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Picnic food for Labor Day weekend

Relax — Labor Day is a holiday in honor of all working people. It gives all of us, whether we work in the home or out of the home, an excuse for a day off.

Labor Day marks the last weekend of summer before the hustle and bustle of another school year begins. Backyard barbecues and picnics are traditional, to wrap up the summer and move into fall. I hope all of you had a wonderful summer!

Backyard barbecues and picnics are traditional, to wrap up summer and start the busy fall season.

■ Chocolate Zucchini Bread

3 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 cups shredded peeled zucchini

2- 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup baking cocoa

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla. Stir in zucchini. Combine dry ingredients; add to zucchini mixture and mix well. Pour into two greased 8 -by 4- by 2-inch loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until bread tests done.

■ Lemon Chicken on the Grill

Serving size: 4

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

In a bowl, mix the lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon mustard, garlic, red bell pepper, salt, and pepper. Set aside 1/4 cup of the mixture to use for basting. Place chicken in the bowl, and marinate at least 20 minutes in the refrigerator. Preheat grill for high heat. Lightly oil grill grate. Drain and discard marinade from the bowl, and place chicken on the grill. Cook six to eight minutes on each side, until juices run clear, basting occasionally with the reserved marinade.

■ Judy’s Macaroni Fruit Salad

1 package small ring macaroni, cooked and drained

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

3 cans of: Fruit cocktail, mandarin oranges and/or pineapple tidbits, reserving the juice

2 cups whipping cream, whipped, sugar to sweeten the whipped cream.

Fresh fruits of your choice such as apples, grapes, cherries, and/or miniature marshmallows, red and green cherries to garnish the top of the salad

Cook ring macaroni; drain. Beat two eggs and add one cup sugar and two tablespoons flour in a glass bowl. Drain canned fruits into a bowl. Set the fruit aside and add the juice to the sugar/flour mixture. Cook the egg/juice/flour mixture until thickened in the microwave so the mixture doesn’t burn or scorch. Pour cooked mixture over cooked macaroni rings and stir well. Cover and store in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, add the drained fruits and fresh fruit. Whip two cups of whipping cream sweetened with a little sugar to taste. Combine the drained fruit, apples, grapes, cherries, or whatever you desire for fruit to the whipped cream. Add miniature marshmallows. Stir well. This makes a large salad and will keep a couple of days in the refrigerator, especially if you do not add bananas.

GARY’S TIP: To clean your cast iron skillet, wipe out excess food with a dry paper towel, then sprinkle inside the pan with salt. Wipe clean with a clean, dry paper towel. The salt acts as an abrasive to scratch off any stuck-on particles of food without using soap and water.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: One reason so many of us are disappointed with life is we keep praying for a gourmet meal instead of just giving thanks for our daily bread.