Spring into picnics
Published 10:16 pm Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Now that it seems like the cold temperatures are finally giving way to some warm springtime weather, how about a picnic?
Suffolk has some fine picnic spots — perfect places to spread out a blanket, take off your shoes and wiggle your toes in the new green grass or to grab a wooden table beside a lake and listen to the sounds of nature all around as you dig into your picnic basket.
Both Bennett’s Creek and Sleepy Hole parks offer acres of grassy space to spread the picnic blanket or grab a table. Lone Star Lakes and Lake Meade parks are also good choices.
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So consider grabbing a nice cooler and some ice and whipping up these terrific salad ideas. After all, no one said a nice, laid back picnic can’t be something of a gourmet affair.
and Avocado Salad
- 2 English (hothouse) cucumbers, diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 1 small red bell pepper, diced
- 2 limes, zested and juiced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- 4 dashes hot pepper sauce
- 2 avocados – peeled, pitted and diced
1. Place the cucumber slices into a colander set in the sink, and sprinkle with salt. Set aside and allow to drip.
2. In a salad bowl, mix together the red onion, red bell pepper, lime zest and juice, cilantro, sugar, curry powder, and hot pepper sauce until thoroughly combined and the sugar has dissolved. Drain the cucumber slices, and pat them dry with paper towels. Stir the cucumbers into the salad. Gently toss the avocados with the salad and serve.
If you are not going to serve this immediately do not peel, chop and add the avocado until just before serving. Also, if you are in a real hurry, you can skip draining the cucumbers, but any leftovers you have will get watery.
Sesame Noodle Salad
- 1 (16 ounce) package angel hair pasta
- 1/2 cup sesame oil
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon hot chili oil
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, or more if desired
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
1. Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, stir in the angel hair pasta, and return to a boil. Cook the pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain well in a colander set in the sink.
2. Whisk together the sesame oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, chili oil, and sugar in a large bowl. Toss the pasta in the dressing, then sprinkle with sesame seeds, green onion, and bell pepper. Serve warm, or cover and refrigerate for a cold salad.
Sweet Potato Salad
- 1 large russet potato, peeled and quartered
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and quartered
- 1 cup corn
- 1 teaspoon prepared Dijon-style mustard
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cucumber, halved lengthwise and chopped
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup finely chopped peanuts
1. Place the Russet potato pieces into a large saucepan, and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the sweet potato, and cook about 15 minutes more. Remove a piece of each potato, and cut it in half to see if it is cooked enough. Once the potatoes are tender, add corn kernels; cook another 30 seconds. Drain through a colander. Fill the saucepan with cold water, and drop vegetables into water. Cool for 5 minutes, and drain.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together mustard, lime juice, cilantro, and garlic. Slowly whisk in oil. Mix in salt and black pepper.
3. Cut cooled potatoes into 1 inch cubes, and add to dressing along with cucumber, and red onion. Toss well. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Toss the peanuts in just before serving.
Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- 1 (12 ounce) package uncooked tri-color rotini pasta
- 10 slices bacon
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons dry ranch salad dressing mix
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper
- 1/2 cup milk, or as needed
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 1 (4.25 ounce) can sliced black olives
- 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Stir in rotini pasta and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until al dente; drain.
2. Place bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook until evenly brown. Drain and chop.
3. In a large bowl, mix mayonnaise, ranch dressing mix, garlic powder, and garlic pepper. Stir in milk until smooth. Place bacon, tomato, black olives and cheese in bowl and toss to coat with dressing. Cover and chill at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Toss with additional milk if the salad seems a little dry.
Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad
- 1 (6 ounce) can water-packed tuna, drained
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise (such as Hellman’s®)
- 1/2 cup sweet pickle relish (such as Heinz®)
- 1/8 teaspoon chile-garlic sauce (such as Sriracha®)
1. Stir the tuna, mayonnaise, relish, and chile-garlic sauce together in a bowl; serve.
Tuna and Noodle Salad Light
- 3 cups penne pasta
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more as needed
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 pinch paprika
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 (6 ounce) can solid white albacore tuna in water, drained
1. Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, stir in the penne, and return to a boil. Cook the pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, about 11 minutes. Rinse penne pasta with cold water and drain well in a colander set in the sink.
2. Mix the tomato, onion, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, paprika, and salt and pepper together in a bowl. Add the cooked pasta, then flake the tuna on top. Stir to combine.
Orange Pecan Tuna Salad
- 1 (12 ounce) can water packed tuna, drained and flaked
- 1 tablespoon fat free sour cream
- 1/2 tablespoon mustard
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- garlic salt to taste
- onion powder to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
1. Mix together the tuna, sour cream, mustard, relish, orange juice, pecans, garlic salt, onion powder, and black pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Sesame Pasta Chicken Salad
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1 (16 ounce) package bow tie pasta
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup light soy sauce
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast meat
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/3 cup chopped green onion
1. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add sesame seeds, and cook stirring frequently until lightly toasted. Remove from heat, and set aside.
2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain pasta, and rinse under cold water until cool. Transfer to a large bowl.
3. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine vegetable oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, sesame seeds, ginger, and pepper. Shake well.
4. Pour sesame dressing over pasta, and toss to coat evenly. Gently mix in chicken, cilantro, and green onions.
Dessert Fruit Salads
Sunday Best Fruit Salad
- 1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks, juice reserved
- 2 apples, peeled and cored
- 1 (21 ounce) can peach pie filling
- 2 bananas, peeled and diced
- 3 kiwis
- 1 pint strawberries
1. In a small bowl, toss the chopped apples in reserved pineapple juice. Allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
2. In a large salad bowl, combine the peach pie filling and pineapple chunks.
3. Remove apples from pineapple juice and add to pie filling and pineapple mixture. Add chopped bananas to reserved pineapple juice and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
4. Peel and slice kiwi and 1/2 of strawberries. Chop the other 1/2 of strawberries and set aside.
5. Remove bananas from pineapple juice and add to pie filling mixture. Add chopped strawberries; toss together.
6. Arrange kiwi slices around the edge of the serving bowl and alternate with strawberry slices. Chill and serve.
Sparkling Fruit Salad
- 1 fresh pineapple, cut into chunks
- 1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
- 1 cup halved fresh strawberries
- 1 cup halved green grapes
- 1 cup white wine or white grape juice
- 1/2 cup chilled club soda
1. In a large serving bowl, combine the pineapple, oranges, strawberries and grapes. Combine wine or grape juice and club soda; pour over fruit. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Serve with a slotted spoon.
Crunchy Fruit Salad
- 2 medium apples, chopped
- 1 medium firm banana, sliced
- 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup green grapes, halved
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 1/4 cup reduced-fat plain yogurt
1. In a bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Add yogurt; stir to coat. Refrigerate until serving.
Recipes courtesy of allrecipes.com