Tasty, Must Try Labor Day Recipes Inspired By America’s Workers

Although most of us these days think of Labor Day Weekend as something of a time for one last outdoor party to celebrate the end of another summer, it is of course really a holiday that was decreed a federal holiday in 1894 to celebrate the economic and social contributions of workers and to reward them with an extra day off.

Although the real meaning of the final holiday of summer has got a little lost over the years, you can still incorporate the theme in your celebrations. One great way to do that is try out one of these great recipes that were created with hardworking Americans in mind:

fire station meatloafSeattle Fire Station 25 Meatloaf

A firefighter’s choice because it tastes as great cold as it does hot (as often a firehouse meal is interrupted for hours when duty calls) this meatloaf is robust and tasty without being too heavy for summertime eating.


1 pound bacon, sliced into1 inch pieces
2 onions, chopped
5 lbs ground beef
5 lbs spicy ground pork sausage
3 (10 ounce) packages chopped spinach , thawed, drained and squeezed dry
3 (4 ounce) cans sliced black olives, drained
3 cups pistachio nuts, chopped
1 cup ketchup
3 eggs
1 packet meatloaf seasoning mix
1 lb pepper jack cheese, cubed

Hows it’s Done

Preheat the oven to 350F. Heat an oiled skillet over a medium flame, add bacon pieces and onions and cook until the bacon is crispy and the onions are translucent. Drain grease and set aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl combine ground beef, pork sausage, bacon and onions, spinach, olives, pistachio nuts, 1 cup of ketchup, eggs, and meatloaf seasoning and stir until well combined. Add mixture to a meatloaf tin and place cheese cubes by poking them into the top of the meatloaf and then re-covering them. Bake for 90 minutes of until the internal temperature of the meatloaf is 180 degrees F.

marinated chicken thighsFactory Workers Chicken

For many grillmasters, the Labor Day weekend is their last chance to don their barbecue chef’s apron and show off their stuff before the grill is packed away for the season.

This marinated chicken dish was a favorite with factory workers at the turn of the last century as it is tasty and filling but uses inexpensive, easy to find ingredients, and, like the meatloaf is still delicious when eaten cold.


2 pounds chicken thighs
1 (16 ounce) bottle zesty Italian dressing
1 (16 ounce) jar salsa

How it’s Done

To marinate the chicken thighs arrange them in a glass dish. Pour dressing and salsa over them, remembering to turn them all to properly coat. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and refrigerate for a minimum of three hours (overnight is best though.)

When you are ready to grill, remove chicken piece by piece, baste again with any remaining marinade, and grill for 15 minutes or until the juices run clear.

mail carriers cookiesMinnesota Mail Carrier’s Cookies

These originally cookies were created as gifts for hardworking mailmen and women, but they also make the perfect sweet treat at a Labor Day barbecue.


1 cup shortening
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons warm water
3 eggs
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

How it’s Done

Preheat the oven to 400F. Dissolve the baking soda in the warm water. In a large bowl C-cream the shortening with the brown sugar until the mixture is light in color. Stir in the eggs, baking soda mixture, coconut, oatmeal, dates or raisins, nuts and flour.

Drop mixture onto a greased baking sheet in teaspoon sized dollops and then bake for ten minutes.

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