Labor Day!

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The term “Labor Day” has taken on a whole different meaning around here lately. With my wife very pregnant with our first child, Labor Day is now January 17, 2019. As the real Labor Day is approaching (rather quickly, I might add), I put together a little Labor Day Picnic menu for you guys. These recipes are simple, inexpensive, and will please all of your guests. They also come together in no time. Who wants to spend hours cooking and doing dishes on your day off? I certainly don’t. These are all brand-new recipes, with some being a wink and a nudge to others.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos to post with the recipes at the moment. I hope to get those shot, edited, and up with this post by next week. I decided to post these recipes without the photos so that you could start your planning now and ask any questions before your start to cook.

A few other recipes that aren’t listed below that would be a great addition to the party is my BBQ Potato Salad, Cucumber Peach Salsa, and of course – Pimento Cheese.

Listed below will be recipes for:
Caesar Deviled Eggs
Creamy Pesto Pasta Salad
Grilled Pineapple Chicken Skewers
Brendan’s Burgers with White BBQ Sauce
Blueberry Peach and Plum Cobbler

Caesar Deviled Eggs
Prep Time: 25 minutes | Cook Time: 11 minutes | Servings: 24 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

1 Dozen Eggs, hard-boiled
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Caesar Dressing
1/8 tsp garlic powder
Dash of salt and pepper
4-5 Parmesan Croutons, crushed
2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
1-2 bags chopped romaine lettuce, for serving

Directions:

1. Slice eggs in half, lengthwise. Place the yolks in a large bowl and mash. Set aside the whites.
2. Add the mayonnaise, Caesar dressing, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix well.
3. Put the yolk mixture into a zip-lock bag and snip off one of the corners at the bottom of the bag.
4. Place eggs on a romaine lettuce lined tray. Pipe mixture into eggs.
5. Garnish with crouton crumbs and grated Parmesan. I like to grab a piece lettuce to eat with every egg.

Creamy Pesto Pasta Salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 10-12 minutes | Servings: 12-14 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

1 box Small Pasta Shells, cooked and drained
2 – 8oz packages of Mozzarella Pearls (mini motz balls)
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup Kalamata Olives, sliced in half
1 – 14oz can Quartered Artichoke hearts, drained
1 1/2 cup prepared pesto (I use store bought)
3/4 cup heavy cream
Freshly grated Parmesan, for garnish

Directions:

1. Cook the pasta according to the package. Drain and add to a large bowl. Toss with a touch of olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking together.
2. Once the pasta is cooled – add the mozzarella pearls, grape tomatoes, olives, and artichokes to the bowl
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the pesto and heavy cream. Pour half of the mixture over the bowl with the pasta and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate the pasta salad and remaining creamy pesto. Add the remaining creamy pesto to the bowl right before serving.

Grilled Pineapple Chicken Skewers
Prep Time: 2 hours | Cook Time: 30 minutes | Servings: 6-8 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

2 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Tenders – cut into 1 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups Pineapple juice (or mango, orange, any tropical fruit juice will work)
The zest and juice of 1 Lime
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp coconut sugar
3 garlic cloves, grated or minced
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup coconut aminos or soy sauce
2 Red bell peppers
2 Green bell peppers
Skewers, soaked in water if wooden

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl combine the pineapple juice, lime zest, lime juice, brown sugar, coconut sugar, grated garlic, vegetable oil, and coconut aminos (or soy sauce).
2. In a large zip lock bag or a large container with a lid, add the chicken tender pieces. Pour the marinade over the chicken, mix, and seal shut. Let this marinate at room temperature for 2 hours. You can also let this sit in the refrigerator over-night but bring the chicken to room temperature before skewing.
3. Reserve the marinade and place into a sauce pan. Dice the red and green bell peppers into 1 inch pieces. Starting with a chicken tender piece, alternate the chicken pieces with a red and green pepper on a skewer until chicken is gone. 5-6 pieces of chicken per skewer is perfect.
4. Bring the marinade to a boil for 10-12 minutes.
5. Grill the kebobs on medium high heat until chicken is cooked through. Brush the kabobs with boiled marinade (glaze.) 

Brendan’s Burgers with White BBQ Sauce
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 10-15 minutes | Servings: 4 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

2 lbs ground beef (80/20)
2 tsp smoked paprika
3 tbsp grated onion
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 garlic cloves, grated
4 slices Provolone cheese
Lettuce
Tomato
4 panko breaded onion rings, baked (frozen store bought)
White BBQ Sauce (see recipe below)
4 Brioche hamburger buns

Directions:

Preheat grill the 450°.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the ground beef, smoked paprika, grated onion, Worcestershire sauce, and grated garlic. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the bowl. Score the mixture with your hands, making a cross. This will give you 4 even-sized patties. Scoop up each section, roll into a ball and then flatten to desired size and thickness.

Grill burgers to desired doneness. Place Provolone cheese on the burgers about 2-3 minutes before they are finished cooking.

On the bottom portion of the bun, spread about 2 tbsps white BBQ sauce and place the burger on top of that. Add the lettuce, tomato, onion ring, and more of the white BBQ sauce. Add the top portion of the bun.

White BBQ Sauce
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes | Cook Time: 0 | Servings: ~ 1 3/4 cups

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp white pepper
1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white sugar
2 garlic cloves, grated
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Few dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
Water, a few tbsps

Directions:

1. Whisk all the ingredients (except for the water) together in a large bowl. If you like the consistency, leave it. If you want it thinner, add a tbsp of water at a time until you get it to where you want it.

Blueberry, Peach, and Plum Cobbler
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 35-40 minutes | Servings: 6-8 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

3 peaches, peeled, seed removed and sliced
2 plums, seed removed and sliced
1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 lemon, the juice and zest
3 Tbsp cornstarch
2 cans of grands biscuits, each biscuit cut into 1/4ths (you may only need 1 1/2 cans)
4 tbsp melted butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350º.
2. Grease a 9×13 baking dish and set aside.
3. Combine peaches, plums, blueberries, coconut sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and cornstarch in a mixing bowl. Pour into prepared pan.
4. Place the biscuit pieces on the fruit to make an even layer, ensuring to cover all of the fruit.
5. Combine the cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl. Drizzle biscuits with melted butter and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over the tops. You don’t have to use all of the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
6. Place dish in preheated oven and bake for about 35-40 minutes. The fruit should be bubbling and the biscuits should be golden brown.

Written by Brendan

I am the oldest, funniest, and best looking of the three pieces of fruit to come from our parents loins. Hmmm… if I was a piece of fruit, I think I’d be a peach. Fuzzy on the outside, a little soft, a little juicy, and a big ol’ heart in center. I believe I was 17 years old. The year was 2003 (holy crap, that was 15 years ago?) when I decided to make the change and become a vegetarian. Born and raised in Northeast Pennsylvania, being a vegetarian was not all that common. And, because it wasn’t all that common, I had to figure out the vegetarian lifestyle all on my own. I quickly discovered how much more energy I had and how much better I felt. A few years later I met the macaroni to my cheese, the basil to my pesto, someone that really made my dough rise, the love of my life, Sarah. Many of you already know the story of our first date and are still wondering why she said yes to a second. For those that don’t know the story, I don’t know if you’re lucky or if you missed out. While only being together for 6 months, we decided to move in together. Actually, Sarah the Stalker found an apartment in Jim Thorpe, PA – where I lived. She had lived just 20 minutes away in one of the next towns over and couldn’t bare to be that far away from this piece of Porter House steak. Can you blame her? So, she bought me a tooth brush for her place and gave me a key, at which point it became our place. Here is where I rediscovered how much I loved to cook – by making our nightly dinners. Also, I may or may not have had a small obsession with Rachael Ray. Fast forward to 2016, and my now wife Sarah and I are moving to the Carne Asada capital of the world, Tucson, AZ. No more cold and no more snow! Tucson is a charming little city with a small town feel in Southern Arizona, about a stone’s throw away from Mexico. There is a lot of Mexican influence here from the street names, the adobe style homes, and the FOOD. The food is incredible here. There’s an old wives’ tale here about the salsa in Tucson. How hot the salsa is depends on how angry the lady in the kitchen making it is at her husband. We have had some mild salsas and we have had some salsas that made you feel like you sold your backside to el diablo. I’ve always had an interest in food, ever since I was a little kid. I have great memories of being in the kitchen with my grandparents and mom that inspire me to continue to cook for people and write recipes. Last June, with the support of my wife, I quit my career of 13 years in banking to focus on writing a cookbook. My cookbook will incorporate dishes I ate growing up, recipes I created, and a modern twist on some classics. My focus is not going to be strictly vegetarian recipes. I have plenty of recipes that include meat. My days start with a large cup of coffee and a walk on the treadmill or a hike through Saguaro National Park. It continues in the kitchen either testing a recipe, writing one, or working on my new website! The cookbook is taking longer than I anticipated, so I decided to start sharing my recipes online and to start to gather a following. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions and don’t forget to subscribe to never miss a recipe!

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