We are coming up to the last real weekend of summer as Labor Day is less than a week away — Monday, Sept. 3, in fact.
Traditionally observed on the first Monday in September, Labor Day was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century thought to be the idea of Peter J. Maguire, general secretary of Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joinders and co-founder of American Federation of Labor.
Although recent research has shown it might have been the idea of his brother, Matthew. Becoming a federal holiday in 1894, Labor Day is thought to be the end of summer for many Americans and celebrated with parties, parades and other family-related activities spent together with family. But when I was a youngster in school, Labor Day was always looked forward to the beginning of school, which was always the Tuesday after that holiday.
Whatever way you decide to observe the holiday, these recipes by Mr. Food Test Kitchens are designed to make it a little easier:
BREAKFAST BOWL SCRAMBLE
2 tablespoons chopped pepperoni or favorite pizza toppings
2 tablespoons milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons shredded mozzarella or Cheddar cheese
Coat microwaveable cereal bowl with cooking spray. Add eggs, pep-peroni, milk, salt, and pepper; beat until well blended. Microwave 45 seconds at high power; stir. Top with cheese and microwave 30-45 more seconds, or until eggs are set. Serve immediately.
Notes: Chop up and add bell peppers, onions, or mushrooms for some colorful, flavorful, and healthy additions.
HOT DOG PUFFS
1 (7-ounce) package refrigerated biscuits (10 biscuits)
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon pickle relish, drained
10 cocktail franks
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Separate biscuits and flatten each with palm of hand. Spread mustard and relish equally over each biscuit.
Place one cocktail frank at end of each biscuit and roll up. Cut each of them in half and place cut-side down on a prepared baking sheet. Bake 6-8 minutes, or until biscuits are golden. Serve immediately.
These recipes are provided by Paula Deen Kitchens:
HAM AND PICKLE PINWHEEL APPETIZER
1 package precooked sliced ham sandwich meat
1 large jar dill pickles
1 (8-ounce) package softened cream cheese
Spread softened cream cheese in thin layer on ham slices. Place pickle on end of each ham and cream cheese slice. Roll up jelly roll style. Slice into 1/2-inch thick slices.
BUTTER BACON BURGERS
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 stick cold, cut into small cubes butter
1 teaspoon garlic powder
4 split hamburger buns
4 slices cooked crisp bacon Lettuce, red onion, tomatoes, ketchup and mayonnaise
Grease grill grate by brushing it with oil. Preheat grill to medium. Mix together beef, salt, black pepper and butter in large bowl. Form beef into five patties about 1-inch thick. Place on baking sheet. Place burgers on grill, cover and cook, turning once, until burgers reach cooked the way you prefer, 7-9 minutes for medium-rare. Just before burgers are done, put buns on toward back of grill to toast. Sandwich burgers in buns and top with bacon, some lettuce, onion, tomato, ketchup and mayonnaise.
COLD CUCUMBER SALAD
1 tablespoon fresh dill
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cucumbers fresh ground pepper
Peel and slice cucumbers and put in glass bowl. Sprinkle with salt and vinegar. Cover and let stand Yi hour. Pour off excess liquid and strain in colander for about half hour to allow complete drainage. Add mayonnaise, sour cream, pepper and dill, and mix well.
GRILLED CORN ON THE COB
1 cup butter
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 ears shucked and cut in half corn Spray grill rack with nonstick non
Spray grill rack with nonstick nonflammable cooking spray. Preheat grill to medium-high heat, 350 to 400 degrees. Beat butter, cilantro, salt and pepper in small bowl with fork until smooth. Spread about 1 tablespoon of butter mixture over each half ear of corn. Wrap corn in heavy-duty aluminum foil. Grill, turning frequently, until corn is tender, 18-20 minutes. Serve immediately.
SOUTHERN BAKED BEANS
1/2 pound bacon
1 large onion
1 (16-ounce) can pork and beans
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
5 tablespoons maple syrup
4 tablespoons ketchup
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In skillet, fry bacon until crispy and crumble. In same pan using bacon drippings, saute onion until brown. Mix bacon, onion and drippings with remaining ingredients. Pour into baking dish and bake covered for 45-60 minutes.
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 large bananas
10 tablespoons softened butter
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix graham cracker crumbs with softened butter and press mixture into 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 5-8 minutes at 350 degrees. To create toffee filling, pour condensed milk into 9-by 12-by 2-inch glass baking dish. Cover with foil and place dish inside larger poaching pan. Add water to poaching pan until half way up sides of baking dish. Bake at 300 degrees an hour and half.
Once both the crust and toffee filling are cooled, spread half of toffee filling evenly inside crust. Slice bananas and layer on top of filling. Pour remaining half of filling over bananas, spreading evenly. Whip cream with confectioner’s sugar and vanilla and spread on top of toffee filling and bananas.