Great Recipes for Labor Day

Author: Alecia Pirulis

Strawberry coconut cupcakes tray for Labor Day...

Strawberry coconut cupcakes tray for Labor Day party picnic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wait … summer is over – already? It’s true – Labor Day is on Monday, signaling the unofficial end of the summer season. The kids are back in school and in just a few short weeks the leaves will begin to turn. Before fall arrives with its brilliant display of color, apple festivals, hayrides, and campfire cookouts, enjoy the last of the summer season with good friends, great food, and (of course) football! Labor Day weekend will be filled with college football games, so get ready to cheer on your favorite team.

Whether you plan to be camped out in front of the television watching the game with friends, at the stadium for your first tailgate party of the season, at a local park enjoying a picnic, or at your apartment community’s poolside bash, food is likely to be a part of your Labor Day weekend. You don’t have to spend hours trying to come up with a great dish – these simple and easy recipes will have you out of the kitchen in no time:

Who doesn’t love fried pickles? Drain some sliced dill pickles and coat them with a batter made of flour, water, cayenne pepper, and salt. Fry them for a minute or two in peanut oil and serve with a dipping sauce. It’s easy, fast – and you’ll be the hit of the party.

It’s still homemade even if you cut a few corners. Make a dip using a package of taco seasoning mix, a can of refried beans, and other purchased ingredients. Mix the seasoning mix with the beans and put it in a baking dish. Mix together a container of sour cream and a package of (softened) cream cheese. Put that over the bean mixture. Now, pour a jar of thick, chunky salsa over everything and top it with chopped onions, diced jalapenos, and sliced black olives (drained). Sprinkle it with some cheddar cheese and put it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips.

Chicken wings are easier to make than you might think. You’ll need a deep skillet or a deep-fryer. Just sprinkle the wings with a little salt and pepper and place them in the hot oil until they are crispy and golden brown. Then, lay them out on paper towels to drain. Now, make your sauce – it can be to your taste, but basically you’ll want butter, hot sauce, and a dash of vinegar. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add some hot sauce and a little vinegar. Cook it through while stirring and then remove it from heat. Coat each wing in the sauce and place it on your serving platter. Add a small container of blue cheese for dipping and include some celery sticks.

Of course, grilling is almost a must during Labor Day weekend. Be safe – don’t try to grill in your breezeway or on your balcony. Instead, use the apartment community’s picnic area. If your community doesn’t have one, move your cook-out to a nearby park. Don’t leave your grill unattended and keep children and pets out of the grilling area.

If you plan to tailgate over the Labor Day weekend, make a list of everything you need ahead of time. It could ruin everyone’s fun if you make it to the game only to find you are missing a key ingredient such as paper plates or your barbecue coals. You want to leave early – most tailgaters get started hours before kickoff. Also, take plenty of zip-close bags for leftovers and storage as well as paper towels, games, a radio, drinks, folding chairs and possibly a folding table, water, trash bags, and a large bin as well as ice-filled coolers.

Whether you’re in the parking lot before the game or in your apartment living room around the television, keep your food simple and portable – sliders, sandwiches, potato skins, etc.

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