Since Memorial Day is just around the corner in next week, I would like to remind everyone that our Congress has established a National Moment of Remembrance; asking all Americans, wherever they are, to pause at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a one-minute moment of unity.  One minute out of a day made up of 1,440 minutes seems like a small thing to ask when we recall that there were those who gave up their lives for our freedom. 

I want to suggest that we not only think of those who sacrificed their lives but that we should also consider those who have a big hole in their hearts due to the loss of the men and women who gave their lives in service to our nation.  We need to ask God to provide comfort and peace for the hurting families who are missing someone at their dinner table.  For the widow as she faces the empty chair.  For mothers, fathers, and grandparents who have outlived a child or grandchild.  For children who will never know the touch of one of their parents, and for those who have known it and grieve the loss.  We also need to ask protection and guidance for those presently in our military, knowing that they have chosen to put themselves on the line for our protection.

God has blessed our country abundantly, but our freedom has come at a price.  It is more than fitting that we take time to contemplate the cost and be grateful to both those who gave their own lives and those who have given a different type of sacrifice – the loss of a loved one.

The above paragraphs are from previous columns I wrote about Memorial Day and are slightly edited for clarity.  I don’t usually copy what I have written before, but I felt as if no purpose would be served in re-wording my earlier thoughts.  We get so caught up in events happening in our own lives that we tend to overlook what our freedom has cost other families.  The loved one they miss is much more than just a name on a long list of those who served our nation to the end.

Memorial Weekend has become the blast-off to summer and is often celebrated with picnics and parties.  I kept that in mind as I chose the recipes for this week’s column. 

Tasty Turkey Burgers made my list of things to try since I can no longer enjoy burgers made from beef.  (I cooked mine indoors since the weather was iffy, not to mention the fact that a bird made a nest on the side burner of my outdoor grill, underneath its cover.  The baby birds are gone, and I removed their home. However, I need to disinfect the grill before I want to use it for food.)  My burgers were nice and moist – sometimes ground turkey tends to dry out.  They also had a very good flavor, especially with the slice of tomato that I added to mine.

The next dish I tried was Easy Red Potato Salad. (It was an easy decision to make since I had a bag of red potatoes that needed to be used.)  The title turned out to be true; it was simple to prepare.  I enjoyed the flavor immensely; the only downside was that the Dijon mustard was a bit overpowering.  I reduced the amount in the recipe found below.

I pulled the other recipes from several years back.  Bacon-Wrapped Ground Beef “Steaks” came from a time before I developed an intolerance to hamburger, and Pasta Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing includes lots of veggies to make it more healthy.

Tasty Turkey Burgers

1 pound ground turkey, at least 85% lean

1 tablespoon plain dried breadcrumbs

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (more or less, to taste)

 1/4 teaspoon (heaping) onion powder

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil (if pan frying)

Place ground turkey in medium mixing bowl.  Add breadcrumbs, spices, mayonnaise, and Worcestershire sauce.  Using fingers, gently mix ingredients together just until blended; shape into 4 patties about 1/2-inch thick.

Stove top directions: Preheat olive oil in 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  Add turkey patties and sear until golden brown on bottom, about 4-5 minutes.  Flip; continue to cook until done, another 4-5 minutes.  Center should read 165 degrees on instant-read thermometer. 

Grill directions:  To ensure patties hold together, freeze for 10 minutes before cooking (optional).  Place patties over medium-high heat on preheated grill.  Cook approximately 4-6 minutes per side.  

Serve patties warm in buns, with toppings of choice.  Yield: 4 servings.

Easy Red Potato Salad

3 pounds small red potatoes

1/2 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing

1-1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives or green onions

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon dried dill

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Place scrubbed potatoes in large pot of salted water, bring to a boil.  Cook until tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain.  Set aside to cool.  Once cool, cut each potato in half and place in large bowl (for larger potatoes, cut into fourths). 

Whisk together remaining ingredients.  Gently toss with potatoes to coat.

May be served immediately, or refrigerated (covered) until ready to serve.  Yield: 8 servings.

Bacon-Wrapped Ground Beef “Steaks”

2 pounds ground beef

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons diced onion

1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs

3/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 slice bacon per burger

In large bowl, mix together first 6 ingredients.

Form meat into 6 to 8 patties, each about 1 inch thick.  Wrap a piece of bacon around the edge of each patty.  Secure with toothpick.

To freeze:  Wrap each patty individually and place in a plastic freezer bag or other suitable container.  Label and freeze for up to 1 month.

To cook:  If frozen, thaw in refrigerator 1 day.

Prepare outdoor grill with medium-hot charcoal or heat a gas grill to medium-high or heat broiler.  Grill or broil for 5 to 6 minutes per side until nicely browned  (5 minutes per side was good for us) and “steak” registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Pasta Salad With Poppy Seed Dressing

1 package (16 ounces) bow tie pasta (I used small shells)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

2 cups broccoli florets

1 cup sliced carrots

1 cup diced cucumber

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

3 chopped green onions


1/2 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

1 garlic clove, minced

1 green onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup canola oil

4 teaspoons poppy seeds

Cook pasta according to package directions; rinse with cold water and drain.  Place in large bowl; add cheese (if desired), broccoli, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, and onions.  In blender, combine vinegar, sugar, garlic, onion, mustard, and salt; with blender running, gradually add oil, blending until smooth.  Add poppy seeds.  Pour over pasta mixture and toss.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.