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Recipes for a food-filled holiday weekend

Stuffed avocado

Cousin Ben celebrates his birthday this weekend -- and Brazil celebrates its own independence-from-Portugal day on September 7 -- so we're planning a festive birthday dinner for Ben and for Brazil at the Pousada do Capão.

If we were at home in Rhode Island this weekend, we'd be cooking up a festive meal, too. Unofficially, Labor Day weekend marks the end of "the season", and it's an all-out, traditional American feast.

Out come the Barbecue Bibles, the smokers, the chimney lighters. Hundreds of thousands of hamburgers sizzle on grills everywhere. Chickens cook under bricks, alongside hot dogs and brats, ears of corn and onion rings, and racks of ribs basted with sweet, smoky sauce.

Cole slaw and potato salad, macaroni and pasta salad, are de rigeur, and in New England, there are beans. Always beans.

If you're still working on your holiday menu, try some of these favorite recipes from The Perfect Pantry, each updated with a one-page, printer-friendly version.

Happy Labor Day, happy Dia da Independência, and happy birthday to Ben!

Slowr oasted tomato bruschetta

Salsa and shrimp stuffed avocado
Empanadas filled with chicken picadillo
Goat cheese and basil bruschetta
Cucumbers with peanut dipping sauce
Muhammara (walnut and pomegranate spread)
Traditional hummus
No-cook summer antipasto
Chicken satay

Tandoori lamb

Tequila-lime flank steak with cherry tomato salsa
Chicken shish kabob
Smoky beef ribs
New England shrimp boil
Tandoori-spiced grilled lamb
Pork tenderloin with lavender grilled peaches
Grilled chili-lime-ponzu chicken
Chicken with mango barbecue sauce
Spicy skirt steak

Cannellini vinaigrette

Side dishes
Cucumber ribbon salad
Potatoes with aioli dressing
Cannellini vinaigrette
Roasted vegetables with yogurt and tomato sauce
Quinoa salad with tomatoes, feta and parsley
Beet and fennel salad
Cold curried orzo
Bread salad with roasted tomato vinaigrette
Asian broccoli slaw
Fennel, pear and olive salad

Fruit whiz

Rum raisin pear pie
Chocolate spice cookies
Maple nut cookies
White chocolate brownies
Spice cake
Grilled fruit with cardamom yogurt
As-American-as apple pie
Strawberry fruit whiz

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I've been thinking about a menu for the past few days and so this is very helpful. All I know for sure at this point is that the orzo is a definite.....the rest is still in a state of flux HAHA

Honestly, it could be a full-time job trying all these fabulous recipes! There are so many I want to try I just don't know where to begin. Maybe Goat Cheese and Basil Bruschetta? Yum... thanks!

what a great "round up" of recipes!
ohhhhh the picture of the oven-dried tomatoes on the goat cheese and basil bruschetta...truly those are my new obsession.

Can't wait to see how you celebrated Independence Day in Brazil!

Great list! I'm trying to imagine the wonderful things you must be eating in Brazil!

Wow all your recipes look so good its hard to decide which ones to make. I've might have to try making Empanadas with Chicken Picadillo.

Just know you are having a wonderful time! Very colorful foods, they look delicious!

Oooh, yummy. I'll be right over!

You can't go wrong with avacado! Looks delicious.

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