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“It’s only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.” – Theodore Roosevelt

This year, we have decided to put all our painful efforts into compiling a list of the best recipes to help you celebrate Labor Day. We also stand firm in our resolution to invest our grim energy and resolute courage in cooking all these delicious foods. We’re absolutely sure it will make things better for all our hard-working friends and family 🙂

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The History of Labor Day

Labor Day in the US is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. This year we’ll be celebrating on Monday 4 with a cookout in the backyard. So, make sure you have a good story to tell your kids and make this gathering as educational as it is delicious

Labor Day in was first celebrated in Toronto, Canada in 1872 but quickly made its way to the States. In the late 19th century, with the growth of the trade union and labor movements, workers proposed to set a day to celebrate work. September was first proposed as an option in the 1880s.

The first Labor Day parade was held in New York City in 1882 when 10.000 workers marched from City Hall to 42nd Street and met with their families in Wendel’s Elm Park for a picnic and concert (This parade still takes place every year, moving throughout the 20 blocks north of the 1882 labor march). Oregon was the first state to make it an official public holiday in 1887. Seven years later, thirty states were celebrating it and Labor Day became an official federal holiday.

The celebration of Labor Day was much more than just parades and fun. It resulted after a long-time fight for workers’ rights and dignity. During the 19th century, Americans worked seven days a week for 12 hours. Five-year-old kids worked in factories and mines! Conditions were unbearable and wages were ridiculously low. With the passing of the Adamson Act on September 3, 1916, an eight-hour work day was finally established.

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The holiday honors the 155 million men and women in the USA workforce who continue to contribute to the prosperity and well-being of our country.

Canada’s also celebrates this holiday on the first Monday of September, as do over eighty countries worldwide, only some of them have chosen to do so on May 1.

Labor Day also marks the end of the summer and the returning to school. This means that warm days are soon to be over and lots of school projects are coming our way. All the more reason to make this Labor Day memorable!

The expression “No white after Labor Day” is also connected to the ending of summer. It comes from when the upper class would return from their summer holidays and pack their light summer clothes preparing to go back to work/school.

So, kids will mourn the beginning of the school year, while moms look forward to a quieter house. Where does it leave dads? Well, the football season starts on (or around) Labor Day, so there’s something for everyone!

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Celebrating Labor Day

Parades were the earliest form of celebrating this holiday. They were supposed to exhibit the strength of workers and labor organizations. They were followed by a festival and later, speeches by prominent people were introduced.

In modern day America, people celebrate this day a bit differently. Eating, drinking, and leisure are the favorite ways to spend Labor Day.

Most Americans choose barbecuing as their favorite way to spend Labor Day. The second most favored activity is watching a movie at home or at the theater, followed by outdoor activities, going to a party, shopping, or just having some quiet time.

Both men and women choose beer as the best pair for barbecued meat. But what kind of meat do they mostly put on the grill? Burgers hit the top spot, closely followed by hot dogs. In fact, Labor Day marks the end of the hot dog season which starts on Memorial day, signalling the beginning of summer as well.

Beef remains the most favorite type of meet on this day. Statistics say that people consume the largest amounts of beef on Memorial Day, whereas Labor Day and Fourth of July come second on the list. Barbecued chicken has been on the rise these last few years, together with steak and ribs.

And finally, which part of the States likes barbecuing on Labor Day the most? Believe it or not, it’s the East!

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Throw Your Own Labor Day Party

Skip the regular Labor Day local parade and throw your own in the backyard! The food will be the real star of the show, but why not go an extra mile and offer an all-inclusive party experience? Here are some simple ideas that will make your party super-fun.

Pick a theme

Pick a theme for your party and send out simple invitations (print them from the Internet). The theme could be “our private Labor Day parade” where guests get to be creative and dress up in colorful costumes. After a few beers, everyone will feel brave enough to walk to the park all dressed up!

If you are more into simple things, throw an “all-white party”. This way, everyone will get to wear their light summer clothes one last time before packing them up.

Décor

If you decide to go with the “all-white” theme, let white be the color of your décor, flowers, and cake frostings! So stylish!

Alternatively, you can go full patriotic and decorate the backyard in red, white, and blue. Finding suitable decorations is very easy. All you need to do is go to the mall and choose from the wide range of star-spangled items: bowls, cups, picnic spreads, table cloths, napkin rings, flags…

For a minimalist but effective decoration, let your centerpiece take the main stage. Cover the table with a blue tablecloth. Fill a metal planter with ice and place glass bottles filled with cranberry juice inside. Finish off with fresh white flowers tucked between the bottles.

Labor Day Recipes

When compiling your Labor day menu, bear in mind that the weather will be hot. Also, remember that you should also allow yourself to enjoy so, choose quick and easy recipes. Better yet, pick foods that can be done the night before. And, by all means, leave the barbecue to your significant half!

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Appetizers and Snacks

California Appetizer Pizzas

The beauty of this recipe is that it is so quick and simple to make. It is based on store-bought pizza dough and it will take no more than 20 minutes. Plus, if you don’t have the topping ingredients listed in the original recipe, you can easily use whatever you have in the fridge, such as olives or mushrooms.

Wait, there’s more. You can substitute the pizza dough with one package refrigerated crescent roll dough. Unroll, press edges together, then prepare as directed!

Sweet & Salty Snack Mix

Here is something the little ones will adore! This stellar blend of tastes and textures works for backyard parties, picnics, beach parties, or camping trips. Even the grown-ups will enjoy it with beer or cocktails.

Add sweetness and festive color to this party mix by incorporating candy-coated chocolate pieces, chocolate-covered raisins, or flavored baking chips (chocolate or butterscotch). Want some more? Try also gummy candies, yogurt-covered nuts, and marshmallows!

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Mains

Citrus Grilled Chicken

The inclusion of oranges sauce and pink onions adds fantastic colors to this delicious dish. The recipe originates in Baja, California, where oregano and cinnamon are usually added. Try it yourself, by adding 1/2 teaspoon oregano or 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon to the marinade for a Mexican twist. Leave the meat to soak in the marinade overnight and throw on the barbecue when ready to eat.

Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus Beef

If you’re in the mood for something a bit fancier, try this Italian classic with a twist—tender sirloin steak wrapped around snappy asparagus, with savory bacon encircling them both.

Beef Vegetable Burgers

Or, if you prefer to stay on the simple side, go for burgers. But not just any burgers. These are comprised of ground beef patties, bacon, and veggies (carrots, onion, bell pepper) and complemented with Cheddar cheese, among other things.

Save this tip for colder days: these burgers can be cooked under a broiler. For a charcoal-grilled taste, use smoked mozzarella or other smoked cheese in place of the Cheddar, or add a drop or two of liquid smoke to the ground beef mixture.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

A festive lunch ready in 20 minutes! Add crushed garlic cloves and cover with soy sauce for extra flavor! Tip: Reserve the marinade in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Serve with the grilled pork.

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Sides & Salads

Roasted Red Potatoes

Red potatoes taste terrific when roasted in olive oil and tossed in a dressing composed of bacon, green onions, and parsley. For a quicker clean-up, use precooked bacon or bacon bits instead of frying bacon in a skillet.

Roasted Vegetable Medley

Hearty roasted vegetables flavored with thyme, honey, andbalsamic vinaigrette. Vary the flavor with sesame ginger, rosemary, white-wine vinaigrette.

Twenty-Four Hour Salad

It is a fact that the ultimate make-ahead salad actually tastes better after you leave it be overnight. The flavors in this bountiful bowl play off each other deliciously. To save a little prep time, buy hard-cooked eggs at the deli counter when you’re buying the turkey and blue cheese. Pick up some pre-cooked bacon, too!

German Potato Salad

What better pair for your grilled meat than a potato salad? This warm variety is especially good at the end of barbecue season when autumn is in the air! Customize your potato salad with two tablespoons snipped chives, one tablespoon mustard or two tablespoons chopped red bell pepper.

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Desserts

S’mores Cookies

The great thing about this recipe is that it makes a big batch, which is perfect for a family and friends gathering. Not to mention they’re done in only 7 minutes!

If there are any S’more cookies left after the party, the best way to store them is placed in a single layer in a wide, shallow plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. If you must stack the cookies in two or more layers, place a sheet of waxed paper between the layers to prevent the marshmallows from sticking the cookies together.

Banana Split Crepes

These fruit-filled crepes with hot fudge topping are a wonderful take on everyone’s favorite ice-cream sundae. Prepare the batch of crepes the day before and store in the fridge. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds before serving and garnish with the topping given in the recipe or with your personal favorite. Complete with a cherry on top!

Strawberry Cream Freeze

This heavenly combination of sweet strawberries and rich cream is the best dessert to beat the summer heat! Choose ripe strawberries for the best flavor and color. As an alternative, try adding fresh blackberries and raspberries.

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Drinks

Beer might be the most beloved Labor Day drink, but there must be something for the little ones. What about refined ladies? We’ve got them covered too!

Strawberry Lemonade

Fresh strawberries and lemons combine for a fantastic fruit drink. You’ll never reach for store-bought powdered lemonades again. Healthy and delicious!

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Sparkling Party Punch

Hello, ladies! Orange juice, lemon-lime soda, and champagne create a colorful, light, and festive punch. A decorative ice ring adds the perfect finishing touch. To ensure a crystal-clear ice ring, use distilled water. Boil the distilled water and let it cool before filling the mold.

Happy Labor Day everyone!

I believe that food should not only taste good, but make you feel good as well and that is why I am so interested in exploring ingredients, preparing meals, and finding ways to make the whole cooking experience fun and exciting! Being a blogger for MyGreatRecipes unites my two passions – food and writing, and I am enjoying every second of it!
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Celebrate All the Hard Work You Do with These Cookout Labor Day Recipes
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Celebrate All the Hard Work You Do with These Cookout Labor Day Recipes
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This year, we have decided to put all our painful efforts into compiling a list of the best recipes to help you celebrate Labor Day. We also stand firm in our resolution to invest our grim energy and resolute courage in cooking all these delicious foods.
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MyGreatRecipes
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