The arrival of Labor Day means the kids are back in school, fall is just around the corner and the joys of the holiday season will be here before we know it, but it’s far from time to close up the pool. We still have some great swim time left! Designated to appreciate the hard work Americans do all year long, many use the day off by hosting (or attending) a pool party. In this post, we share some of our favorite recipes and party ideas for an all-American pool party.
Red, white and blue decor–tablecloths, plates, napkins, streamers and other festive Americana table decor is easy to find this time of year. Check out your local party goods store, or look online. Since this decor will also look great at your Fourth of July pool parties, you might think about investing in some decor that you can use for years to come.
Labor Day parties should be easy, laid-back and fun for you as well as your guests. Do yourself a favor, and set up buffets for all your food and beverage. Put the food table near the kitchen and/or the grill, whichever is most convenient for your menu. If you’re hosting a larger group, put the beverages on the opposite end of your pool area to keep your guests from creating a traffic jam. If your group is small, you can keep everything closer together.
All recipes serve six.
Easy Watermelon Feta Salad with Fresh Basil and Reduced Balsamic
Sure, we’ve eaten plenty of watermelon all summer long. But this salad gives watermelon a sweet-mixed-with-savory twist your guests will love!
10 cups seedless watermelon, scooped into balls and placed in a large serving bowl (preferably clear to show the color!)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped immediately prior to serving
Reduced balsamic glaze (available in the vinegar section of most grocery stores)
Immediately prior to guest arrival, toss the feta in with the watermelon balls. Stir gently, just to mix. Drizzle reduced balsamic glaze in a crisscross pattern over the salad. Garnish with freshly chopped basil.
Blackened Chicken Sliders with Fig Jam and Arugula
Burgers are an obvious choice for a cookout, but everyone loves chicken, and these spicy but sweet, bite-size sandwiches will keep everyone coming back for more!
2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Blackening spice to coat (approximately ⅛ cup)
Fig jam (found in the jelly aisle of most grocery stores)
2 packages Hawaiian rolls (slider buns)
2 cups fresh arugula
24 4-inch bamboo skewers
Toss the chicken thighs in the blackening spice and let marinate up to two hours. The chicken thighs can be grilled the morning of the party and refrigerated or grilled immediately prior to making the sliders. They’re great hot or cold. Grill the thighs to an internal temperature of 155 degrees. Don’t overcook. Each chicken thigh will yield about two sliders if you cut each one in half after grilling.
About an hour before guests arrive, assemble the sliders. Cut the buns in half and spread the top of the bun with fig jam. Place the chicken on the bottom bun and top with a handful of arugula. Place the lid on and secure with a bamboo skewer. Arrange on a platter.
Grilled Parmesan-Crusted Sweet Corn
The end of summer means saying farewell to sweet corn until next year, so make sure you include it in your end-of-season soiree! This recipe is easy to make and adds a little zing to a classic summer treat.
1/2 cup mayonnaise
6 ears corn, husk and silk removed
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Preheat your grill for medium-high heat, and lightly oil grate. Brush a thin layer of mayonnaise on each ear of corn. Sprinkle the corn with the Parmesan cheese, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Wrap each ear with aluminum foil and place on the grill. Grill, turning occasionally, until the kernels begin to brown, about 10 minutes.
Summer Berry Trifle
Berries are one of summer’s greatest joys. Toss in some angel food cake, yummy pudding and whipped cream and you have the easiest, lightest, summeriest dessert there is.
Two 3.4 oz. packages instant cheesecake flavored pudding mix
4 cups milk
Angel food cake (about 12 oz), cut into pieces
1 cup chopped strawberries
1 cup blueberries
1 cup chopped raspberries
12 oz. cool whip (or homemade whipped cream)
Add the pudding mix and milk to a large bowl and make according to package directions. Next, build your trifle in a clear, footed bowl as follows: Add about half of the angel food cake pieces to the trifle dish. Top with about 1/2 of the prepared pudding. Add a layer of berries (about 1/2 cup of each kind of berry.) Top the berries with about half of the cool whip. Continue layering and finish off the trifle with a decorative layer of berries on top. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours, and remove from refrigerator just before serving.
We hope you enjoy this quick and easy Labor Day party plan so you’ll have loads of time to enjoy your food, your guests, and especially your pool!
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