1000 x 90

Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Labor Day is Upon Us

By Sherrie Norris

It seems that we were introducing summer just last week with recipes for Memorial Day, followed by Father’s Day and Independence Day. How can it be possible that we are now talking about Labor Day?

I have never lived through a summer that passed more quickly as has this one, but it’s true. Labor Day weekend is upon us and is considered a perfect occasion to wind up our summer fun and entertaining. Of course, we know it’s really not the last chance for outdoor dining, as tailgating season is just beginning, but that’s for another column.

Always falling on the first Monday of September, Labor Day originated in 1882, when Peter J. McGuire, founder of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, suggested it as a time to honor the country’s working people. It became a legal holiday in the United States in 1894 under the presidency of Grover Cleveland.

Whether you’re packing up the cooler, gathering the family and heading for the lake or a nearby park, or enjoying the peacefulness of your own backyard this Labor Day, there are plenty of ways to prepare for your special time without a lot of fuss.

Grilled meats prepared over the open flame are always a big hit, especially when accompanied by a smorgasbord of salads, veggies and other goodies.

Enjoy the day, enjoy the food!


Four Bean Salad

1 (16-oz.) can of each: green beans, wax beans, lima beans and red kidney beans

1 onion, sliced into rings

½ cup chopped green pepper

1 cup vinegar

¾ cup sugar

¾ cup oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Drain beans, (rinse kidney beans). Combine beans, onion and green pepper in bowl. Mix last four ingredients together and pour into beans, mixing well. Marinate in refrigerator at least 12 hours.


Foil-Grilled Potatoes

4 large Idaho or Russet potatoes (or as many as you need)

1 large onion (or more depending on above)

Garlic Salt


Butter-flavored cooking spray

Aluminum foil

Tear enough aluminum foil to hold your potatoes and onions. Thinly slice each potato (leave skin on) onto the foil. Slice enough onion to lightly cover the potato. Add garlic salt and pepper to taste and spray margarine generously. Seal each pouch, but leave a little room for the steam and flavors to mix. Place potatoes on the top rack of grill if meats are cooking, or directly onto the main rack after the meat is done. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Should only take about 30 minutes.

(Can also be prepared in oven at 350 with pan underneath to catch any buttery-juice.)


Old West Style Beans and Burgers

1 lb. ground beef

¼ cup dry bread crumbs

¼ cup barbecue sauce

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 large can (16 oz.) baked beans

1 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings

Heat grill. In medium bowl, combine ground beef, bread crumbs, barbecue sauce and pepper; mix well. Shape mixture into four 3-inch patties, and place each on a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Top each with ¼ of the beans and onion rings. Wrap each into a packet and fold securely. Place on medium-heat grill, seam side up, and cook 20-30 minutes, or until meat is longer pink in center.

Recipe may be doubled as needed.


Grilled Veggies

3 medium red or green bell peppers, halved

Large mushrooms

6 squash, patty pan or zucchini, sliced or chunked

1 large onion, chunked

1 (8-oz.) bottle Italian salad dressing

Place vegetables and dressing in large re-sealable plastic bag, turning to coat all sides. Marinate at least one hour, turning frequently. Heat grill. Drain vegetables, reserving marinade. Place vegetables on grill (on foil, special rack, or on skewer) over medium heat and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until crisp tender, turning occasionally and brushing frequently with marinade.


Banana Split Cake


1½ cups crushed graham cracker crumbs

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 stick butter


2 cups powdered sugar

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

2 sticks butter, softened

4 bananas (sliced and sprinkled with lemon juice)

1 large can crushed pineapple, drained

8 oz. whipped topping

Chopped nuts

Maraschino cherries

For crust, combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Add melted butter and use a fork to combine ingredients well.

Pour mixture into rectangular pan, gently pressing up the sides to cover.

Cream sugar, cream cheese and butter together until blended. Pour into graham cracker crust, add sliced bananas and top with pineapple. Cover with whipped topping and garnish with nuts and cherries.