Labor Day Recipes & Happy Birthday JerseyBites

Labor Day marks a very special anniversary for JerseyBites. It was on Labor Day in 2007, that I started a blog to hold all of my favorite recipes. 5 years, over 35 contributors and  1000 + posts later, here we are, at our 5th anniversary. I just want to thank all of our wonderful writers and loyal readers. I am humbled daily by the passion exhibited over JerseyBites. I know my involvement with this site and the community of foodies who make it so special has changed my life. I actually can’t imagine what my world would look like without it, so you can count on many more years to come. From everyone here at JerseyBites, we wish you a wonderful, relaxing and delicious Labor Day weekend.  Deb Smith, Executive Editor

World’s Easiest Barbeque Ribs – Veronique Deblois, Morris County

  • 2 Racks baby back ribs, each about 2 pounds, back membrane removed
  • Tangy Dry Spice Rub – or store-bought rub
  • World’s Best BBQ Sauce, Ever – using about a cup, or store-bought BBQ sauce
  • Hickory wood chips, soaked in water


  1. Place charcoal on one side of the grill and light up. If using a gas grill, ensure one area is on medium-high and another on low. Temperature should be around 400 degrees.
  2. Cut each rack in two, down the middle. Sprinkle the rub generously over the pork and massage it in.
  3. Place a 24” long double layer of aluminum foil on a work surface and put a half rack on it.  Wrap the rack well with the foil. Repeat with three remaining racks.
  4. Put the wrapped ribs on the grill over the area with no coals or over the low heat on a gas grill. Cook for an hour with the closed lid, turning twice. Ensure not to pierce the foil.
  5. Remove the ribs from the grill and set aside. Drain the wood chips and place directly on the coals, or in the gas grill basket. Close the lid to build smoke for 5 minutes.
  6. Take the ribs out of the foil packets and place on a platter.  Using a brush, slather the ribs liberally with BBQ sauce.
  7. Place the ribs on the grill, bone side down, and cook for 10-15 minutes, turning once and basting the second side. Let the ribs rest for 5 minutes then cut into individual ribs. Serve with additional BBQ sauce, if desired.

Makes 4 appetizer servings or 2 entrée servings.

Grammy’s Stuffed Clams – Christine Van Arsdalen (Somerset County)

Approximately 40 (Littleneck) clams – enough to make a pint, chopped

Steam clams open and remove from shells.  Save broth/juice and set aside. Clean clam shells and keep to stuff later.

Dice   —  1 cup onion

1/2 cup celery

–  1 cup of Italian bread crumbs

– 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

– Paprika (to sprinkle on top)

*  In a medium saucepan melt 1/4 lb. butter.  Add onion and sautee
until golden.  Add celery and 1/2 tsp of garlic powder.  Add freshly
ground peper. Salt to taste but probably does not need any.  Add
minced clams and cook for 5 minutes.   Add bread crumbs slowly until
mixture thickens and moisture is absorbed. Next add 1/4 cup parmesan
cheese and cook 2 more minutes.

Fill cleaned clam shells.  Sprinkle top of mixture with paprika. Bake
in 400 degree oven for 7 – 10 minutes. Serve while still warm.

Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce – Melissa Beveridge (Monmouth County)

This summer I’ve found myself with an excess of peaches. My sweet tooth is waning so I decided to figure out a way to enjoy all these New Jersey peaches in a savory way. I’ve been making large batches of this BBQ sauce and sharing it with my local farmers to rave reviews. Even better, it really does go with everything and it’s super easy to make. Be sure to make extra, you’ll thank me later!

Sweet and Spicy Peach BBQ Sauce

1 pound peaches, cored, and cubed
1 tablespoon chiles in adobo
1 tablespoon honey
¼ cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
salt and pepper

–  Heat a saucepan to medium and put all ingredients in. Stir and let simmer for 30 minutes on  low heat.
– Once cooked through, you can either put the mixture into a food processor for a creamy bbq sauce or leave it chunky. (I have large batches of both. I use the creamy BBQ sauce as a baster and then the chunky BBQ sauce as a topper).
– Goes great with grilled pork chops, ribs, pulled pork, and chicken.

Lavender Lemonade Heidi Raker (Bergen County)

¼ cup dried organic lavender
12 lemons, preferably organic and very well washed
8 cups water, 2 cups boiling, rest cold
½ cup sugar
½ cup maple syrup or honey
plenty of ice

1. Place lavender in a heat proof bowl and cover with two cups boiling water; let steep 10 minutes, drain and reserve liquid
2. Zest 4 lemons and mix with reserved lavender liquid
3. In glass pitcher, mix sugar, honey/syrup, lavender liquid and rest of water with juice from ALL lemons; mix thoroughly.
4. Fill pitcher with ice and serve with lemon slices and lavender sprigs.

Grilled Jerk Corn, Squash and Mushroom Lettuce Cups with Lime Yogurt – Michele Errichetti (Atlantic County)

This recipe is a nice “meaty” side or main for Labor Day for the vegetarians and everyone else at the party! Have a yummy Holiday. Serves 5 to 10 depending on whether it is a one of many sides.


Grill Corn, Mushrooms, Squash and Scallions before cutting.
4 Ears of White or Yellow corn, shucked and cut off the cob
4 Large Portabella mushrooms cut into small squares
2 Avocados cut into small squares
4 Green or Yellow squash cut into small squares
2 Tbsps. fresh Cilantro,chopped
½ cup Greek Yogurt
1 Bunch of scallions, chopped
10 Large lettuce leaves, washed and dried
2 Tbsps. of lime juice
2 Tsps. olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 Tsp. Jerk Seasoning


Place corn, squash,mushrooms and scallions in a bowl and season with Jerk seasoning, 1 tbsp. olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and toss to cover evenly. Heat grill and place all veggies on till grilled. Corn takes about 12 minutes turning every 2 to 3 minutes, squash about 8 minutes and mushrooms about 8 minutes as well. Turn the mushrooms. scallions and squash half way through.
When finished place all grilled veggies cut into a large bowl and add olive oil, 1 tbsp. lime juice, salt and pepper and avocado and turn gently to coat.
Mix Greek yogurt and 1 tbsp. lime juice and dash of pepper and place in small bowl.
Use a decorative tray and arrange lettuce leaves and fill halfway with veggies and add a dollop of Greek yogurt. Even the kids may eat their veggies this fun way! Maybe…

Raspberry Barbecue Salmon – Melissa Baratta (Ocean County)

Serves 2

3/4 pound fresh salmon
1/3 cup fresh raspberries
1/4 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. water

In a small pot, combine the raspberries and 1 Tbsp. water. Set over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, until the berries  start to break down. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the remaining water, and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and then reduce the heat to medium-low; cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. As the sauce thickens, add the additional 1 Tbsp. of water as needed, depending on how thick you like your sauce.

If using a cast iron skillet: Spray the pan with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the salmon skin side down. Sear the salmon for approximately 5 minutes, until the bottom of the fish turns opaque. Slather the top with barbecue sauce, then transfer the pan to the oven and broil on high heat for another 5 minutes, until top is crispy and fish is cooked through (it should still be slightly pink in the middle and only slightly firm). Top with remaining barbecue sauce and serve.

Alternate cooking method: Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and lay the salmon skin side down. Broil in the oven on high heat for 5 minutes, then top with barbecue sauce and broil for another 5 minutes.

Jersey Peach Martinis to toast the end of summer – Colleen Wood (Camden County)

Schober Orchards Peach Cider is available at Collingswood Farmers Market (” until it closes at Thanksgiving.  After that visit Schober ( in Monroeville, NJ.

1 1/2 oz. cider
1 1/2 oz. peach vodka
1 oz. St. Germaine liquor
1 oz. cranberry juice

Shake with ice and serve in chilled glass.

Coconut Lemon Lime Bars Melissa Baratta (Ocean County)

Serves 12-15


1 1/2 cups flour

1/3 cup confectioners sugar

2 Tbsp. lemon zest

2 tsp. lime zest

Juice of half a lemon

3/4 cup butter, at room temperature

2 1/2 cups unsweetened, shredded coconut

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, confectioners sugar and 1 Tbsp. of the lemon zest. Cut butter into the mixture with a pastry blender (use two butter knives if you don’t have a pastry blender), until mixture is crumbly. Press mixture into an ungreased 13×9 baking pan to make a crust. Bake for 15 minutes.

Sprinkle coconut evenly over the baked crust and set aside. In another mixing bowl, combine condensed milk, remaining lemon zest, lime zest and lemon juice. Spread evenly over the coconut, using your fingers to spread if necessary. Sprinkle the walnuts on top, pressing down lightly so they stick to the milk mixture. Bake again for about 15-20 minutes, until the mixture is set and the coconut starts to brown. Remove and let cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into squares.

Here are 5 years worth of Barbecue Recipe posts for more great ideas.