serve.

If you’re planning your Memorial Day or Father’s Day celebration, you can make the party one you can enjoy too. With some careful consideration and preparing ahead, it is possible to be the guest at your own party.

Design a Pool Party Menu with Foods That Can Be Prepared Ahead of Time

Side Dishes

Take the classic summer side dish, potato salad. You can boil potatoes two days ahead of time, let them cool, cube, stir in the seasonings and then refrigerate. Potato salad is one dish that is best prepared ahead as the mayonnaise is absorbed over time as the ingredients combine. Adding a little more mayonnaise or Miracle Whip each day while keeping this creamy favorite in an airtight container will yield a rich treat to complement dogs and burgers until ready to serve.

Making potato salad may be a little extra work, but when made a day or two before the party then topped with grated carrots or the garnish of your choice, you’re good to go with something that is much tastier than anything store-bought. The same goes for tri-color pasta salads and this creamy cole slaw recipe, courtesy of Bobby Flay.

Using fresh ingredients with a dash of your own culinary twist is a nice addition to any celebration.

And if sidecar salads are not your specialty, ask a family member to make and bring their famous macaroni salad to the party. Poolside parties are communal events, they don’t have the same “rules” as a dinner party where you are formally staging an experience for your guests. It is completely appropriate to ask for help and for friends to contribute to the festivities with a covered dish! (Or even to get behind the grill to flip burgers!)


Another food group that benefits from time in the frig are meats and seafood that you marinate. Whisking together some ingredients you likely already have in your pantry and pouring them over freshly cleaned chicken will bring out the best flavors when they infuse into the meat overnight.

All you’ll need do the day of the party is to place these tender, boneless chicken breasts on the barbeque for a savory delight. This recipe from is a simple, yet succulent bourbon chicken dish. Mixing soy sauce with some bourbon whiskey, sugar, garlic, and onion creates a tasty overnight marinade.

The tangy trio of lemon juice, garlic cloves and olive oil combine to spice up a seafood favorite in this shrimp marinades recipe.

However, although chicken and beef benefit from an overnight marinade, acidic marinades will break down the more delicate shrimp meat and make it mushy. If on the acidic side, thirty minutes or less is great while the less acidic ones can be tolerated for an hour or so.

Grilled Vegetables

Whether or not you have guests with dietary restrictions or who are vegetarians, there’s a lot of summer fun to be found in seasonal veggies. When grilled, they are aromatically scrumptious if treated to simple herbs like basil and rosemary combined with balsamic vinegar, garlic, and black pepper.

When you brush on this appetizing bouquet to boldly colored vegetables like red bell peppers, yellow squash, zucchini, Japanese eggplant, and cremini mushrooms you’ve got a delicious medley that’s nutritious and also looks great on the plate!

This grilled vegetable recipe by Giada De Laurentiis boasts a 15 minute prep time and all told, a 25 minute sear on the grill. She does caution, “The key to getting those great grill marks is to not shift the vegetables too frequently once they’ve been placed on the hot grill.” Food should look good and taste good! But it is little tips like this that elevate your cooking.

Memorial Day Dessert Recipes

We call these Memorial Day recipes (and so does the Food Network!) but as long as there are fresh berries at your local farmer’s market, you can whip these delectables up all summer long.

Summer fruits are the star of these recipes like this Strawberry Country Cake by the incomparable Ina Garten. A sour cream cake steeped in the citric zest of lemons and oranges dressed in whipped cream filling and topped with plump strawberries is a can’t miss hit. You should also check out this scrumptious slideshow of summer desserts that includes recipes for:

  • Cheesecake Tart with Berries
  • Classic Strawberry Shortcake
  • Summer Berry Trifle
  • Frozen Lemonade Pie
  • Mixed Berry Cobbler

For Father’s Day or July 4th pool parties, you can always go with a bakery-decorated sheet cake with fruit cups on the side for the calorie conscious. You can also create a Make Your Own Sundae stand! Cool and refreshing are the two primary ingredients for summer desserts.

Summer Pool Party Ideas

The best thing about pool parties is that there are no rules! You can decorate your backyard with streamers and balloons or enjoy the flickering light of tiki torches. You can have a sit-down BBQ or a volleyball competition in the pool followed by cocktails and finger foods as you drift along on your pool float.

Pools are at the center of some of your family’s best memories. Their design can be simple or resort-style chic. However you celebrate this summer’s occasions, it’s always better with a pool! Pools add a natural festivity to any event. We are a pool financing company, but we also love our own pools to entertain by or to unwind by.

From all of us at Lyon Financial, we wish you a most wonderful summer! It has certainly been a long, cold winter for many of our clients. There have been weeks when it seemed like the warm weather would never get there, but it’s on the way! You deserve some serious poolside time. Start planning now for your backyard parties by checking out some of these great recipes. Perhaps one of them will become your new signature dish! Bon Appétit!

We love the difference we can make for your family by providing something that puts years of memories within reach. Call 877-754-5966 for more information.