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Amy Clark

Amy, also known as Mom Advice, lives in Indiana. She is a writer, wife and mom to two beautiful children. On Snackpicks she shares her easy entertaining tips and advice for all occasions, from holiday parties to day-to-day family meal planning. Amy is also the founder and creator of the Mom Advice community.

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Labor Day Parties

How sad to see summer come to an end, but is there anything more fun or symbolic to the ending of summer than a fun get together outdoors? Labor Day is a fantastic holiday to spend with your loved ones and to segue into that next season with parades, fireworks, celebrations…and of course, a fantastic backyard barbecue.

Labor Day Celebrations Simplified

Sticking with the theme of red, white, and blue, you can have another fantastic patriotic celebration and reuse the leftovers and clearance items from your 4th of July cookouts. I love to break out the flags, red and blue dishes, and serve simple dishes that are fun for the whole family. After all, we have the items already so why not be resourceful?

Keep your meals affordable and stylish by sticking with seasonal fruit and vegetable platters that can be snacked on while your meat is grilling. Keep cooked, cooled, and rinsed pasta in your refrigerator for a fast pasta salad that can be pulled together with fresh ingredients from your garden and tossed with bottled dressings. Lastly, visit your wholesale club to buy fruit, bakery items, crackers, meat, and cheese in bulk to keep costs low. After all, a great barbecue is even better if you can entertain on a budget!

The real key to a fantastic barbecue for me has always been a lot of preparation and a few simple dishes that will make a splash. I love to roll silverware sets in paper napkins and throw them in a basket for easy grabbing. I do as much preparation of dishes ahead of time as I can, where all of the dishes are clearly labeled so everyone can decide what to fill their plates with, the dishwasher is emptied for easy filling of dishes, and plenty of seating is ready for our guests to sit back and enjoy that last lazy day of summer. The more you can prep, the more you can really enjoy the fun when your guests arrive.

Now that you are ready for your party, here are two fun & simple dishes to add to your menu:

pasta-salad-links-large

Pasta Salad with Links

Preparation Time: 30 minutes Total Time to Serve: 150 minutes Servings: 6

Ingredients:

Morningstar Farms® Veggie Sausage Links 
3 cups cooked bow tie pasta or linguine 
1 large tomato, chopped 
3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed 
1/2 cup chopped onion 
3/4 cup zucchini, sliced into strips 
3/4 cup celery, sliced diagonally 
3/4 cup carrots, sliced diagonally 
3/4 cup sliced mushrooms 
1/2 cup reduced calorie Italian salad dressing 
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 
Dash paprika 
Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Prepare Morningstar Farms® Veggie Sausage Links according to package directions. Allow to cool. Dice.

  2. Combine links, vegetables and pasta in large mixing bowl. Add Italian dressing and seasonings. Mix until pasta is well coated. Chill before serving.

Texas Old West Burger

Preparation Time: 25 minutes Total Time to Serve: 25 minutes Servings: 1

texas-old-west-burger-small

Ingredients:

2 1/2-inch-thick slices French Bread (about 2 oz. total
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil 
3/4 cup sliced sweet onion 
1/4 teaspoon bottled minced garlic 
Morningstar Farms® Grillers® Original 
1/8 teaspoon pepper 
2 tablespoons chopped tomato 
1 tablespoon fat-free ranch salad dressing

Directions:

  1. In large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook bread over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly toasted, turning once. Remove from skillet. Set aside
  2. Add oil to same skillet. Brush oil over skillet bottom. Add onion. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat for 15 to 18 minutes or until onion is very tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic. Cook over medium heat, covered, for 4 to 6 minutes or until onion begins to brown, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  3. Meanwhile, cook Morningstar Farms® Grillers® Original veggie burger according to package directions.
  4. Top one slice of toast with burger. Sprinkle with pepper. Add onion mixture, tomato, salad dressing and remaining toast.

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