It’s Labor Day Weekend Plus MVK’s *Like* of the Week

This time of year, the front meadow is a sea of goldenrod.

This time of year, the front meadow is a sea of goldenrod.

I always use Labor Day weekend as the benchmark for the end of summer. Kids are back at school, the days are getting shorter and cooler, and the local apple orchard is now open. So this weekend is a perfect time to say goodbye to the season and to invite some friends over for some a delicious meal! I’ve scoured MVK’s archives for some recipes that would be perfect for this time of year. I hope whatever you do this coming weekend, it is filled with good food!

Appetizers

Deviled Eggs
Who doesn’t like deviled eggs? Take this to a party and they will be gone in the blink of an eye!

Baked Artichoke Dip
While this is a little fussy, it is well worth the effort.

Homemade Hummus
Know the ingredients in your hummus by making a batch of your own!

Mediterranean Kebabs
You don’t even need to know how to cook to make this tasty appetizer!

Entrees

Marinated Grilled Chicken Legs
Get the grill going for this flavorful chicken dish.

Linguine with Clam Sauce
If you can find fresh clams, this dish will be phenomenal, but canned work just as well.

Mystic Pizza
Impress your guests by grilling this pizza!

Marinated London Broil
Mmmmm…..

Brazilian Fish Stew
This stew tastes like a professional made it. Show off your skills!

Salads and Such

Potato Salad
I made this over Fourth of July weekend and am still thinking about it!

Kale Salad
Instead of a usual green salad try using kale instead!

Quick Pickles
Because I love these!

And you can never go wrong with a platter of sliced fresh tomatoes with basil and a little drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Desserts

Warm Roasted Peaches with Cream
Pick up some Amish peaches if you’re in the Northeast and roast them with a little cinnamon and nutmeg. You won’t be sorry!

Brownies
You’ll make a friend for life if you make a couple batches of these incredible brownies.

Crumbly Peach Pie
A summer isn’t complete without making my grandmother’s peach pie.

Cocktails

Mad Men Manhattan

Margaritas

Mocktails

sunday dinner

(Photo Steve Cavalier/Alamy/Alamy)

MVK’s *Like* of the Week: Should Sunday Roast Dinners Still be on the Menu?
One of the things I was most excited about when I was in London last year was going out for Sunday Roast, which is basically a full dinner at lunchtime. I have a version of that in my own home almost every Sunday because there is more time to cook; a really nice meal, usually a roast of some sort, to end the weekend and to have a nice start to the work week. Sunday just feels odd if I’m throwing together a stir fry.

So I really enjoyed this pro and con op-ed piece out of The Guardian last week for Sunday roast dinners.  Of course I’m in the “pro” camp; they truly are a comfort blanket meal. You can read the article in its entirety here.

Appetizers for Two: Guacamole and Chips with Homemade Margaritas

My favorite thing to do on the weekends during the spring, summer, and fall, after a long day at work, or after mowing the lawn, working in the garden, or kayaking, is sitting in the sun with a good book. And of course, having pre-dinner munchies always makes it better!

These two recipes are simple, easy, and perfect for two people; one avocado is the just right amount for two with no wondering what you will do with leftovers–you won’t have any! If you want to double it, that’s easy to do, and measurements are mostly based on taste. As with most of my recipes, I like a little bit of heat, so I add some cayenne for that extra kick. If I have some cilantro in the vegetable bin, I’ll add some, but it’s not mandatory, it’s delicious with or without. It seems like a dash of salt is always needed, so be sure to add to taste. I love the flavor of fresh limes, which are inexpensive this time of year, so I add it liberally.

I wanted to create a summertime margarita that didn’t rely on a pre-made, sugary mix. You can get the same flavor with Triple Sec–or it’s more expensive cousin, Cointreau. No worries if you buy a whole bottle of TS, it’s relatively inexpensive, lasts forever, and is great in a pomegranate martini, too! (That’s a winter cocktail, stay tuned in November/December!) And of course, if tequila isn’t your liquor of choice or you don’t drink alcohol, plain seltzer water with a lime  is also a refreshing drink!

Guacamole
1 soft avocado
1-2 cloves of finely minced garlic
Juice of ¼ to ½ lime
Sprinkle of cayenne (if desired)
A few sprigs of cilantro (if desired)
Dash of salt

Spoon out the avocado into a bowl and smash with a fork. Add the garlic, lime juice, and if using, cayenne and cilantro. Stir. Add a dash of salt to taste. Spoon into a serving bowl and add corn chips.

Homemade Margaritas
In a cocktail shaker with ice cubes and add :

4 ounces  tequila
2 ounces Triple Sec or another orange-flavored liquor
The juice of 1/4-1/2 fresh lime juice

Shake and divide evenly between two glasses filed with a few ice cubes. Add juice of the lime slice to the glass and drink!