Easy Springtime Picnic Recipes

| December 2, 2011


Grilled Eggplant Wraps with Lemon Aioli, Feta, and Mint

Difficulty: Easy

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

2 medium eggplants, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 medium red onions, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices 4 (10-inch) flour tortillas 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1 small garlic clove, minced 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 3/4 cup chilled crumbled feta cheese 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and preheat a charcoal grill and let the coals burn down to a gray ash. (Alternatively, preheat a broiler and lightly oil a broiling pan.) Brush the eggplant slices with the 1/2 cup oil and season both sides with salt and pepper. Grill or broil on a rack set 5 to 6 inches from the heat, turning once, until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet to cool. Brush the onions with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill or broil until brown and tender, about 5 minutes. Wrap the tortillas in foil and heat in the oven for 5 minutes. Whisk the mayonnaise with the garlic and lemon juice in a small bowl to make the aioli. Spread 2 tablespoons of the aioli over each tortilla. Cover the bottom 1/3 of each tortilla with 1/4 of the eggplant and 1/4 of the onions. Sprinkle on a 12/4 of the cheese and top with mint leaves. To make the wrap, fold in the two sides of the tortilla. Roll away from you, tucking in the edges to form a tight cylinder. Wrap the cylinder in foil and cut in 1/2 diagonally right through the foil. The foil becomes the holder to be peeled away as the wrap is consumed. Serve the wrap hot or at room temperature.

Source – Sara Moulton, www.foodnetwork.com


Asparagus Pasta Salad

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 small shallot or 1/2 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it
  • 1 pound asparagus, thin spears
  • 2 endive, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 pound bow tie pasta, farfalle, cooked to al dente and cooled
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley, a couple of handfuls
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:

Heat shallot and oil in microwave safe covered dish for 30 seconds or in a small pan on the stovetop over medium low heat for 5 minutes. Allow oil to cool back to room temperature. Hold a spear of asparagus at each end and snap it. The spear breaks where the tender tops meet the tough bottoms. Line the broken spear up with the bundle of cleaned asparagus. Cut the spears using the guideline of the snapped spear. Par boil the asparagus tops in 1 inch simmering water covered for 3 to 5 minutes. Cool under cold running water and drain. Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces on an angle and add to a bowl. Combine chopped, cooked asparagus with shredded endive, red bell pepper, cooked pasta, green peas and chopped parsley. The peas will defrost as you toss salad. Pour vinegar into a small bowl and whisk in cooled shallot oil. Pour dressing over salad and toss. Season salad with salt and pepper, to your taste and toss again.

Source: Rachel Ray, www.foodnetwork.com


Mixed Baby Greens Salad with Mandarin Oranges

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag mixed baby greens, 10 ounces
  • 1 can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1/4 English or European seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine or white vinegar, eyeball it
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, eyeball it
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish, 2 tablespoons
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:

Combine greens, oranges and cucumber in a salad bowl. In a small bowl, combine vinegar and sugar. Whisk in vegetable oil and sesame oil. Pour dressing over salad. Add sesame seeds, salt and pepper and toss.

Source: Rachel Ray, www.foodnetwork.com


Herb Chicken Soup with Spring Vegetables

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus 1 tablespoon chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh tarragon, plus 1 tablespoon chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 3 long strips lemon zest
  • 4 bone-in chicken breast halves, skin removed (2 1/2 to 3 pounds)
  • 4 cups chicken broth, low-sodium canned or homemade
  • 1 bunch medium asparagus, thick ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch segments
  • 1/3 cup fresh or frozen peas 5 medium shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced

Instructions:

Tie the parsley, tarragon, and thyme sprigs and bay leaf together with kitchen twine and put in a large saucepan with the onion, carrot, celery, lemon zest, and chicken breasts. Cover with the broth, bring just to a boil over high heat, skim off any foam that comes to the surface. Adjust the heat to very low and cover. Cook the chicken until firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Remove the chicken to a platter, when cool enough to handle and pull into large strips; discard the bones. When ready to serve, add the asparagus, peas, and mushrooms to the broth. Cook until the vegetables are just tender, about 3 to 5 minutes, and remove herb bundle. Return chicken to the broth and warm through. Divide chicken between 4 large soup bowls and ladle some broth and vegetables into each bowl. Garnish each soup with the chopped parsley and tarragon. Serve.

Source: Copyright 2005 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved.


Grilled Sausage, Fennel, and Baby Artichoke Spring Pasta

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 sweet sausages
  • 2 bulbs fennel, quartered
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil, for grilling
  • 1/2 pound dry farfalle (butterfly or bowtie) pasta
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 20 baby artichokes, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup walnut oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves picked

Instructions:

Heat grill on medium-high. Cook sausages for 10 minutes, making sure to turn to prevent burning. Season fennel with salt and pepper, brush with olive oil, and grill until brown and tender, about 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, slice the sausages on the bias into 1/4-inch slices, and cut the fennel into similarly sized pieces. Keep the sausage and fennel warm until ready to use. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Cook the pasta al dente. In another large pot of water, add lemon, onion, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Add trimmed artichokes and top with a small plate to weight down artichokes. Cook until hearts are almost tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from pot and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper, and place on grill to cook for 5 minutes. When cool enough to handle, halve the artichokes. In a medium sized bowl, mix the vinegar and mustard. Slowly whisk in oil until emulsified. Mix in salt, sugar, and pepper. Toss the sausage, fennel, artichokes, and pasta with walnut vinaigrette and plate, garnishing with the whole parsley leaves. Serve immediately.

Source: Rocco DiSpirito, www.foodnetwork.com


Lemon and Garlic Chicken with Spring Market Vegetables

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole young chicken, about 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 pounds
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large vidalia onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 large lemons, juice and zest reserved
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups hot chicken stock
  • 1/2 pound baby carrots with green tops attached
  • 1/2 pound pencil asparagus
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh thyme leaves

Instructions:

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken, skin side down, and brown well before turning to brown the meat side. When the chicken is well browned, add the onions, and cook until golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, add lemon juice and white wine, bring quickly to a boil, reduce heat to a low simmer, cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and cook for 5 to 8 minutes. Add 1 cup of chicken stock and continue to cook, covered, for an additional 15 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked. Add additional chicken stock if the pan dries out too quickly. While the chicken is cooking, peel the carrots and place them in a saucepan with 1/4 cup water and a tablespoon butter. Season with salt and pepper and cook the carrots for 2 to 3 minutes over medium heat and set aside. Wash the asparagus and cut off any woody stem attached. Put the asparagus into a pot with 1/4 cup water and a tablespoon butter and salt and pepper. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes and set aside. When the chicken is fully cooked, remove from the saute pan and place on a platter. Carefully ladle off any grease that has accumulated on the surface of the stock and swirl in the remaining 3 tablespoons butter to give a smooth silky finish.

Source: Sara Moulton, www.foodnetwork.com


Crispy Potato Slices with Herb and Garlic Goat Cheese

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Yield: about 40 hors d’oeuvres

Ingredients:

  • 2 russet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 8 ounces soft mild goat cheese
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh herbs, i.e. parsley, chervil, thyme, and/or tarragon
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Pink peppercorns, chopped toasted pistachios, finely chopped red bell pepper and/or fresh herb sprigs, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the potatoes crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices and arrange in a single layer on one or more oiled baking sheets, as needed. Drizzle the potato slices with olive oil. Roast them in the oven, turning them once, for about 30 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. If potato slices are roasting unevenly, rotate the baking sheet occasionally. Transfer the potatoes to paper towels to drain and season with salt. In a food processor combine the goat cheese, milk, herbs, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste and puree until smooth. Top each potato slice with a dollop of the cheese mixture either with a teaspoon or piped from a pastry bag. Garnish each hor d’oeuvre with the pink peppercorns, pistachios, red bell pepper or herb sprigs.

Source: Sara Moulton, www.foodnetwork.com


Spinach Artichoke Calzones

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Inactive Prep Time: 1 minute
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 calzones

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups part skim ricotta
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated or a few pinches ground
  • A few grinds black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (a couple of handfuls) grated Parmigiano, plus extra, for sprinkling
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
  • 1 (15-ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 (10-ounce) tubes refrigerated pizza dough
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • Garlic oil (1 or 2 cloves chopped and heated in 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil)
  • 2 cups tomato sauce, marinara or pizza sauce, for dipping or Five Minute Spicy Marinara, recipe follows

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Combine first 7 ingredients in a bowl. Roll each pizza dough out on a cookie sheet, and halve each cross-wise. Spread 1/2 cup mozzarella and up to 1/4 of filling on each rectangle. Work on just half of the surface of each rectangle of dough, then fold dough over top of filling and pinch edges firmly to seal. For a half-moon “pizza parlor” look to your calzones, mound filling into a half-moon shape, fold dough over top trim edges of dough to follow the rounded shape, then seal edges. Tie strips of dough scraps in knots, brush with garlic oil and sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake knots with calzones. If your dough tears, remove a little of the filling and repair. Repeat the process, spacing the calzones evenly on baking sheet. Bake the calzones for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown all over. Serve calzones with warm tomato or pizza sauce for dunking.

Cook’s Note: Freeze any remaining filling in a small plastic container and use it to stuff a chicken breast on another day.

Five Minute Spicy Marinara

2 tablespoons (two turns around the pan) extra-virgin olive oil 3 cloves garlic crushed 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 1 (32 ounce) can chunky style crushed tomatoes Salt and pepper 1 teaspoon Italian dried seasoning 1 handful Italian parsley leaves, chopped Add olive oil to medium saucepan over moderate heat. Add garlic and crushed pepper to the heated olive oil; when pepper snaps and garlic sizzles, stir in crushed tomatoes. Season sauce with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Cook for five minutes and stir in parsley. Serve. Yield: 4 servings

Source: Rachel Ray, www.foodnetwork.com

Category: Picnic Recipes

About the Author ()

Comments are closed.