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Last-minute Labor Day menu: A surf & turf party platter, mocktails and more

End-of-summer entertaining has never been easier.

While we look forward to all the end-of-year gatherings ahead, there’s something special about getting together with friends and family under the summer sun. The days for cookouts are slowly dwindling, but Labor Day is the perfect opportunity to pull out all the stops one more time. No menu planned for the long weekend? Not to worry — food and lifestyle expert Alejandra Ramos stopped by TODAY to share delicious dishes that are perfect for your last barbecue of the season. 

Want a show-stopping centerpiece for your festive spread? Look no further than Ramos’ surf & turf Niçoise party platter. It might sound like quite the undertaking to cook, but each step of this meal can be prepped in advance so you only have to assemble and serve. If you’re game to fire up the grill day of, her juicy chicken pinchos are a must-make. The skewers are marinated overnight then covered in a homemade pineapple-guava barbecue sauce for that perfect balance of sweet and savory. And so you can properly send off summer, a stone fruit spritzer mocktail — light, refreshing and easy to blend in big batches. 

To pair along with the other entrées, or even enjoy ahead of Labor Day, we have porchetta-style pork burgers and a classic Caprese salad. Both recipes take at most 30 minutes to make, so you can quickly whip them up on a weeknight or when you’re entertaining a crowd. 

Alejandra Ramos’ last-minute Labor Day menu

Surf and Turf Niçoise Party Platter

This shareable party version of a classic Salad Niçoise with a twist is perfect for entertaining large groups. Savory grilled skirt steak and shrimp are paired with crispy little potatoes, garlicky green beans, marinated tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, pickled onions, olives, avocado and more — all arranged on a big colorful platter. 

These savory marinated skewers, known as pinchos, are a Puerto Rican staple. In Puerto Rico, pinchos are traditionally cooked over wood fires and sold at roadside stands throughout the island, or made by home cooks for family and friends on their backyard grills. They’re also a popular menu item at most fast food and casual barbecue restaurants.

Summer Stone Fruit Mocktail

This refreshing non-alcoholic spritzer combines ripe in-season summer stone fruits with fresh citrus, honey and seltzer for a light and refreshing fizzy beverage the whole family can enjoy.

More recipes to make this week

Round out the week with these recipes from Emily Connor and Sheela Prakash.

If you’re getting bored of the typical beef patty, give these porchetta-style burgers a go. They’re packed with traditional Italian flavors — think herbs, garlic, fennel seed and lemon — but come together much quicker than roasting a rolled pork loin or belly in the oven.

Caprese Salad

Celebrate tomato season before it ends with a fresh Caprese salad. Because the recipe itself is so simple, the quality of the ingredients matters more here. We suggest going with deep red beefsteak tomatoes or multicolored heirlooms when picking out produce.