Summer Recipes to Make RIGHT NOW (aka The Labor Day Roundup)

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top-ten-recipes-for-labor-dayThis summer has gone by way too fast, and I’m a little panicky.

It feels like just yesterday that I was making Memorial Day jello shots and planning my salad talk, and all of a sudden I’m being bombarded with pumpkin spice lattes, flannel, and fall footwear trends. God knows I love gourd season and a good pair of riding boots, but can everyone calm the eff down for a hot second? It’s still summer, dammit!

I mean, we’ve got almost a full week before Labor Day, and according to my Google research, the first official day of fall isn’t until September 22. That means I definitely have time to take several more naps in the sun, knock another book off my summer reading list (so far I’ve only completed Chelsea Handler’s super intellectual Uganda Be Kidding Me), and finish off all the rosé in the land. Right?!

I think what I’m most stressed about is the impending loss of summer produce. The thought of giving up perfect peaches, sweet corn, tomatoes, cherries, and even figs makes me die a little inside, so you best believe I’m going to be taking full advantage of these seasonal gems over the next few weeks. (Prepare yourselves.)

In case you also share my love of summer and its kickass produce (let’s be real, who doesn’t?), I’ve compiled a list of my favorite summer recipes that you should make as soon as humanly possible. For the record, all of the below are 100% idiot-proof, and they’d be excellent choices for your Labor Day weekend festivities. You’re welcome.

The Top 10 Summer Recipes To Make Right Now:

Caprese-Quinoa-Bake-With-Basil-and-Balsamic1. Caprese Quinoa Bake. Dear God. Still the best/prettiest thing I made this season. If you haven’t tried it yet, please grab some sexy-looking tomatoes and get busy with this glorious summer casserole immediately. (I have an inexplicable urge to break into a spirited rendition of “Simply The Best” right now…)

Cilantro-Lime-Chicken-with-Strawberry-Jalapeno-Salsa-82. Cilantro-Lime Grilled Chicken with Strawberry-Jalapeño SalsaTender, marinated chicken is always a crowd-pleaser, but topped with sweet and spicy strawberry salsa? SUMMER BLISS. In case you need more convincing, this fabulously light, fresh meal comes together in half an hour, and it can be served in a variety of festive ways. (Hot! Cold! Tacos! Over salad! Quesadillas!) Booyah.

Ratatouille-Tartines-with-burrata-and-honey-balsamic-drizzle-33. Summer Ratatouille Tartines with Burrata and Honey-Balasamic Drizzle. Heaven on toast. That is all.

Flatbread-with-fresh-figs-prosciutto-and-goat-cheese4. Flatbread with Fresh Figs, Prosciutto and Goat CheeseFresh figs are one of summer’s most underrated bounties, and you need to experience their wonders before it’s too late!!! (Are you sensing my urgency/peer pressure???) But seriously, if you enjoy compliments even half as much as I do, you should definitely serve this show-stopping flatbread as an appetizer or light meal at all of your Labor Day weekend soirées. It also involves bacon.

dude-diet-chicken-cutlets-and-zucchini-pasta-with-cherry-tomatoes-2-25. Dude Diet Chicken Cutlets with Zucchini Pasta and Cherry Tomatoes. These juicy baked chicken cutlets over lightly sautéed zucchini pasta with blistered cherry tomatoes are a wonderland of flavor and texture. Satisfying summer comfort food at it’s finest, friends. Dude Diet 4eva.

Best-Summer-Grilling-Recipes-Grilled-Eggplant-with-Fresh-Mozzarella-Tomatoes-and-Basil-Vinaigrette6. Grilled Eggplant with Fresh Mozzarella, Tomatoes and Basil VinaigretteThis is the recipe that made me an eggplant convert, folks. Each slice literally melts in your mouth, and when you add some creamy mozzarella, juicy tomatoes, and a bright herbal dressing into the mix, you’ve got an insanely flavorful eggplant miracle on your hands. Try it, you’ll like it. (Any leftovers should be used to make fancy eggplant grilled cheese. Trust me.)

Barbecue-Flank-Steak-Tacos-with-Corn-Peach-Salsa-57. Fiery Barbecue Flank Steak Tacos with “Summer Mess” SalsaI know I just posted these bad boys, but I really, really want you to make them while you still have access to fresh summer sweet corn, peaches and cherry tomatoes, okay? If you weren’t planning on hosting a labor day fiesta, you should probably reconsider so that you and yours can taste the magic. Everyone love tacos. And margaritas. (Duh.)

naked-lobster-rolls-recipe8. Naked Lobster Rolls. Summer isn’t summer unless you’ve had at least one lobster roll, people. This version is made with herb-infused butter instead of the devil’s condiment (aka mayonnaise), and each bite is like a millions tiny angel kisses on your tongue. Treat yo’self.

Blueberry-Mojito-Royale-with-Champagne-step-209. Blueberry Mojito Royal. Because you’re going to need some booze to wash down all the aforementioned deliciousness, and this is the fanciest of summer sips.

Grilled-Peach-Crisp-Sundaes-3 10. Grilled Peach Crisp Sundaes with Cinnamon-Honey DrizzleNo summer meal is complete without some sort of fruit and ice cream, and these smoky-sweet sundaes are a seasonal revelation. Plus, they’re gluten-free, vegan-friendly, and can be made in like five minutes, so they’re the ideal dessert for fuss-free entertaining. Sundae funday for everyone!

Embrace the dog days of summer, friends. May your celebrations be filled with sunshine, happiness, and lots of treats.

I’m thrilled to be a part of Food Network’s Summer Soirée this week. For more Labor Day recipe inspiration, check out the awesome blogs below:

Feed Me Phoebe: Hot Crab Dip with Jalapenos and Scallions
The Heritage Cook: Four Sauces Designed for Grilled Foods (Gluten-Free)
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Grilled Brined Chicken with Homemade Barbecue Sauce
Virtually Homemade: Roasted Summer Vegetables with Lemon Tahini Dressing
Weelicious: Heirloom Tomato Salad
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Peach and Blueberry Baked Fruit Pizza
Devour: Cooking Channel’s Ultimate Labor Day Party Menu
Dishin & Dishes: Grilled Chicken with Board Sauce
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Heirloom Tomatoes and Two Rice Salad
Taste With The Eyes: “End of Summer Rolls” Caprese-Style
FN Dish: Day-Off Desserts for Labor Day

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  1. Stephanie Lovell Thurlow on August 26, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    With creative recipes like these it’s no wonder ‘Dude” fell head over heels for you! I can not wait to get home and fix these so my man can gaze at me lovingly over a plate of Fiery Flank Steak tacos w/ “Summer Mess” salsa. I thank you.

    • Serena_Wolf on August 27, 2014 at 8:27 am

      Thank YOU, Stephanie! I hope you have a very romantic taco date with your man.

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