Summer is winding down, but there’s plenty of time to get in at least a couple more picnics. Don’t just grab a bag of fast-food burgers. Spend a little time and effort to make the food something special. Here are a few ideas.
CHICKEN PICNIC SKEWERS
Chunks of cooked chicken
Green and/or black olives, pitted
Artichokes from a can, halved or quartered
Soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes. Blot dry. Thread any combination of the above onto the skewers and they are ready to travel or to serve.
PICNIC PASTA SALAD
from family app.com
1 box macaroni (or pasta of choice) (cooked according to package directions and cooled)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, diced
1 cup diced salami
1 cup thawed frozen peas
1 6-ounce can pitted black olives
1 cup celery, diced
1⁄2 cup red onion, diced
1⁄2 cup diced dill pickle
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp. dry mustard
salt and pepper (to taste)
Combine pasta, cheese, salami, peas, olives, celery, onion, and pickles in a large bowl. Stir.
In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, dry mustard, salt, and pepper. Stir into pasta mixture, then cover.
Chill. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until served.
Frozen bread dough
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
1 cup marinara or pizza sauce
2 cups freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
40 slices pepperoni
1⁄2 teaspoon dried parsley
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
Thaw and prepare dough according to manufacturer's instructions. While dough is resting, preheat oven to 350 and brush a baking sheet with some of the melted butter; reserve remaining butter.
Roll the dough out to a 12-by-18-inch rectangle. Spread 1⁄2-1 cup of marinara sauce, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Sprinkle the cheese over the sauce and cover with pepperoni.
Starting at the long edge, tightly roll up the dough, pinching the pepperoni slices into the roll if they try to escape. Use the last 1 inch of clean dough to pinch and seal the dough. Cut evenly into 12 slices.
Arrange the pinwheels cut side up on the baking sheet and spread them out so they aren’t touching. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
Meanwhile, stir together the remaining butter, parsley and salt in a small bowl. Brush the tops and sides of the baked pinwheels with butter mixture and serve with additional marinara.
CALIFORNIA VEGGIE SANDWICH
For the pickled vegetables:
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1⁄2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1⁄4 cup kosher salt
4 cups any combination shredded carrots, sliced cucumbers, sliced red onions, and/or sliced mild fresh chiles
For the dressing and assembly:
1⁄4 cup buttermilk
1⁄4 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
1⁄2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 ripe avocados, halved
6 ounces fresh goat cheese
6 cups mixed lettuce leaves, ribs removed if thick
8 slices multigrain bread, toasted
1⁄2 English hothouse cucumber, thinly sliced on a diagonal
2 cups sprouts
Make the pickled vegetables:
Bring vinegar, brown sugar, salt, and 2 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Meanwhile, pack vegetables into jars. Pour brine over vegetables. Cover and chill until cool.
Make the dressing and assemble:
Whisk buttermilk, yogurt, lemon juice, and 3 Tbsp. oil in a large bowl until smooth; season dressing with salt and pepper.
Scoop avocados into a small bowl; add 1 Tbsp. oil and lightly mash. Season with salt and pepper. Mash goat cheese with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in another small bowl until softened and spreadable; season with salt and pepper.
Add lettuce to dressing and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper. Spread avocado mixture over 4 slices of bread. Arrange lettuce over and top with cucumber, sprouts, and some drained pickles. Spread remaining 4 slices of bread with goat cheese and close sandwiches.
13⁄4 cups boiling water
1 cup oatmeal quick
1⁄2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
13⁄4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp cocoa
1⁄2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
12 oz chocolate chips divided
Chopped pecan or walnut pieces
Pour boiling water over butter and oatmeal. Let sit 10 minutes until butter is melted.
Add sugars and mix well with a spoon.
Add eggs and mix.
Stir in dry ingredients and 1⁄2 of the chocolate chips.
Pour batter into a greased and floured 9-by-13 pan.
Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips and nuts on top.
Bake 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees.
The cake is delicious on its own, but is also good topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
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