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Best Labor Day Menu Ideas and Recipes

Updated on August 1, 2015
Fried catfish with rice and cornbread.
Fried catfish with rice and cornbread. | Source

New Holiday Structure, Older Recipes Still Great!

This menu of good dishes for celebrating Labor Day in America were attached to my original Hub extolling the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon.

Unfortunately, the Jerry Lewis Telethon has been gone since 2011, even though Jerry was willing to continue past his 60 years of free work and constant effort to help cure Muscular Dystrophy and all its related disorders. Significant progress was made in those 60 years, with some viable treatments developed.

Jerry is still alive and performing as of this writing and we can still enjoy these cookout recipes to use on Labor Day Weekend.

As for donations, mine go to productive companies like Fate Therapeutics and New Work In Muscular Dystrophy and private companies in America that sponsor aerospace projects to help create new compounds in zero-gravity in order to treat diseases and conditions.

The Beginnings of Labor Day in America

Labor Day Recipes: Catfish BBQ

The dishes offered below are some of my favorite recipes for Labor Day, or for any other picnic or cookout I have during the summers in America.

The recipes include

  • BBQ Catfish,
  • Chicken BBQ,
  • Orange and Almond Rice - An organic foods recipe.
  • Grilled Lime Corn,
  • Grilled Corn Salad,
  • Tomato and Pasta Salad,
  • Homemade Fudgecicles.

Many of the recipes are a healthy version of each dish as well.

The Hub includes a video presentation of the history of the Holiday we call Labor Day and for which we enjoy a long weekend away from work over the first Monday in September each year.

In addition, some film is presented by the US National Archives from an exhibit they call The Way We Worked, set to the music of Ray Charles' rendition of That Lucky Old Sun Just Rolls Along. See videos below.

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 14 min
Ready in: 29 min
Yields: Six delicious servings of a whole fish each.

Rate our recipe for Catfish BBQ.

5 stars from 1 rating of Catfish BBQ

Ray Charles Performs "That Lucky Old Sun Just Rolls Along."

National Archives: The Way We Worked

Southern Barbecue Catfish

Serves 6


  • 6 Catfish, each about a pound (16 ounces) in weight
  • 1/8 tsp Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Pepper
  • 2 T Sugar (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 C White Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 C Tomato Catsup - Apple butter or Peach Butter makes a very tasty variation
  • 1/2 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil or a light vegetable oil like an Asian 3-in-1.


  • If not already done at the fish market, clean, skin and fillet your catfish.
  • Combine all of your remaining ingredients in a large bowl and stir.
  • Baste each of your carfish with the BBQ Sauce you just made in the bowl.
  • Put your catfish in a hinged fish basket that has been sprayed with BBQ grill cooking spray.
  • Put catfish in basket on the grill about 3 inches from coals.

Cook catfish for about 7 minutes on each side, until the meat flakes off the bone easily. Don't overcook, and baste with the BBQ Sauce often during grilling.

Virginia Farm Bureau: Chef Maxwell's Labor Day BBQ Chicken

An Early Guest

I wonder if he would prefer Catfish or Chicken?
I wonder if he would prefer Catfish or Chicken? | Source

Orange and Almond Rice - An Organic Recipe

Serves 6 - 8


  • 1 Tbsp. Organic butter
  • 2 Cups Organic orange juice
  • 1 Cup Spring water
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 1/2 Cups raw long-grain rice, especially brown rice
  • 1/2 Cup sliced, blanched almonds
  • ¼ Cup chopped parsley


  • Into a large pot over medium-high heat, place butter, orange juice, water, salt, and rice.
  • Stir contents of the pot and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring a few times more.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot.
  • Cook the contents without removing the lid for 35-45 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is fluffy. Begin checking the contents at the 35-minute point, but do not stir the pot.
  • Stir in the almonds and parsley into your rice and serve.

Outdoor Grilled Lime Corn

Serves 4 - Double the recipe for a party of 8.


  • 1 Cup Real Mayonnaise or a substitute with low fat, low calories
  • 2 Whole Limes for juice
  • Salt to taste
  • Cayenne Pepper to taste
  • 4 Fresh Ears of corn
  • 1 Stick of butter or margarine, melted


  • Preheat a gas/electric grill or an indoor counter-top grill to medium-high heat or start the coals outside in a charcoal grill.
  • Combine mayonnaise and lime juice in a small bowl.
  • Season the mayo sauce with salt and cayenne pepper, to taste. Save half of this in another dish for after grilling.
  • Brush each ear of corn lightly with the other half of the mayo sauce, which you are using for the grill.
  • Grill the corn until golden brown, turning often & brushing with butter on each turn.
  • Once the corn is done, brush with the remaining sauce and serve.

Easy Avocado Roasted Corn Bean Salad by Pepper Ferguson

Cookout Tomato & Pasta Salad

Serves 4 to 6


  • 10 or 12 Plum tomatoes or about 1.5 - 2 pounds total
  • 2 Cus of fresh basil leaves
  • 2 Ounces finely crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons white-wine or red-wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Pound medium-sized pasta


  • Wash the tomatoes and pat dry.
  • Quarter the tomatoes and place them into a mixing bowl.
  • Toss the tomatoes with the basil leaves, blue cheese, oil, and vinegar and then season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Refrigerate the bowl and let marinate 45 minutes or overnight.
  • At serving time, cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain it, and add to a mixing bowl while warm.
  • Add the tomato salad and toss well.
  • Let the dish rest at room temperature for 15 minutes and serve.

Fudgesicles or Fudge Pops to Make at Home

Makes 8 Popsicle sized fudge pops with a Popsicle freezer tray, or makes 4 individual dessert cup servings. Either way makes a good treat.


  • 1 Small Box of any sugar-free instant pudding mix like chocolate, chocolate mint, cholocate fudge, mocha, or your favorite flavor.
  • 2 Cups Soy Milk or Skim Milk
  • 4 Tablespoons of powdered baking cocoa like Hershey or Bakers


  • Take out a Popsicle freezer tray or use individual serving cups or even a couple of clean ice cube trays.
  • Mix all of the ingredients together and pour the pudding mixture into whatever serving containers you will use.
  • Freeze the fudge pop several hours or overnight.

© 2014 Patty Inglish MS


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