As the More is More Mom®, I am all about planning a…..more fabulous Labor Day party menu! When celebrating the seasons with your favorite family and friends, there is nothing better than good company, good food, good music, good wine and good times. Our party theme was a huge influence in developing the perfect party menu, An All American Picnic:
- Stacked BLT Salad
- Summer’s Bounty Pasta Salad
- Herb Marinated Beef Tenderloin
I love to entertain a crowd (what’s the difference if you have 2 or 20? Just a little extra chopping…..). I even hoard friends. Organization is always imperative when entertaining, but never more so than when you have a dozen (or so) hungry people on your hands. Experimenting on a crowd is not typically advised. Even I must concede that it makes more sense to leave the complicated, first time, recipes for another occasion. Streamlined preparation is the only way to go.
The reason that I developed this particular menu, is that it will largely be prepared in advance, allowing me precious party moments with my friends.
Herb Marinated Beef Tenderloin:
I find that the flavors have the best opportunity to blend together the longer the meat sits in the marinade. You’ll need 4-24 hours.
In a large mixing bowl, combine;
1½ cups of olive oil
8 large garlic cloves minced (the more the merrier)
2 Tbsp rosemary
1 ½ tsp Thyme
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp cracked black pepper (kick it)
1 Tbsp salt
Mix well and transfer to a large, 2 gallon re-sealable baggie (such as a Hefty)
Add beef tenderloin (which when folded in half, will be an odd shape of bending and twisting)
Refrigerate until ready to cook.
As always, you have two options.
One – you can roast at 350° for approximately 20-30 minutes (Until an instant read thermometer registers 125° for rare)
Two – heat your grill to medium (425-450°), cook for approximately 20-30 minutes (Until an instant read thermometer registers 125° for rare)
Allow meat to rest on a cutting board for about 10-15 minutes, slice and serve.
Summer’s Bounty Pasta Salad:
The longer the flavors have to get to know each other, the better the salad will be.
This recipe serves 4-6. If you have any left over’s, you’ll love it served cold, or warmed up in the microwave.
In a small bowl, combine;
3 Tbsp finely chopped shallot
1 ½ Tbsp white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
1 ½ Tbsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cracked, black pepper
¼ cup olive oil
3 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
Refrigerate and set aside until ready to use.
In a large pot, bring water to a boil, add;
8 oz dried pasta, such as penne or mostaccioli (I’m a super fan of Barilla)
Cook according to directions
Drain and transfer to a large bowl
In a large non stick skillet, heat 1 ½ Tbsp olive oil
8 cloves of minced garlic
Cook for approximately 30 seconds, until the garlic becomes fragrant
2 cups zucchini, trimmed and cut into match stick size slivers (one medium zucchini)
Cook for about 1 minute
8 ounces of sugar snap peas, removing the strings
Cook for approximately 30 seconds
2 cups of grape tomatoes halved
Cook until the tomatoes start to soften, approximately 30-60 seconds
Veggie mixture to the pasta bowl and mix
Add the dressing and mix well
Transfer to a large bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, possibly the following day.
Sprinkle with finely shredded cheese…Asiago, parmesan or cheddar would be great.
I live to be ready to go, well before party time….
Stacked BLT Salad:
This salad is hearty and beautiful; a perfect compliment to your beef tenderloin and pasta salad. Everything can be prepared prior to your guest’s arrival. It will just need to be assembled, quick like lightening, when you are ready to serve.
Note: The dressing recipe serves approximately 6
You know I am a fan of baking it in the oven on 350°, for 20-30 minutes, on a foil lined, lipped baking sheet. Quick and easy clean up.
You will want one slice of bacon per stacked salad.
Pre-heat grill to medium (I hope you have plenty of charcoal or gas because everything is hitting the grill top for that delicious, smoky flavor).
For each individual serving, you will need one slice each of;
Beef steak tomato (cored and cut in half. The rounded side will sit on the bottom for stacking and assembly purposes)
1/2 “ thick baguette bread
For the dressing, you will need to grill;
1 bunch of scallions
Brush both sides of the following with olive oil;
Baguette bread slices
Place on the grill, turning once.
Be aware not to over cook, lest your tomatoes get mushy and your bread charred (I’ve learned that the hard way)
Set aside to cool.
Rub garlic clove over the tops and bottoms of baguette bread
Store in an airtight container
In a large bowl combine;
Finely chopped grilled scallions
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 ½ Tbsp white wine vinegar, mixed with 1 tsp sugar
1 large head of romaine lettuce, shredded
The beauty here is that you can get all of your ingredients prepared and partially assembled prior to the arrival of your guests. The final assembly will take just a moment if you are ultra prepared.
On a foil lined baking sheet, lay out;
All of your beefsteak tomato halves
Top with dressing with shredded lettuce.
On the tray;
Lay out small skewers, enough for each stack to have one
Lay out one bacon slice, halved, per stack
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (I would refrain from adding the bread because the dressing mixture would really make it all rather soggy)
Top tomato and dressing mixture with a slice of baguette bread
Add another dollop of dressing to baguette
Top with bacon
Run a skewer through each salad for stability
You are ready to serve a beautiful meal to all of your favorite family and friends.
Tomorrow, I will be sharing a few lovely appetizers to get your party started!