labor day picnic ideas

5 Inexpensive Picnic Dishes to Enjoy on Labor Day

Labor Day gives you a final chance to say goodbye to summer before fall’s blustery weather arrives. Celebrating with family, friends and food is a great way to send summer off in style. But, cooking for a crowd can cost a lot of money. The good news is, it doesn’t have to. Here are five inexpensive picnic dishes to enjoy on Labor Day.

1. Potato Salad

Potatoes are inexpensive. In many places you can find a five-pound bag for $0.99. Take 10 of those cheap potatoes and peel them. Then dice them into bite sized pieces and boil them until they are tender.

Now it’s time to mix those soft potatoes with a few other key ingredients to create a delicious, inexpensive potato salad.

You’ll also need:

  • 3 hard-boiled eggs (peeled and diced)
  • 1/2 medium onion (diced)
  • 1 stalk celery (washed and diced)
  • 2 dill pickles (chopped)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper

You’ll want to add all of your ingredients to a large bowl and toss slightly. If you do it while the potatoes are still warm, the flavors will meld together better. Add salt and pepper to taste, and then cover your bowl.

Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving and enjoy chilled.

2. Jell-O Salad

There’s a reason variations of Jell-O salad appear on picnic tables all across the country. Jell-O is an inexpensive treat!

To make a delicious orange Jell-O salad, you’ll need:

  • 1 (6 ounce) box of orange Jell-O
  • 1 (12 ounce) tub of Cool Whip
  • 1 (15 ounce) can mandarin oranges
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 (5.1 ounce) box instant vanilla pudding
  • 4 cups mini marshmallows

Put the Jell-O powder into a bowl. Pour the boiling water on top, and stir for a couple of minutes, until all the powder is dissolved. Add the cold water, and stir. Place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes, to allow it to begin setting.

Meanwhile, pour the can of oranges (undrained) into another bowl. Sprinkle the vanilla pudding powder on top and stir well.

Add the marshmallows and Cool Whip. Stir until combined.

Take your Jell-O mixture out of the fridge, and stir it. Pour the Jell-O mixture onto the marshmallow mixture. Stir until combined.

Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

3. Cheese & Crackers

You can find great deals on crackers, especially if you use a coupon. Buy a block of your favorite cheese, and slice it thinly. It’s much less expensive to do this than to buy pre-sliced cheese!

Arrange your cheese and crackers on a serving tray, and enjoy.

4. Baked Beans

Canned beans are a cheap pantry staple. With a crockpot, you can turn three cans of regular old pinto beans into a delicious picnic dish with just a handful of ingredients.

You’ll need:

  • 3 (15.5 ounce) cans pinto beans (drained)
  • 1 ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • ¾ cup barbecue sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Dump the beans into the crockpot. Sprinkle in brown sugar and dry mustard. Stir until well combined.

Next, pour the ketchup and barbecue sauce over the top. Stir.

Cover with the crockpot lid and let cook on low for 6 hours. Remove lid and turn heat to high. Allow to cook another 30 minutes, or until the beans thicken.

5. Brownies

Homemade brownies are an economical dessert! They’re also super simple to prepare.

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup butter or margarine (melted)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour

Grease a 9×13 pan and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Combine butter, sugar, and cocoa powder until creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well.

Gently stir in flour.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes.

Let cool and cut into squares. Enjoy!

What are your favorite inexpensive picnic dishes?

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