Labor Day Celebration at the Davis House
I know, I know, I preach all the time about not celebrating with food and here I am blogging about our Labor day cookout. Well, the reason for that is simple, we had such a good time celebrating each other-not the food. We did eat, but it was not the focus of the day. I specifically asked everyone NOT to bring a dish. I really enjoyed preparing healthy substitutions that looked great, tasted great and made it easy for healthy to be the default choice because ALL the options were healthier (I say healthier because we had several items that were sugar free, while we all know that doesn’t mean calorie free, it was a better option for our diabetic attendees.) Below are my recipes-I believe in cheap, easy and tasty. Feel free to not take the easy way out like I did and make more things from scratch!
Home-made guacamole (I made WAY to much, but with the extra sprinkle of lime juice, it’s still green!)
- 6 Hass avocados
- 1 can Rotel diced tomatoes with lime cilantro seasoning
- 1/2 of 1 small can diced jalapenos
- 1/2 cup diced purple onion
- generous sprinkle of red wine vinegar
- two generous splashes of lime juice
- pinch of pink Himalayan salt (treasure find at TJ Maxx)
- several cranks of ground coarse black pepper
I mixed everything but the avocados together in a bowl, then smushed up the avocados and added it all together and mixed-yum, yum, yum!
Caprese on a stick (it doesn’t get any easier)
- Mozzarella cheese in basil and olive oil (bought at huge tub at Costco)
- Fresh basil leaves
- Cherry tomatoes (bought a huge container at Costco)
Spear a tomato, basil leaf and cheese ball with a toothpick-arrange on a beautiful platter.
Layered Vegetable Salad (I hate cutting up vegetables so I bought everything bagged and ready to go)
- large container of 1/2 spinach 1/2 baby greens (purchased at Costco)
- bag of shredded red cabbage and shredded carrots (like you would normally use to make cole slaw)
- diced red, green, and yellow peppers (off the salad bar at Kroger)
- diced onion (off the salad bar at Kroger)
- sliced mushrooms (off the salad bar at Kroger, hey I told you I’m lazy when it comes to veggies)
- 1/2 package 2% shredded cheese (used for decoration more than as a full layer)
- pre-cooked and crumbled bacon (again, a sprinkling for decoration and aroma, not as a full layer)
Layer everything in order, except for the cheese and bacon-save it to use after you put the dressing on top. The reason no amounts are listed is you can make this salad as big or little as needed based on the size of your crowd. I’ve actually used an upside down Tupperware cake carrier before for a huge crowd. The dressing recipe is where I’m so excited that everyone liked it and I totally substituted! The recipe calls for mayo and sugar which is why this salad traditionally is so high calorie.
- 1 large tub Fage 0% Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup bottled Italian dressing (you need this to thin the yogurt out a little as well as to add flavor)
- sprinkle of pink Himalayan salt and several grinds of black pepper
- 1 inch squeeze of Cilantro in a tube
Mix all the ingredients and spread on the top of your salad, then sprinkle with the cheese and bacon for a garnish.
For our protein, we had steak seasoned with only a little salt and a lot of pepper and chicken with two different marinades:
“Pam’s citrus marinade”
sprinkle chicken tenders with coarse ground black pepper, smoked paprika; place in a plastic bag and shake several squirts of liquid smoke on the tenders, add citrus salad dressing (this time I used mango vinegarette), shake-refrigerate overnight, shake again, pour off the extra liquid and grill.
“Pam’s beer tenders”
sprinkle chicken tenders with Weber’s beer butt chicken spice, place in plastic bag, pour in a beer, let marinate overnight, pour off the extra liquid and grill.
For “dessert” I made a recipe I saw from Hungry girl
Mixed a Duncan Hines red velvet cake mix (the whole box) with 12 ounces of club soda (no calories) and NOTHING ELSE. Poured the mix into cupcake tins and baked as per package directions, (made 15 cupcakes) and after cooling completely, I “frosted” them with french vanilla cool whip. Each cupcake wound up having approximately 140 calories.
Pam’s Trifle (again, I’m all about easy!)
I bought two sugar free Angel food cakes and cut 1 and 1/3 of them up into cubes.
I mixed 3 packages of Jell-O sugar free white chocolate pudding separately (to one of the mixes I added some sugar free Torani’s raspberry syrup which made it a pretty pink color, I used this for the middle layer of pudding)
I bought two pints of raspberries and one quart of blueberries.
In your prettiest glass bowl, put a layer of angel food cake cubes, then layer one of the mixed up packages of pudding and sprinkle a few raspberries, layer another round of cake cubes, your pink layer of white chocolate pudding, another sprinkle of berries, another round of cake cubes, last layer of pudding, then cover with the remaining raspberries and blueberries. You could use any flavor of sugar free pudding and any type of berries. Make sure to refrigerate for a couple of hours first and let it set.
We served Crystal light margaritas (no alcohol). A good time was had by all, including the pups who really enjoyed the bites of steak Auntie Jo snuck to them.
Being an only child, I’m so glad I married into a family with lots of siblings and good times. I would love to hear about your Labor day celebration and any new recipes you tried. Celebrating the workers today!