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5 Labor Day Menu Ideas to Help You Celebrate the End of Summer

Don't waste precious vacation time planning your Labor Day menu; let us do it for you! Pick from five themed meals, each including an entree, two sides, dessert and a drink.

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Patriotic: All-American Hamburgers

We do a lot of camping and outdoor cooking. This all-American, homemade hamburger recipe is on our menu more than any other food. —Diane Hixon, Niceville, Florida
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Patriotic: Red, White & Blue Potato Salad

Tossing the cooked potatoes with stock and wine right after you drain them infuses them with flavor. The liquid absorbs like magic. —George Levinthal, Goleta, California
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Patriotic: Red, White, and Blue Summer Salad

Caprese and fresh fruit always remind me of summer. In this salad, I combine traditional Caprese flavors with summer blueberries and peaches. I also add prosciutto for saltiness, creating a balanced, flavor-packed side dish. —Emily Falke, Santa Barbara, California
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Patriotic: All-American Pie

With apples, cherries and blueberries, this patriotic slab pie even tastes American. If the day doesn't call for stars and stripes, feel free to use any shaped cookie cutters you like for this awe-inspiring potluck dessert. —James Schend, Editor, Taste of Home
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Patriotic: Red, White, and Blue Frozen Lemonade

This patriotic drink is as pretty as it is tasty. Layering cherries, blueberries and lemon juice, we created a striped frozen lemonade that sings with Fourth of July pride. —Shawn Carleton, San Diego, California
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Grilled: Spiced Grilled Chicken with Cilantro Lime Butter

This grilled chicken gets a lovely pop of color and flavor from the lime butter—don't skip it! —Diane Halferty, Corpus Christi, Texas
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Grilled: Grilled Veggies with Mustard Vinaigrette

I make this healthy and inviting side dish whenever friends come over for a cookout. The honeyed vinaigrette lets the veggies shine. —Shelly Graver, Lansdale, Pennsylvania
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Grilled: Quick Barbecued Beans

Baked beans are a simple, classic recipe, and cooking them on the grill adds great smoky flavor. —Millie Vickery, Lena, Illinois
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Grilled: Pina Colada Grilled Pineapple

During a cookout with friends, I forgot about dessert. I had a fresh pineapple and coconut, so I improvised. Now I grill pineapple at every cookout. —Josee Lanzi, New Port Richey, Florida
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Grilled: Grilled Lemon Thyme Lemonade

We use our grill for most summer dinners, so we thought, "why not grill the lemonade?" The flavor is surprisingly smooth, with just the right amount of honey and herbs. We call it Thyme for Lemonade. —Susan Jordan, Denver, Colorado
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Quick & Easy: Cobb Salad Sub

When we need a quick meal to share, we turn Cobb salad into a sandwich masterpiece. Sometimes I substitute tortillas for the bread and make wraps instead. —Kimberly Grusendorf, Medina, Ohio
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Quick & Easy: Broccoli Salad Supreme

People can't get enough of the sweet grapes and crunchy broccoli in this colorful salad. I appreciate its make-ahead convenience. —Terri Twyman, Bonanza, Oregon
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Quick & Easy: Lemon Rice Pilaf

No need to buy premade pilaf mix when you can easily make your own in 20 minutes. The lemon zest adds a welcome burst of tang. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Quick & Easy: Homemade Cherry Crisp

Our family loves this pretty, tasty dessert. It uses convenient pie filling, so you can make it in no time—and it takes mere minutes to heat in the microwave. —Laurie Todd, Columbus, Mississippi
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Quick & Easy: Raspberry and Lemon Infused Water

If you're craving raspberry lemonade but are trying to cut back on your sugar intake, this infused water is the perfect substitute.—James Schend, Taste of Home Deputy Editor
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Healthy: California Burger Wraps

I love the way these fresh flavors blend together. It's a snap to throw this together using leftover burgers for a quick, healthy lunch. The burgers can also be served on buns. —Rachelle McCalla, Batesville, Arkansas
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Healthy: Quinoa Tabbouleh

When my mom and sister developed several food allergies, we had to modify many recipes. I substituted quinoa for couscous in this tabbouleh. Now we make quinoa tabbouleh all the time! —Jennifer Klann, Corbett, Oregon
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Healthy: Khmer Pickled Vegetable Salad

I grew up as a missionary kid in Cambodia, and most of my favorite foods have a Southeast Asian background. Locals love eating this pickled salad for breakfast, but I like it as a side for lunch or dinner, especially with chicken satay. —Hannah Heavener, Belton, Texas
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Healthy: Creamy Layered Blueberry Ice Pops

These delicious ice pops can also be made with raspberries or blackberries. The rosemary sprig and lemon zest bring another layer of flavor. The pops are quick, easy, kid-friendly and freezable. —Gloria Bradley, Naperville, Illinois
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Healthy: Pineapple and Mint Infused Water

This pineapple and mint water is like a tropical cocktail but without the sticky-sweet taste. —James Schend, Taste of Home Deputy Editor
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Retro: Tenderloin Steak Diane

Sometimes, I add more mushrooms to this recipe when my son's eating dinner—he loves them, and they are just fantastic with the steak. — Carolyn Turner, Reno, Nevada
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Retro: Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

A wedge salad gets the creamy treatment when topped with blue cheese dressing. Keep the dressing as a topper, or make it a dip for Buffalo wings. —Jenn Smith, East Providence, Rhode Island
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Retro: Cape Cod Corn Pudding

A family member passed along this recipe for corn baked with cheddar and ricotta. Don’t skip the fresh basil—it adds a hint of sweet flavor reminiscent of mint and anise. —Melinda Messer, Benson, North Carolina
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Retro: Creamy Pineapple Fluff Salad

Guests of all ages will gravitate to this traditional “fluff” salad, chock-full of pineapple, marshmallows and cherry bits. —Janice Hensley, Owingsville, Kentucky
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Retro: Thick Strawberry Shakes

Cool off with a thick and rich treat that will remind you of a malt shoppe! Nothing can beat this strawberry shake recipe. —Kathryn Conrad, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Grace Mannon
Grace is a full-time mom with a Master's degree in Food Science. She loves to experiment in the kitchen and writes about her hits (and misses) on her blog, A Southern Grace.

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