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Labor Day Picnics

(Source: Entertaining: Labor Day Picnics)

Labor day means the end of summer vacations and the beginning of school, committee meetings, schedules, and more meetings. We know that after the first cool evenings we will begin to plan Thanksgiving lists and look at new fabric for redoing a room in the house.

That's why this last family day of the summer is important and we thought we'd make it a meal to remember, but one that you can make ahead of time.

We think of Labor day as a day of games and lazing around with family and friends. Why not invite them over for lunch so that by dinner you are cleaned up and relaxing? This lunch is perfect for the patio with friends seated under umbrellas, or next to the lake or even on your apartment balcony with the air-conditioning near by.

If you are a family tied to the labor movement, you may want to include pictures form the history of labor or past labor day picnics as part of the decoration.

Use flowers that can be planted later like mums in colors that make the tables radiate and foreshadow the coming of fall. Centerpieces can include the flowers in baskets with moss and twigs as well as greenery from your bushes.

Use brightly colored plates and large stems for glasses. Roses in small crystal bowls with name plates and your favorite flowery china and good crystal will paint another picture but a lovely one.

Labor day means games for the children and adult friends. Think of how to incorporate them into the day. You can have swimming races if the pool is near by, or three legged races in the meadow. Egg on spoon races are also fun, or child on shoulder races make for memories.

No races? Try a long walk before or after lunch. The entire family can enjoy that and bring back leaves and twigs. Give each child a film loaded camera to take pictures and have them developed and sent to your guests. You'll be surprised what the children see.

Now for our lunch. This menu is great for adults and children alike. For those children who do not eat what we call "real food', how about making some PB&J sandwiches with vegetable sticks? Their mother will thank you. But be prepared, many children will pass up the tried and true for this beautiful buffet.

Do not put out food until you are about to serve it, especially if it is hot outside. You can place the platters on a bed of ice to keep cold, but guard against insects and the heat.

Bring iced tea, iced coffee, home made lemonade, sparkling water with citrus slices, and soda for the children. Don't forget wipes for every one. Now make up your guest list and start planning a lovely lunch.


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Picnic Recipes:
VEGGIE TRAY WITH VEGETABLE DIP
MY OWN CHICKEN DIVAN
RANCH/ITALIAN MARINATED CHICKEN BREASTS
TUNA/CHICKEN PASTA SALAD
GEORGIA'S POTATO SALAD
FOIL-GRILLED POTATOES
GEORGIA'S BAKED BEANS
MALLOW FRUIT SALAD
MICROWAVE ICED TEA

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VEGGIE TRAY WITH VEGETABLE DIP

Use any variety of veggies that you or your guests would like to have.

Examples:
Carrots, celery, green, red or yellow pepper strips, cucumber slices with skins on (washed), radishes, cherry or grape tomatoes, broccoli flowerettes, pea pods, and cauliflower flowerettes.For a favorite dip I either use 1 - 16 ounce container of sour cream mixed with Hidden Valley Ranch Mix..or 1 - 16 ounce container of sour cream mixed with Knorr Vegetable Soup Dip. Mix each well and chill ahead for use.

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MY OWN CHICKEN DIVAN
(This is nice meal to make for a 'pitch-in' dinner or picnic at church)

Ingredients:
6 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
2 (10 oz.) frozen chopped broccoli (or two cans green beans, drained)
6 large potatoes, peeled & sliced
2 can cream of mushroom or chicken soup
3/4 cup milk
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
Garlic Salt
Ground black pepper

Using a very large baking pan, layer all the sliced potatoes on the bottom. Garlic salt and pepper the potatoes lightly. Layer the broccoli on the potatoes, then layer the chicken on top. Mix all the mushroom soup and milk together and pour over top to cover evenly. Then sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour uncovered and lightly cover with foil, turn down to 325 and bake for an additional hour....It should be bubbling all around the edges....and the potatoes should be tender.....Great meal to prepare ahead for church and put the oven timer on..and your delicious meal is waiting for the hungry crew!!! I know it is at MY house.....Hope you like it!!

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RANCH/ITALIAN MARINATED CHICKEN BREASTS

Ingredients:

1 - 2 and 1/2 pound bag of Tyson boneless chicken breasts
1 - 8 oz. bottle Wishbone Ranch
1 - 8 oz. bottle Wishbone Robusto Italian

Thaw chicken and place in a large bowl. Pour the Ranch and Italian dressings over the chicken. Cover and let sit in refrigerator for 1 hour. Remove from fridge and slowly mix the chicken around to get both flavors thoughout the breasts.

Return to the refrigerator for at least another hour or two. (MAY be done overnight.... more flavor).Turn up your grill..... add the chicken and watch the magic.. You can even save the marinade and pour on top of the chicken after you turn it over.The combination of both the Ranch and Italian gives a unique, wonderful taste to these tender breasts.

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TUNA/CHICKEN PASTA SALAD

Ingredients:

1 pound cooked, cooled pasta---any kind
1 can water-packed tuna or chicken, drained (or can be made without either)
2 eggs, hard boiled and cut-up
1 large onion, 1 green pepper, 2 stalks celery, 1 carrot, 4 radishes, 1 cucumber, 1 large tomato, 1/4 head of lettuce (finely shredded)....(all vegetables chopped)
4 - 6 oz. bottled Italian dressing
Mayonnaise
1 tsp. yellow mustard
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. black pepper

Pour Italian dressing over cooked pasta, toss and set aside. After 15 minutes, add black pepper, garlic salt and yellow mustard and toss again to mix flavors. Put in refrigerator, covered, and allow 30 minutes to marinate.

At that time, add the chopped eggs, vegetables, and tuna or chicken. Start with at least 1 cup of mayonnaise and toss well. Mixture should be a creamy consistency. Add more mayo and salt to taste, a little at a time.

Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.A yummy addition to any summer picnic.

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GEORGIA'S POTATO SALAD

Ingredients:
5# potatoes, boiled, skinned, and cubed
3 eggs, boiled and cut up
32 oz. jar Mayonnaise
Italian dressing
Yellow mustard
Green onions (bunch), chopped
Carrots (baby), about 8 cut up
1/2 stalk celery (including leaves), chopped
Garlic salt
Ground black pepper

Cook the potatoes and after they are cool (or easy enough to handle by hand), peel the skins and cube and place into a large bowl. Add the cut up hard boiled eggs at this time. Sprinkle approximately 4 oz. of Italian dressing and a large squirt of yellow mustard on the potatoes. Shake and mix and let sit for at least a half hour (enough time to cut up veggies).

In the meanwhile, chop all the vegetables (not too fine) and mix very carefully with a heavy duty spoon (preferably wooden). Start with about two cups of mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon garlic salt, and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. Again mix very carefully, but thoroughly. You want to be sure to mix all the flavors, but not to mash up or break up the potatoes.

At this time, taste the mixture and see if the flavors have mixed and if there is enough salt and mayonnaise. If not, add more a little at a time until the flavor and consistency match.Cover and set in the refrigerator to chill at least two hours. The longer it sits, the better it tastes (even the next day.) Again this will make everyone come back for seconds. I guarantee it!!!

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FOIL-GRILLED POTATOES

Ingredients:

(4 servings....adjust to as many as you need)
4 LARGE Idaho or Russet potatoes
1 large onion
Garlic Salt
Pepper
Margarine Spray (I Can't Believe It's Not Butter)
Aluminum Foil

Tear enough aluminum foil to hold your potatoes and onions. Thinly slice each potato (with skin on and cleaned, of course), onto the foil.. slice enough onion to lightly cover the potato...Add garlic salt and pepper to taste.. and spray margarine generously..Close and seal each pouch so there's a little room for the steam and flavors to mix.

Place the potatoes preferably on the top rack while the chicken or other meats are cooking. You may want to place them directly onto the main rack after the meat is done or around the perimeter of the grill with the meat (if you only have one rack)...and keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn.Total cooking time shouldn't be over 45 minutes to an hour.

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GEORGIA'S BAKED BEANS

Ingredients:
4 - 16 oz. can pork and beans
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
1/2 pound bacon, cooked medium well, cut into pieces (save some bacon grease)
1/4 pound ground chuck, cooked and drained
Ketchup
Brown mustard (Guldens)
Brown sugar

In a medium frying pan, saute the chopped onion and green pepper in the bacon grease until limp.In a large bowl, mix the pork and beans, onions, green pepper, chopped up bacon, cooked ground chuck, 1/4 cup ketchup, 2 Tablespoons brown mustard, and about 1/2 cup brown sugar.

Mix well til completely blended. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about one hour uncovered. Turn oven down to 300 degrees, cover and bake for another hour at least. Shut off oven and allow to sit an additional hour covered to get the full flavor of all the ingredients...

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MALLOW FRUIT SALAD

Ingredients:
2 cans (11 ounces) mandarin orange segments, drained
1 can (20 oz.) pineapple chunks, drained
1 jar(4 oz.) maraschino cherries
3 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup broken walnuts
1 - 12 oz. Cool whip

Toss orange segments, pineapple, cherries, marshmallows and walnuts.....Fold cool whip into the fruit and cover and refrigerate at least one hour...Dreamy and creamy...(Serves 10)

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MICROWAVE ICED TEA

Using an empty gallon milk/water container, place 6 tea bags (without tags) in the bottom and fill about 1/4 full of water. Place in microwave and heat on high for 5 minutes.Let stand for about 10 minutes to steep and add enough water to about 7/8 of the way to the top.

If Mom likes the tea unsweetened, then just refrigerate it. If she likes it sweetened, add 1 and 1/2 cups of sugar, place lid on and shake until the sugar is dissolved.Then chill in refrigerator till you need it. (A nice touch would be lemon cut on the side or fresh mint, if it's available)

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This page was last updated August 26, 2003.