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Celebrate this Labor Day with these simple recipes

Chef Jasper’s Italian Meatball Sliders
Chef Jasper’s Italian Meatball Sliders Associated Grocers

Monday is Labor Day, the day we honor the hard working people of this nation. Fly your flag and teach your children the importance of the American worker.

It’s also time to celebrate the end of summer. Fire up the grill, fill up coolers, gather some local produce, enjoy some homemade ice cream and send summer out in style.

All summer long we have been barbecuing hotdogs, hamburgers, ribs, chicken and pork, so I figured we can wrap up summer and have one last blast. My menu is fairly simple so you will have time to relax this holiday.

Everybody loves a good hamburger but have you ever thought about a meatball slider? Meatball sliders are easy to prepare, very flavorful and I’ve never seen anyone not enjoy this fun summer. I’m also thinking that since everyone enjoys a loaded baked potato, why not do a Loaded Potato Salad. For dessert, there’s nothing better than fresh Missouri peaches soaked in a little Chianti and served over ice creme.

Ah. The perfect ending to summer!

It’s sad to see summer come to an end, but it’s time to move on and prepare for fall. Happy Labor Day my friends. I’m already thinking local apples, cider and pumpkins.

Chef Jasper’s Italian Meatball Sliders

Jasper’s notes: In many southern Italian households, Sunday is meatball day. When I was a child, my brothers and I would steal the meatballs as fast as my mother and grandmother could fry them.

1 pound ground beef

1 pound ground pork

2 eggs

1 cup Romano Cheese

1-1/2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup onion, minced

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 cups plain bread crumbs

1-1/2 cups water or chicken broth

1 cup olive oil

1 pkg slider buns

1 pint marinara sauce

Put beef and pork in a large bowl. Add the eggs, cheese, parsley, minced garlic, onions and salt and pepper. Mix. Add the bread crumbs and blend into the meat mixture. Slowly add the water until the mixture is moist. Shape the meat mixture into 2-1/2- to 3-inch balls.

Fire up the grill. Slightly press the balls to make slider patties and place them on the grill. When the bottom half of the meatball is well browned and slightly crisp, usually about 3-4 minutes, turn it and cook the other side for 5 minutes more.

Place on mini slider buns or egg rolls and top with marinara sauce.

Loaded Potato Salad

An easy potato salad that all the family will enjoy. Any condiments or toppings typically added to a loaded baked potato may be used for this recipe.

3 pounds Russet potatoes

1 cup sour cream

1/ pound sharp cheddar

1/2 pound crisp bacon

1 cup green peas

1/2 cup Vidalia onion, minced

1/2 cup green onions, minced

1/4 teaspoons fresh dill

Gates Bar-B-Q Hot-N-Spicy Seasoning to taste

Peel potatoes. Cook whole potatoes in boiling, unsalted water until tender. Refrigerate until chilled, then chop into one-inch pieces. Shred cheddar cheese. Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl along with the remaining ingredients and thoroughly combine. Chill for 1 hour before serving.

Peaches & Chianti

8 local Missouri Peaches

2 cups Chianti

3/4 cup sugar

1 cinnamon stick

6-8 Cloves

2 tablespoons orange rinds

1 quart homemade vanilla ice cream

Wash the peaches carefully and put them in a small pan. Add red wine until the peaches are half covered. Add sugar. Simmer the peaches 3-4 minutes.

Take out the peaches and slip off the skins. Cut into eights and place in mixing bowl. Add warm red wine and sugar mixture. Toss with orange rind, cinnamon stick and cloves.

Refrigerate 2-3 hours. Serve over homemade vanilla ice cream.

Chef Jasper J. Mirabile Jr. of Jasper’s commands the helm of his family’s 59-year-old restaurant, consistently rated one of Kansas City’s best Italian restaurants. In addition to running the restaurant with his brother, Mirabile is a culinary instructor, founding member of Slow Food Kansas City and a national board member of the American Institute of Wine and Food. He is host to many famous chefs on his weekly radio show “Live! From Jasper’s Kitchen” on KCMO 710 AM and 103.7 FM. He also sells a line of dressings and sauces.

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