Summer time means picnic time, because food always tastes better outdoors. We’ve compiled some easy, yummy, exceptional recipes to make your alfresco meal a breeze. Warning: You might become “famous” for your special dish, which means you’ll be asked to make it again.
Don’t forget to check out our PICINIC TIPS to ensure your day is all about rest and relaxation.
Avocado Chicken Salad
2 c. chicken, cooked and shredded
1 avocado, chunked
1 T. mayonaisse
1 green onion, sliced
lime juice to taste
salt/pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in bowl and refrigerate. You can serve this in pitas or just eat it with chips.
Tomato & Chickpea Salad
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
About 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
25 large basil leaves, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp honey (10g)
pinch of salt
Toss all ingredients together and chill for at least 20 minutes, allowing all the flavors to merge. Then EAT!
3 ripe peaches (peeled, if desired)
1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1.Cut each peach into 6 to 8 wedges, then cut each wedge in half crosswise.
2.In a large bowl, combine the peaches, basil, and mozzarella. Drizzle with the oil, sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and toss. (You can cover and refrigerate the salad for up to several hours.) Serve cold or at room temperature.
Lemon Orzo Salad with Asparagus and Tomatoes
12 oz. orzo
1 bunch fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 lemon, zested and juiced
4 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbs. fresh parsley, minced
Fresh ground pepper
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano*
Bring 2 large pots of water to boil. Add a big pinch of salt in each. To one pot, add asparagus and blanch, about 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the thickness of your asparagus. Place blanched asparagus in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and keep them green. To the second pot, add the orzo. Cook per package instructions. When tender, drain and place in a large bowl. Add blanched asparagus and tomato halves. Mix olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Stir into orzo and vegetables. Stir in parsley and grated Parmigiano Reggiano. This can be served warm, room temperature or cold. *Note: If you want to keep this salad vegan, leave out the Parmigiano Reggiano.
Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries
1 lb large strawberries
8 oz. cream cheese, softened (can use 1/3 less fat)
3-4 tbsp powdered sugar (4 tbsp for a sweeter filling)
1 tsp vanilla extract
graham cracker crumbs
1. Rinse strawberries and cut around the top of the strawberry. Remove the top and clean out with a paring knife, if necessary (some may already be hollow inside). Prep all strawberries and set aside.
2. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Add cream cheese mix to a piping bag or ziploc with the corner snipped off. Fill strawberries with cheesecake mixture. Once strawberries are filled, dip the top in graham cracker crumbs. If not serving immediately, refrigerate until serving.
Peanut Butter Cheerios Treats
6 cups Peanut Butter Cheerios
2 Tablespoons butter
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
10 ounces (approx. 40 ) regular sized marshmallows
1 cup chocolate chips
Prep a 9×13 pan with cooking spray or buttered parchment. In a pan over medium high heat melt the butter and peanut butter. Add in the marshmallows until you get a nice gooey mess. Add the Peanut Butter Cheerios and stir to combine making sure all of the cereal gets coated. Press into the prepped pan and while the cereal is still warm, sprinkle the chocolate chips on top so they melt slightly. Let cool and cut into squares. These taste best if served the same day.
PICNIC TIPS (courtesy of Food Network):
Freeze drinks the night before. Not only will your drinks stay cold the next day, they’ll help keep your food chilled.
To keep your picnic festive, bring a colorful and comfortable blanket. Extra towels can serve as pillows when sunbathing or napping.
Set up your picnic in the shade.
Although baskets can be quite stylish, a cooler packed with ice is safer.
Make sure foods that are meant to be served cold are thoroughly cooled before packing.
If you’re driving, transport your cooler in the air-conditioned car, not in the trunk.
Throw away any food that’s been out of the cooler for more than an hour.
When packing a picnic, don’t forget these essentials
Cups and wine glasses
Corkscrew or bottle opener
Damp wipes or cloths for washing up