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

Pepperoni slices

Salami slices

Green and/or black olives, pitted

Artichokes from a can, halved or quartered

Cherry tomatoes

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.

EASY PIZZA

PINWHEELS

Frozen bread dough

olive oil

Italian seasoning

garlic power

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

from epicuious.com

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.

PICNIC CAKE

from favfamilyrecipes.com

13⁄4 cups boiling water

1 cup oatmeal quick

1⁄2 cup butter or margarine

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

2 eggs

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.

(606) 326-2661 |

lward@dailyindependent.com

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