Rachael Ray’s Best Recipes for Kicking Off Labor Day Weekend

By: Nora Horvath

Labor Day has a way of sneaking up. One day it’s the 4th of July, and then, all of a sudden, it’s Labor Day weekend and you’re faced with prepping for the last cookout of the summer. Thanks to Rachael Ray’s 30-minute meals, it’s incredibly easy to whip up a crowd-pleasing spread at the last minute, just in time for this weekend’s get-togethers and backyard bashes. Break out the grill one last time and celebrate the unofficial end of summer with these top-rated appetizers, mains and sweet bites.

Southwest Turkey Burgers (pictured above) 

With over 200 fan reviews and a 5-star rating, these turkey burgers surely give the usual beef burgers a run for the spotlight. Rachael mixes bell peppers, spicy serranos and hot pepper sauce into the ground turkey meat for bold flavor in each bite.

“When you grill potatoes they will be slightly drier than when you use other methods of cooking,” Rachael notes in her top-rated recipe. “By adding the potatoes to the dressing while they are hot,” she says, you ensure that “they really will soak in the dressing.”

INDIVIDUAL_NO_BAKE_STRAWBERRY_CHEESECAKE

INDIVIDUAL_NO_BAKE_STRAWBERRY_CHEESECAKE

©2012 Food Network

2012 Food Network

It takes just five ingredients — cream cheese, sour cream, strawberries, sugar and vanilla extract — to make the creamy filling for these fuss-free cheesecakes. Rachael opts for store-bought mini graham cracker crusts to save time in the kitchen.

Rachael upgrades mashed potatoes with a BLT mix of bacon, leeks and tomatoes for a bold bite. For the other half of the classic steak-and-potatoes pairing, she grills juicy, spice-marinated meat.

Rachael’s tender shrimp are quickly grilled and served with lemon for a zesty bite.

Photo by: Alice Gao ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Alice Gao, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Rachael adds cumin to a mix of black beans, corn, red bell pepper and onion to give a mild smokiness to this good-for-you side salad. Bonus: You can save time by using frozen corn straight from the freezer, no defrosting required.

No longer do you need an ice cream machine to make ice cream. Simply use a food processor to puree frozen bananas with milk to make a frozen treat that seriously resembles soft-serve ice cream. Rachael tops the banana mix with classic sundae toppings like chocolate syrup and chopped peanuts.

RachaelRay_DevilishChiliCheeseDogs_H

RachaelRay_DevilishChiliCheeseDogs_H

Chef Name: Rachael RayFull Recipe Name: Devilish Chili-Cheese DogsTalent Recipe: Rachael Ray’s Devilish Chili-Cheese Dogs, as seen on Food Network’s 30 Minute MealsFNK Recipe: Project: Foodnetwork.com, SUMMER/APPETIZERS/PASTAShow Name: 30 Minute MealsFood Network / Cooking Channel: Food Network,Chef Name: Rachael Ray Full Recipe Name: Devilish Chili-Cheese Dogs Talent Recipe: Rachael Ray’s Devilish Chili-Cheese Dogs, as seen on Food Network’s 30 Minute Meals FNK Recipe: Project: Foodnetwork.com, SUMMER/APPETIZERS/PASTA Show Name: 30 Minute Meals Food Network / Cooking Channel: Food Network

Photo by: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Renee Comet, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Upgrade hot dogs with a hearty chili topping made from ground sirloin, Worcestershire, tomato sauce and chili powder. Rachael melts cheddar cheese on top for an indulgent finish.

Rachel Ray's Orzo with Feta And Tomatoes On Food Network's 30 Minute Meals

Photo by: Tara Donne ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Tara Donne, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Coating orzo with a feta-butter mixture instead of mayonnaise gives this pasta salad a tangy, salty bite. Finish by tossing with chopped parsley and juicy grape tomatoes to freshen up the creamy, rice-shaped noodles.

Six ears of grilled corn with pieces of lime on a white and blue dish

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Food Network

Tara Donne, Food Network

Rachael makes an infused butter with jalapeno, paprika and lime, then melts it over steamed corn to add both heat and zest.

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