Swing into summer with a basketful of delicious picnic fare ready to share in minutes
(Family Features) Good friends, great food, and the best season for outdoor entertaining add up to one thing — a glorious picnic season. If you’re just warming up to the idea of planning a picnic at the park or a backyard potluck, it’s the prime time to prepare and make your plans.
First set the date with your best mates. Then grab the gingham tablecloth and break out the picnic basket. What to serve? Start simple with a menu that’s casual, delicious, and easy to make and take, especially if you’re off to the perfect picnic destination.
Choose light, flavorful pasta salads that combine summertime flavors, such as creamy ranch and Dijon mustard, or chicken with marinated artichoke hearts. Be prepared to pass the deviled eggs more than once. Bring along fresh fruit for a refreshing dessert. And, try a cool lemonade that combines two favorite summertime flavors — watermelon and kiwi. All that’s left is to savor every moment and every bite!
Picnic Season’s Top Tips
Consider these hints for summer gatherings:
- An “eggs-cellent” way to tote deviled eggs: sandwich two halves with filling sides together, wrap well with plastic wrap, and place in a chilled, insulated box.
- When the ants begin their march, reach for a natural deterrent — vinegar. Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar to have at the ready.
- Cooking for a crowd? Streamline your menu by choosing convenience products, such as boxed salad mixes that only require a few on-hand ingredients. Reach for prewashed, precut veggies. And, sprinkle a bit of flavor onto grilled potatoes and salads by adding a tasty topper, such as Bac~Os (an easy option that is less messy than frying bacon).
- Got sunscreen? Make sure it’s in your pack.
For more great summertime recipes and tips, visit www.bettycrocker.com.
Creamy Ranch Pasta Salad
Makes: 6 servings
- 1 box Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad ranch and bacon pasta salad mix
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 4 medium green onions, chopped
- 1 medium stalk celery, thinly sliced
- 3 hard-cooked eggs, coarsely chopped
- 1 hard-cooked egg, sliced
- Empty pasta into 3-quart (or larger) saucepan 2/3 full of boiling water. Gently boil uncovered 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta; rinse with cold water. Shake to drain well.
- In large bowl, stir together seasoning mix, mayonnaise, mustard, onions and celery. Add pasta and chopped eggs and stir until evenly coated. Garnish with egg slices and paprika.
- Store in refrigerator.
Chicken and Artichoke Pasta Salad
Makes: 6 servings
- 1 box Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad classic pasta salad mix
- 3 tablespoons cold water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup cubed, cooked chicken
- 1 6-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
- 1/4 cup sliced ripe olives
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- Empty pasta into 3-quart (or larger) saucepan 2/3 full of boiling water. Gently boil uncovered 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta; rinse with cold water. Shake to drain well.
- In large bowl, stir together seasoning mix, cold water, and oil. Stir in pasta, chicken, artichokes, olives, and cheese. Store in refrigerator.
Watermelon Lemonade With Kiwifruit Splash
Makes: 6 1-cup servings
- 2 kiwifruit, peeled and cut into fourths
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 4 cups cubed, seedless watermelon
- 1 12-ounce can frozen lemonade concentrate
- 2 cups water
- Place kiwifruit and sugar in blender; cover and blend on medium just until smooth. Pour into another container; freeze 1 to 2 hours or until firm.
- Place watermelon in blender; cover and blend on medium until smooth. Place frozen lemonade concentrate and water in large pitcher. Add watermelon mixture; mix well.
- Pour watermelon lemonade into glasses. Spoon a dollop of frozen kiwifruit mixture on top. Serve immediately.
Poppy Seed Salad
Makes: 6 servings
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
- 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
- 1 cup strawberries, halved
- 1 cup cubed pineapple
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 cup cubed watermelon
- In large bowl, mix honey, limeade concentrate, and poppy seeds.
- Carefully toss in fruits.
Devilishly Good Eggs
Makes: 6 servings
- 6 hard-cooked eggs
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
- 2 tablespoons Betty Crocker Bac~Os bacon-flavored bits or chips
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Dijon or yellow mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- Cut eggs lengthwise in half. In small bowl, slip out yolks and mash with fork.
- Stir in remaining ingredients except egg white halves.
- Fill egg white halves with egg yolk mixture, heaping it lightly.
Source: Suddenly Salad
(Family Features) It’s summer and there’s little that can compare to the refreshing sparkle that fresh lemon or lime gives a tall glass of iced tea or an ice-cold bottle of water. (And how about that great citrus taste on grilled fish?) But it’s not always easy — or convenient — to bring a whole lemon or lime with you when you’re on the go. Worse yet, it’s so frustrating to reach for a fresh lemon or lime at home only to realize either you’re out or they’ve gone bad sitting in your refrigerator.
Now, there’s good news for lemon and lime lovers. Fresh squeezed lemon and lime taste is now as simple as a tear of a packet or a shake of a bottle — and you don’t have to worry about it going bad before you’ve had a chance to use it. True Lemon and True Lime crystallized lemon and lime substitutes are made with 100 percent all-natural ingredients including real lemon and lime juice and oils. Available in packets and now rolling out nationwide in shaker containers, both can be used just like you would fresh lemon or lime juice.
True Lemon and True Lime can add true citrus flavor to:
- Drinks and smoothies,
- Marinades, rubs and flavoring pastes,
- Main dishes,
- Fruits, vegetables and side dishes,
- Desserts and
- Any dish or drink that needs flavor-enhancing lemon or lime.
Convenient packets of the all-natural crystallized lemon and lime are also great to take to the office, to the gym or on summer vacation — anytime you’re on the go. Each packet contains the equivalent of 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon or lime juice with no calories, carbohydrates, preservatives or sodium, but with a full 25 percent of an adult’s daily vitamin C requirement. True Lemon and True Lime shakers have the same health benefits and offer an easy way for home chefs to sprinkle on a zesty citrus taste. They are also a great salt substitute for those watching their sodium intake.
For more information and recipes, visit www.truelemon.com.
Luscious Lime Summer Smoothie
Makes 1-1/2 cups
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 2 packets True Lime
- 1 ripe medium banana
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 2 kiwi fruit, peeled and halved
- 2 cups crushed ice
- Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
Lemon Herb Salmon
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 packets True Lemon
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/8 teaspoon rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1 tablespoon chives
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 medium salmon steaks, cut 1/4 inch thick
- In large bowl, combine all ingredients except salmon steaks; mix well. Add fish to bowl; spoon marinade over fish until well coated. Cover; refrigerate at least 2 hours, turning fish over after 1 hour.
- Place fish on broiler pan or on hot grill. Broil or grill 4 to 6 inches from heat, 10 to 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork.
Source: True Lemon