NORTHWOODS COOKS: Get set for Memorial Day weekend

Fork has sliced a bite from a n ice cream cake with a cold beer
A tasty hot fudge dessert is the perfect way to top off a graduation party or Memorial Day gathering. Make ahead and freeze so there is more time to spend with family and friends.
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Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kickoff to summer fun.

Here is a sampling of recipes that can be prepared ahead of time for graduation or family gatherings, so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time relaxing.

Search “freezer meals” to see many more make-ahead options for main courses, salads and desserts.

Sloppy Joes


2 lbs. lean ground beef

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

10.75-oz. can condensed tomato soup

1/4 cup ketchup

1 Tbsp. white vinegar

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1-1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce


1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

8 hamburger buns

Place ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until evenly browned, stirring to crumble. Use a potato masher to even out the lumps. Add onion and celery. Cover the pan, and cook until tender and transparent, about 5 minutes. Drain off any grease.

Stir the tomato soup (undiluted), ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce into the beef mixture. Season with salt and garlic powder. Heat to a simmer.

Simmer over low heat, and cook until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently to prevent it from burning on the bottom. Spoon the hot beef mixture onto buns, which may be toasted first, and serve or freeze and reheat to enjoy later.

Frozen Fruit Salad


21-oz. can cherry pie filling

20-oz. can crushed pineapple, drained

14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk

8-oz. carton whipped topping

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Pour into lightly greased muffin tins or a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish. Place in the freezer to freeze throughout prior to serving. When ready to serve, allow to stand for about 3-5 minutes.

Hot Fudge Ice Cream Bar Dessert

16-oz. can chocolate syrup

3/4 cup peanut butter

19 ice cream sandwiches

12-oz. container frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 cup salted peanuts

Pour the chocolate syrup into a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave until hot, about 2 minutes on high, stopping every 30 seconds. Do not allow it to boil. Stir peanut butter into hot chocolate until smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Line the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch dish with a layer of ice cream sandwiches. Spread half the whipped topping over the sandwiches. Spoon half the chocolate mixture over that. Top with half the peanuts. Repeat layers. Freeze until firm, at least 1 hour. Cut into squares to serve.

Readers are invited to submit their favorite recipes to enjoy, along with a note about what makes them special. Send recipes to

Readers are invited to submit their favorite recipes to enjoy, along with a note about what makes them special. Send recipes to

Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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