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Southwestern-inspired Labor Day party menu

Claire is an aspiring nutritionist (and soon to be culinary student) with a serious addiction to bacon, wine, goat cheese and online shopping. She is recently married to a social media guru who loves *almost* everything she conjures up. ...

Fun Labor Day menu with a spicy flair

For many, Labor Day weekend is the last official weekend of summer. People flee to the beach, lake and park to host one last soiree, complete with a cooler filled with beer and packages of hot dogs. Celebrate the end of your summer with a little more zest this year by serving this spicy Southwestern-inspired menu in place of boring beef patties.

Now, what goes better with beer than spicy food? These zesty appetizers, snacks and entrees give you a kick in the mouth and a burst of Tex-Mex and Santa Fe flavor. If you're not a big fan of heat, sub bell peppers in place of the jalapeños.

1

Spicy deviled eggs

 Southwestern inspired Labor Day party menu

Serves 12

Ingredients:

  • 12 hard-boiled eggs
  • 6 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon spicy Dijon mustard
  • Dash of salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped jalapeño peppers, seeds removed
  • 4 tablespoons chopped tomatoes

Directions:

  1. Cut the eggs in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the yolks and place in a bowl. Add mayo, mustard, salt, pepper and tomatoes. Stir to combine. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Scoop about 1 teaspoon of filling into each egg half. Top with a sprinkle of chopped jalapeños and pepper.
2

Mexican cornbread

 Southwestern inspired Labor Day party menu

Serves about 12

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 15 ounce can of corn
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • Dash of salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray (we used an 8 x 8-inch pan).
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and applesauce together. Add eggs, one at a time, until fully combined. Stir in corn, jalapeño, cheese, flour, baking powder and cornmeal. Stir to combine.
  3. Pour mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for about 1 hour and 5 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  4. Cut into bite-size pieces and garnish with fresh cilantro.
3

Southwestern chicken salad

 Southwestern inspired Labor Day party menu

Recipe adapted from Weight Watchers

Serves about 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1  (15 ounce) can corn
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 8 ounces cooked chicken breast, chopped into pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Pour all ingredients (except the cheese and cilantro) into a large bowl and stir to combine. Garnish with cheese and cilantro.
4

Peach and jalapeño ice cream

 Southwestern inspired Labor Day party menu

Yields about 4 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 large jalapeño, sliced
  • 1 pound peaches
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1-1/3 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon/lime juice
  • Dash of salt

Directions: 

  1. Slice peaches into thin slices. Put about 2/3 of them into a food processor with the jalapeños, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1/3 cup sugar. Puree until smooth. Add additional jalapeño if not spicy enough. Mix puree, milk and cream. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.
  2. In another bowl, mash the remaining peaches and sugar with a pastry cutter or fork. Add in lemon juice and a dash of salt to taste.
  3. Once cream mixture and peach mixture have chilled, mix together and stir well with a whisk. Pour entire mixture into the freezer canister of an ice-cream maker and turn on, letting it churn for at least 20 minutes, or until thick and creamy.

More zesty recipes

Zesty baked zucchini fries
Homemade zesty turkey meatballs
Zesty crab burger recipe

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