Labor day is an important and exciting holiday, honoring the labor movement in the United States. That being said, what’s the best way to celebrate an entire country’s achievements if not with a table full of food? Get comfortable on your couch and enjoy this conveniently assembled list of everything you’ll need for your Labor Day cookout!
1. Chicken and Black Bean Nachos
Let’s start with a bang - everyone loves a good plate of nachos! We’re talking fresh black beans, juicy chicken bits and the crunchiest tortilla chips. Here’s what you’ll need for the perfect Chicken and Black Bean Nachos:Ingredients
- 3 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
- 1 cup red enchilada sauce
- 1/2 small onion, chopped
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears corn)
- 1 can (15-ounce) black beans, rinsed
- 12 ounces pepper-Jack cheese (about 3 cups), divided
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces tortilla chips
- Fresh cilantro and lime wedges, for serving
- You’ll need to set up your grill for indirect cooking with the heat at a medium. Put the chicken, beans, corn, onion, enchilada sauce and 8 ounces cheese in a bowl to mix, then season it all with salt and pepper.
- Get your aluminum foil and tear 6 squares, each about 12 inches. Divide the chips and the chicken mix into 6 portions and put 1 portion of each, with some leftover cheese, on one piece of foil. Then seal the foil by crimping the edges. Do this 5 more times!
- Put these delicious packets in the grill over indirect heat until all the cheese is evenly melted. Leave them in there for about 6 to 10 minutes. Then take out the packets carefully and place them on a plate. Sprinkle some cilantro on top and serve it with beautiful lime wedges.
2. Potatoes with Fennel and Radish salad
Next up is an appetizing potato salad with all the right spices. Potatoes are a must have on your Labor Day cookout table. But they don’t always have to be greasy and heavy on the stomach. Here’s the perfect way to incorporate them in the Potatoes with Fennel and Radish Salad. You’ll need:Ingredients
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 2 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 1/2 lbs fingerling potatoes, scrubbed
- 8 garlic cloves, 6 crushed, 2 finely grated
- 1 wide 3-inch strip Meyer or regular lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons finely grated, divided
- 1/2 cup kosher salt, plus more
- 4 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
- 2 tbsp Meyer or regular lemon juice, divided
- 1 tbsp black or brown mustard seeds
- 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced on a mandoline
- 2 radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced on a mandoline
- Dill sprigs (for serving)
- Setup a cheesecloth and put the coriander seeds and peppercorns in the middle, then tie it shut. Take out a large saucepan and put the potatoes, spice bundle, crushed garlic, strip of lemon zest, 1/2 cup salt, and 8 cups water in it to boil (medium heat). Within 11 to 13 minutes, reduce the heat and uncover the pan until the ingredients are soft inside. When cooked, separate the potatoes, let them cool, then slice each of them up into 4 pieces.
- Put the crushed red pepper, grated garlic, 1/2 cup of oil, 1 tbsp of grated lemon zest and 1 tbsp of lemon juice in a bowl to whisk and combine, then season it with salt. Add the potatoes to the bowl and mix gently to coat them all evenly. If needed, add more salt.
- Get a heatproof bowl and set a fine-mesh sieve over it. Then heat up 2 tbsp of oil in a small frying pan and add mustard seeds. Cook on medium heat until the seeds pop (about 1 minute). As soon as they all pop, sift the oil through the sieve, let it cool and set the seeds aside.
- Afterwards, combine the oil and seeds with the fennel, radishes, 1 tbsp of lemon zest and 1 tbsp of lemon juice. Then season with salt.
- Arrange the potatoes on a beautiful plate and mound fennel and radish on top. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil on it and scatter a few dill sprigs around the plate! Ready to eat :)
3. Roasted Poblano Burger with Pepper Jack Cheese
A cookout is not a cookout without any burgers! Get ready to wipe your mouth from how much you’ll be drooling over this Roasted Poblano Burger with Pepper Jack Cheese! Here’s everything you will need:Ingredients
- 2 lbs ground beef
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large poblano peppers
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 8 slices pepper jack cheese
- 1/2 cup chipotle mayonnaise
- 8 2 oz whole-grain hamburger buns
- 8 slices curly leaf lettuce
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Then put poblano pepper on a baking sheet. Coat each pepper in 1 tbsp of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then roast in the oven until the skin of the pepper is blackened (about 15 to 20 minutes). Remove it from the oven, put it in a bowl and cover with a plastic wrap, then steam for 15 minutes. Take it out from the bowl, peel, cut out the stems and seeds and chop coarsely.
- Preheat the gas or charcoal grill to 400°F (205°C). Shape into eight 3/4 inch thick patties. Season each side with salt and pepper. Make a small indention in the center of the burger with your thumb. The fire should be quite hot - you should barely be able to hold your hand 3 or 4 inches over the grates! After the coals are gray, spray the grates with cooking spray or brush with oil to help keep the burgers from sticking.
- Place burgers on the grill and cook for about 4 minutes per side for rare, another minute per side for each increasing stage of doneness. Top each burger with a slice of cheese the last 2 minutes of cooking time.
- Evenly spread 1 tbsp of chipotle mayonnaise on the top and bottom of each bun. Then place the burgers in buns and top with chopped poblano pepper and lettuce. You’re ready to eat!
4. S’mores cupcakes
Time for dessert! After all these goodies, you’re bound to get hungry for some chocolate sweets. Here’s the ideal tiny dessert to share with your entire family and friends - S’mores cupcakes. You will need:Ingredients
- 3 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 20 full-sheet graham crackers)
- 12 tbsp melted butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- Pinch kosher salt
- Devil's food cake mix + ingredients mentioned on box
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 24 marshmallows
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners.
- Combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar, and salt in a small bowl, then press about 1 tbsp of the mixture into each cupcake liner to make mini crusts.
- Prepare the cake mix according to its box instructions and divide the batter between liners. Then bake for a couple minutes - less than the box instructs (about 16 minutes).
- While the cupcakes are baking, make a quick ganache: place chocolate chips in a medium, heatproof bowl and set it aside. Heat heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat then bring to a gentle simmer. Then pour hot cream over the chocolate chips, constantly whisking it until it’s smooth.
- When the cupcakes are almost done baking, pull them out and plop a tbsp of ganache onto each cupcake, then put a marshmallow on top (if it feels like it might fall off, put the marshmallow on the side.) Put the trays back into the oven and bake - watching very closely! - until the marshmallows are golden and very soft (about 4 to 5 minutes more).
5. Gins & Roses
Now onto the drinks! With all this tasty food and rich flavors you ought to be thirsty for some refreshing cocktails! What better way to toast to Labor Day fun than with an icy cocktail? Here’s how to make a Cave Creek:Ingredients
- 1 1/4 oz Mister Katz’s Rock & Rye
- 1 oz Glenlivet 12-Year Scotch Whisky
- 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 oz grenadine
- 1/4 oz Campari
- Add all the ingredients into a shaker and shake with ice.
- Strain it all into a highball glass with fresh ice already inside
- Slice a long piece of lemon peel and put inside for decor.
6. Blackberry Beer Cocktail
And finally *drumroll please* the long awaited lemonade for your ideal cookout! Now this is not your ordinary lemonade you’d find at a lemonade stand in your neighborhood. This is top notch! It’s called the Blackberry Beer Cocktail and it will have all your friends complimenting you for your fine taste. Here what you’ll need:Ingredients
- 4 bottles (12 ounces each) beer, chilled
- 1 can (12 ounces) frozen raspberry lemonade concentrate, thawed
- 3/4 cup fresh or frozen blackberries, thawed
- 1/2 cup vodka
- Ice cubes
- Lemon slices
- In a large pitcher, combine the beer, the lemonade concentrate, blackberries and vodka. Mix evenly and serve it over ice and garnish with lemon slices.
You are now armed with the tastiest of the tastiest! This list of delicious foods and drinks is bound to not only impress your family and friends, but more importantly, leave their stomachs very full and happy. Practice making them now so you can be ready for when Labor Day is around the corner. Happy holidays everyone!