Food September 3, 2021

Try these easy recipes for a labor-free Labor Day meal

WATCH: Try this honey balsamic chicken for your next BBQ

Labor Day weekend may mark the end of summer, but it's also the perfect excuse to whip up a delicious spread to send off the season with a bang.

Check out these delicious dishes that can be made to order, marinated ahead and are easy to execute, bringing all the flavor this Labor Day.

Cookbook author, recipe developer and blogger Jessica Formicola of Savory Experiments shared her easy recipes that kick up the flavor for the final days of summer.

Grilled Watermelon Steaks

Savory Experiments
Grilled watermelon steaks can be topped with balsamic vinegar reduction, cheese and proscuitto.

Whether you're plant-based or looking for a non-meat option to add to the table, this dish gives a savory spin to summer's sweet star ingredient.

Ingredients

8-inch watermelon wedges, 1 to 2-inches thick

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon Maldon sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons balsamic reduction sauce

2 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled

2 tablespoons fresh basil, cut into thin strips

Optional pairings

Prosciutto

Mozzarella cheese

Instructions

Baste watermelon slices with extra-virgin olive oil.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat, cleaning and oiling grates.

Place watermelon slices on direct heat, leaving in place to get grill marks and good caramelization. Grill for approximately 3-4 minutes on each side.

Remove from the grill and season with Maldon sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, drizzle with balsamic reduction, crumbled feta cheese and fresh basil.

Cold Tortellini Salad Kebabs

Formicola also posted a Labor Day recipe that uses her favorite store-bought tri-color tortellini for a simple skewered pasta salad on a stick.

Check out the full recipe on her blog here.

Jerk Chicken Skewers

Savory Experiments
Grilled Jerk Chicken Skewers.

This dish with all the vibrant heat of summer combines a warm spice blend with red bell pepper, onion and pineapple chunks. Plus, it can be made on the grill or in the oven.

Ingredients

For the marinade:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup pineapple juice

5 cloves garlic , minced

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 teaspoons lime juice

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1 jalapeno pepper, ribbed and chopped

6 scallions, chopped

1 pinch cinnamon

For the skewers

1 pound chicken thighs, boneless and skinless

2 cups pineapple, roughly chopped

1 red bell pepper, cut into large 1-inch pieces

1 red onion, cut into large sections

Fresh cilantro, optional for serving

Directions

Add the oil, pineapple juice, garlic, maple syrup, lime juice, soy sauce, thyme, salt, nutmeg, allsprice, ginger, jalapeno, scallions and cinnamon to a food processor or blender and combine on medium speed until no large chunks remain and everything is well blended.

Cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes and add them to a large prep bowl. Pour half of the marinade over the chopped chicken and toss to combine. Reserve the rest of the marinade for grilling, and cover and marinade in the fridge for at least 20 minutes, but up to overnight.

Once the chicken is done marinating, spray 8 10-inch metal skewers with cooking spray. Next, skewer the chicken, bell pepper, onion and pineapple onto each skewer, I like to alternate mine.

Brush the remaining marinade over top of the skewers.

Spray your cool grill with cooking spray to avoid the chicken from sticking. Next, heat the grill to 400 degrees. Once the grill is heated, add the jerk chicken skewers to the grill and cook 5 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Once finished, remove from kabobs and serve topped with fresh cilantro.

Recipes reprinted courtesy of Savory Experiments.