Whew! The hot weather is finally here and it’s time for picnics at the park, the beach or your shady back yard. But let’s face it, how many of us are totally bored with the standard burgers, hot dogs and potato salad that grace picnic tables all over the country?
Here are some picnic-perfect recipes that’ll surely entice your guests… if there’s any left after you’ve prepared them of course!
Scotch Eggs with Spicy Sausage
- 2 pounds spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
- 8 medium eggs
- ½ cup grainy mustard
- Oil for frying
- Gently place the eggs in a large pan of simmering water and let them cook for six minutes. Peel and set aside.
- Divide the sausage evenly into eight balls.
- To form the sausage vessels, poke your thumb into the center of the ball and press the opening and the sides until they’re large enough to surround the peeled egg.
- Place the egg into the meat round and work the meat over it to close the hole.
- If the sausage gets sticky, wet your hands to smooth out any holes or bumps.
- Heat the oil in a deep fryer or pan until it reaches 375 degrees.
- Cook the eggs in two batches of four each for about 5-7 minutes.
- Drain. Serve the eggs hot, warm or cold with grainy mustard as a dip.
Easy Fruit and Cheese Platter
- 1 pound strawberries
- ½ pound raspberries
- 1 pound fresh figs
- Large wheel of fresh brie cheese or other soft cheese
- Fresh granola, nuts or crackers
- Rinse the fruit and cut larger pieces into bite-size chunks
- Cut the cheese in sections and serve on a wooden board.
- You can also serve honey, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar or molasses with this easy-to-prepare treat.
Pineapple Chicken Kebabs
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- ¼ cup canned pineapple juice
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon finely minced ginger
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1¾ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced into 1¼-inch cubes
- 3 heaping cups fresh pineapple, cubed into 1¼-inch pieces
- 1½ large bell peppers, cut into 1¼-inch pieces
- 1 large red onion, cut into 1¼-inch pieces
- In a bowl combine the ketchup, brown sugar, soy sauce, hot sauce, pineapple juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger and sesame oil. Stir in 3/4 tsp pepper and a pinch of salt.
- Place chicken in a large zip-top bag and pour all but ½ cup of the marinade into the bag. Refrigerate the ½ cup leftover marinade for later. Chill the chicken in the refrigerator for one hour.
- Soak 10 wooden kabob skewers (or use metal ones if you have them) in water for an hour. This will help prevent burning when you grill the kabobs.
- Heat the grill (or a stovetop grill board) to 400 F.
- Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the onions, bell peppers and pineapple, and toss before seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Place the onion, bell pepper, pineapple and chicken alternatingly onto skewers.
- Brush the grill grates with olive oil and grill the kabobs for five minutes.
- Brush the kabobs with half the remaining chilled marinade.
- Turn the kabobs over and brush them with the rest of the marinade.
- Grill for about four minutes longer, or until chicken registers 165 F.
Chili Cornbread Casserole
- 2 cans prepared chili
- 1 small package frozen sweet corn
- 2 boxes corn muffin mix
- Pour the chili into an 8×8 inch pan.
- Sprinkle the corn on top of the chili.
- Prepare the boxed muffin mix according to package directions and spoon it evenly over the chili/corn mixture.
- Bake in a 350 F oven per the muffin box directions or until it’s cooked through.
- One large ciabatta loaf (approximately 12 inches around or an 8×14 inch rectangular loaf), cut in half widthwise
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound provolone cheese, sliced thinly
- 1 pound cured ham, sliced thinly
- 1 pound salami, sliced thinly
- ½ pound basil leaves
- 1 pound capicola, sliced thinly
- Grainy mustard
- 8 ounces sun-dried tomatoes
- Drizzle three tablespoons olive oil on each of the ciabatta halves.
- Evenly layer (in order) the provolone, mustard, ham, basil leaves, salami, mayonnaise, capicola and sun-dried tomatoes on the lower bread half.
- Top the sandwich with the bread top.
- Wrap the entire sandwich in several layers of cling film.
- Place the sandwich on a baking sheet and top it with another baking sheet.
- Put weights on top (about 3 pounds, whether canned goods or bricks).
- Chill the sandwich overnight before serving.
Tropical Macaroni Salad
- ½ pound elbow macaroni, cooked and rinsed
- 1 can (20 ounces) drained pineapple chunks (reserve ½ cup juice for dressing)
- 2 cups cubed cooked ham
- ½ cup shredded carrot
- ¼ cup green onion
- ½ cup reserved pineapple juice
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- In a large bowl, stir together the cooked macaroni, pineapple, ham, carrots, and onion.
- In a separate bowl, blend the dressing ingredients and gently toss with the salad ingredients.
- 1 personal seedless watermelon, diced into small cubes
- 1 cantaloupe, diced into small cubes
- 1 honeydew, diced into small cubes
- 1 pineapple, diced into small cubes
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
- Place diced, drained fruit into a large salad bowl.
- In a separate bowl, blend the honey, lime juice and mint.
- Pour over fruit and toss.
That wasn’t so hard, was it? Impress your friends and have them coming back for seconds with these easy, delectable dishes.