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Happy Labor Day

In a couple days, we will once again be celebrating “Labor Day” as we always do but this year with some restrictions. This year, we will be celebrating by wearing masks, keeping our distances from others and attending limited people gatherings. Unfortunately, of course, we have the ones that do not worry about others and do not follow the medical suggestions and rules possibly placing others in danger.

For most of us, Labor Day means the end of summer vacations, the beginning of school and football season and back to school sales at the stores.

Labor Day also means the last long weekend to celebrate with cook outs, parades, BBQs or take a mini-vacation before settling down for the beginning of the school year and the beginning of the summer coming to an end and the start of fall.

However the true meaning of “Labor Day” has to do mainly with the working people and a celebration for all workers. The first Labor Day started in New York City in 1882 when several thousand workers paraded down the streets of the city to recognize and honor the working people and new and better working conditions. The industrial revolution era was beginning and several years later the United States Congress declared Labor Day a National holiday. Now we always celebrate the holiday on the first Monday in September, which provides a long weekend for the working people.

Unfortunately, our society today is more concerned with making money and neglect closing stores to enable people to enjoy time with their families and friends.

Labor Day: What does it mean to you and how has it changed since you were a child? I personally have been a U.S. citizen and lived in America for 55 years and I can remember when stores would close for holidays and parks would be packed with family picnics – kids swimming and playing games outside and families visiting loved ones.

This year, the virus is changing many things we usually do and places we use to go. Hopefully, next year the situations we have today will have come to an end and our country can be back on the road to normality. Enjoy the Labor Day weekend and stay safe!

Below are some recipes for your weekend BBQs.

Till next week!

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BARBECUED MARINATED CHICKEN BREASTS

8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root or 1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon cumin

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon lemon juice

8 teaspoons butter

Place chicken breasts in a single layer in a glass or ceramic pan. In a mixing bowl, combine garlic, ginger, pepper, cumin, curry powder and oregano. Blend in soy sauce, oil and lemon juice. Spread mixture over chicken breasts, coating each piece well. Cover and refrigerate 3-8 hours or overnight. Drain meat, then grill 5 minutes on each side, basting frequently. When nearly done, top each piece of meat with a teaspoon of butter.

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MARINATED CHICKEN BREASTS

1-3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Pound chicken between sheets of plastic wrap until it is 1/2-inch thick. Place flattened chicken in a shallow glass bowl in a single layer. In a small bowl, combine oil, vinegar, honey, soy sauce, garlic, parsley and pepper. Pour over chicken. Marinade for 3-8 hours. Grill until tender, about 5 minutes per side. After removing from grill, allow to stand for 10 minutes before slicing.

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SIZZLIN’ CHICKEN SKEWERS

1/3 cup hot water

1/4 cup barbecue sauce

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons honey Dijon mustard

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces

1 red pepper, cut into chunks

1 yellow pepper, cut into chunks

2 15-ounce cans whole potatoes

1 20-ounce can pineapple chunks

1 small zucchini, cut into chunks

In a small mixing bowl, combine first 5 ingredients. Brush small amount onto chicken pieces, enough to cover. Let stand 1 1/2 hours. Alternate chicken and vegetables on skewers and brush with remaining sauce. Place skewers on the grill or under the broiler for approximately 6 minutes. Then and grill or broil another 6 minutes.

***

CURRIED COCONUT CHICKEN

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breast halves

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 onion, chopped

1 handful cilantro, chopped

3 tablespoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon garam masala mix

1/3 cup coconut milk

salt to taste

pepper to taste

Spread chicken thighs or breasts flat. Thread 2 skewers diagonally through each thigh or breast to form a cross. Place in baking pan with sides. In blender, combine garlic, ginger, onion, cilantro, fish sauce, masala mix and coconut milk. Pour over chicken. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 6 hours. Grill over medium hot coals, for 5 minutes per side or until chicken is cooked. Or do the chicken in broiler for 5 minutes per side.

Garam Masala Mix

3 tablespoons cardamon pods

2 1/2 tablespoons cumin seeds

2 tablespoons coriander seeds

1 1/2 tablespoons black peppercorns

1 tablespoon whole cloves

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Lightly crush cardamom pods. Discard skins and reserve seeds. Place a dry cast iron skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add cardamom seeds, cumin, coriander, peppercorns and cloves. Toast by shaking the pan until the spices are dark and aromatic, about 5 minutes. Remove spices from pan. Cool. Crust toasted spices to a powder. Add cinnamon and nutmeg.

***

Kiki Angelos is a food columnist for the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

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