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

How can it be possible that we have drifted through the summer already and that Labor Day weekend is upon us?

As most special occasions have been in the last few months, this one also will “feel” differently, as many of those annual large-party gatherings will be reduced to just a few close friends and relatives, even if that.

For those who have lost their jobs this year, this might not be a time you want to even acknowledge, but if you are still fortunate enough to have employment, hopefully you will have the day, or one in its place, to enjoy away from the workplace.

Labor Day became a legal holiday in the United States in 1894 under the presidency of Grover Cleveland and always falls on the first Monday of September. The idea was introduced in 1882 by founder of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, Peter J. McGuire, who suggested a time to honor the country’s working people.

Whether in honor of the holiday, or just to relax around the house, hopefully you can use a few of our late-summer ideas during the weekend.


Apple Sweet Barbecued Chicken

1 cup barbecue sauce

1/3 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed

2 (3-3 ½ lb.) frying chicken, cut up

Heat grill; In small bowl, combine barbecue sauce and apple juice concentrate, blending well. When ready to grill, place chicken, skin side down, on gas grill over low heat or on charcoal grill 4-6 inches from medium coals. Cook 30-45 minutes or until juices run clear, turning often and brushing with sauce during last 15 minutes of cooking.


Cheesy Potato Bake

4 cups mashed potatoes

½ cup Parmesan cheese

2 eggs, slightly beaten

½ cup grated Cheddar cheese

Desired seasonings

Combine potatoes, Parmesan cheese and eggs. Season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic, chives, etc. Place in lightly greased baking dish. Top with Cheddar cheese and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.


Grilled Bread

Cut 1 loaf French Bread diagonally into 1-inch slices, cutting almost to bottom of loaf. Spread one of the mixtures listed below between bread slices. Place bread on large pieces of aluminum foil, wrapping securely. Grill bread 5 to 6 inches from medium coals, turning once, until hot. Open foil, grill bread uncovered 5 minutes or longer, if desired:

Parmesan Cheese Spread

½ cup mayonnaise or salad dressing

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tsp. dried oregano leaves

Garlic Chive Spread

½ cup margarine or butter, softened

¼ cup snipped chives

1 or 2 cloves garlic, crushed

Mix choice of spread well before applying to bread.


Herb Marinated Tomatoes

2 large tomatoes, cut into ½ -inch slices

2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil

1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley

1 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano

1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper

Arrange tomato slices on a platter, slightly overlapping. Sprinkle with basil, parsley and oregano. Combine lemon juice and vinegar; drizzle over tomatoes. Cover and chill 2 hours. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.


Nutty Buddy Pies

16 oz. Cool Whip

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

2/3 cup peanut butter

1 cup milk

Chopped nuts

Chocolate syrup

3 Graham cracker or chocolate crust

1 tsp vanilla (optional)

Mix softened cream cheese, peanut butter, and sugar. Blend until smooth. Add milk and Cool Whip. Mix well and pour into pie crusts. Swirl chocolate syrup on top and sprinkle with nuts. Freeze pies covered in plastic wrap or place in gallon-size freezer bags, being careful not to disturb the topping.