Labor Free Labor Day Cooking
It’s almost a misnomer but there are plenty of ways that you can make the cooking for your Labor Day meal virtually labor free compared to years long past. At least the cooking that will take place on the actual holiday. This is a good deal in most homes as the ones doing the cooking really don’t get to enjoy the holiday and still have to go to work the very next day. By doing most of the labor for the meal preparation ahead of time you will have very little to do on Labor Day itself other than setting up the table and reheating the items that need to be heated.
The first thing you absolutely must do in order to enjoy a truly labor free Labor Day is plan ahead. Plan a menu that is full of items that can be prepared ahead of time and either stored, refrigerated, or frozen in such a manner that very little work will be required to have them ready to serve on the day of the main event. Some excellent ideas for this include foods such as vegetable trays (the veggies can be chopped a day ahead of time and stored in zipper bags in the fridge, sausage balls (these may be prepared well ahead of time and frozen), and frozen desserts.
Once you have the menu planned you need to do the shopping a bit ahead of time. Shopping close to the holidays is a little more hectic, a lot more crowded, and you are twice as likely to either not get the items you need or forget something from your list. Another thing is that you should have a list and just like Santa check it twice to make sure that everything on your list has been purchased. If not, you need to either go back into the fray and get it or (if the store is out) make immediate plans to stop in another store and pick up the missing item. You do not want to be going on a mad hunt for an open store on Easter morning.
Once you’ve done this, consider meals that can be made relatively trouble free in the crock pot. This means a few minutes of trouble in the morning, for each crock pot treat, and hands free cooking the rest of the day. Barbecue ribs and baked barbecue beans are popular crock pot items that require little prep work and taste great at the end of the day.
If grilling is indeed something that is an important labor day tradition try to do all the marinating and rubs the night before so that the grilling is straightforward and everything is ready to go in the morning. While you’re at it, you may want to toss a few of the veggies you set aside for the veggie tray onto the grill as well for another no fuss strategy and the work only had to be done once.
Another thing you need to do to limit your labor contribution to the Labor Day cooking is recruit help for the process. Invite friends and family that will be joining in the experience to bring specialty dishes that they prepare. This leaves you free from the need to prepare that particular dish and, equally important, from the need to clean up after the dish was made. If you have kids and a husband put them to work for the preparation and the clean up efforts. There is no rule written that says you have to do it all and you shouldn’t be expected to. Make others contribute their fare share and take a moment to have a nice cold glass of tea.
If you do all of the things mentioned above you will find yourself anticipating rather than dreading Labor Day and that your efforts really pay off quite well in the end. In fact, you may have time to hit the hammock for a little while if you’re lucky.