Summer Soiree: Cooking Channel's Ultimate Labor Day Menu

House Number 0066082F1

House Number 0066082F1

Grilled Skirt Steak. Daisy Martinez Viva Daisy VD-0102

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Whether you're celebrating a three-day weekend, the start of the school year or the (hopeful) end of humidity for the year, Labor Day weekend is the perfect reason to host a final backyard party. Stumped on what to serve? Here are Cooking Channel's best-ever summer recipes to help you wrap up the season with a barbecued, burger-packed bang.

To Drink:

Keep it cool with Cooking Channel’s classic margarita recipe or spike the classic tequila-lime mixture with cucumber and jalapeno.

If you're laying off the tequila, try a raspberry mojito, a blueberry-ginger mojito or nonalcoholic berry lemonade that you can spike with sparkling wine if you prefer.

For the Main Course:

Gather the group around for this chimichurri-topped grilled skirt steak (pictured at top). Planning to cook burgers? Chuck's super-flavored burger recipe relies on bacon, homemade ranch and patties packed with cubed raclette cheese.

If you don't have a grill at hand, make Chuck's insanely crisp buttermilk fried chicken or bust out the slow-cooker for Kelsey's five-star shredded pork.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese; Alton Brown

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

As Sides:

These brilliant parmesan-crusted zucchini crisps are the perfect summery substitute for fries. Not only are they healthy, they'll use up that glut of green vegetables at markets (and most home gardens) this month.

Potato salad has never tasted better than this loaded baked potato salad recipe, which folds the classic toppings for a winter baked potato — bacon, cheddar, sour cream, scallions — into chilled summer splendor. Speaking of baked goods, macaroni and cheese is an instant crowd-pleaser, particularly when it's Alton's sharp 5-star batch (pictured above).

For Dessert:

Looking to shake up the usual pie-and-ice-cream routine? Try Kelsey's fruit pizza (served in a sugar cookie crust) with any fresh, seasonal fruit, or let little ones decorate their slice with their favorites. No-bake strawberry cheesecake is another cool, eye-catching finale.

For portable sweets, try frozen peanut butter pie pops or these no-campfire-needed s'mores bars.

More Labor Day Ideas from Friends and Family:
Dishing with Divya: Baked Vegetable Sacks
Weelicious: Heirloom Tomato Salad

Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Peach and Blueberry Baked Fruit Pizza

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