Saturday, March 20, 2010

Yummm! Picnic in the Park!!!!

Around New York City, the evidence suggests that Spring has OFFICIALLY sprung!!! And I am sure that I am not the only New Yorker that says, "It's about time!!!" lol

I cannot wait until the weather is warm enough to spend the entire day at the park (or the beach!), with friends, great music, and of course... a picnic feast!!!

Iced Tea with Grenadine
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis, Food Network

4 cups iced tea (homemade or store-bought)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons)
1/4 cup grenadine
Ice, for serving
In a large ball jar (or other transporting container), mix together the tea, lemon juice, and grenadine. Pour over ice when ready to serve.

Zesty Chicken Salad Spread Recipe
Recipe Courtesy of About Home Cooking


3 ounces (small block) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup ranch salad dressing
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 (12.5 ounces) can chicken, drained (see Notes)
1/4 cup minced sweet onion
1/4 cup minced roasted red pepper (jarred are fine)
1-1/2 Tablespoons sweet pickle relish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 to 3 drops liquid smoke, optional
1 Tablespoon chopped chives
Minced parsley for garnish

Whisk together cream cheese, ranch dressing, and Dijon mustard until smooth.

Mash chicken with a fork in a medium bowl until it is shredded. Add dressing mixture, sweet onion, roasted red peppers, and relish. Stir to combine. Taste and add salt, pepper, and liquid smoke, if using. Fold in chives. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Refrigerate 1 hour or overnight to allow flavors to meld.

Use as a spread for crackers or as a sandwich spread.

Yield: about 2 cups
Notes: Feel free to substitute chopped rotisserie chicken or albacore tuna for the canned chicken.

Spicy Hummus
Recipe Courtesy of Big Oven

1 can Garbanzo Beans drained, reserve 2 tbls. of liquid
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. paprika

Place all ingredients in food processor or blender, including the 2 tbls. reserved liquid. Puree until smooth. Serve with warm pita, raw veggies, veggie or rice chips. Can also be used as a sandwich spread or on chicken.

Tomato and Garlic Pasta Salad
Recipe Courtesy of Big Oven

1 pound Medium shells
1/3 cup Extra-light Tasting Olive oil
2 can (12 oz) Tomatoes whole peeled
1 can (16 oz) Black olives sliced
1/2 cup Fresh Parsley chopped
1 1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
1 clove Garlic (Use two if cloves are small)

Prepare shells according to package directions; rinse in cold water until shells have cooled, then drain.

Meanwhile drain tomatoes, reserving liquid. Cut up whole peeled tomatoes and place in a large bowl. Mince garlic very finely (or press) and add to tomatoes. Add sliced black olives, chopped fresh parsley, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Stir to combine.

Add cooked and drained shells. Mix gently to combine. Add a tablespoon or two of the tomato juice to moisten. Chill for at least an hour, longer is preferred. Stir in a little more tomato juice before serving if pasta seems dry.

Herb Potato Salad
Recipe Courtesy of Ina Garten, Food Network

3 pounds small white boiling potatoes
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons good dry white wine
2 tablespoons chicken stock
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup good olive oil
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Place the potatoes and 2 tablespoons salt in a large pot of water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are barely tender when pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then place the colander with the potatoes over the empty pot off the heat and cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel. Leave the potatoes to steam for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender but firm.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the wine, chicken stock, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, 2 teaspoons salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Set aside.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them into quarters or halves, depending on their size. Place the cut potatoes in a large bowl and pour enough dressing over them to moisten. (As the salad sits, you may need to add more dressing.) Add the onion, tarragon and parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Barbecue Chicken
Recipe courtesy The Neelys

2 lbs chicken wingettes
1 1/2 cups Italian dressing, recipe follows
1/4 cup Neelys Barbecue Seasoning, recipe follows
1 cup Neelys Barbecue Sauce, recipe follows

Rinse chicken in cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place chicken in a large bowl or baking dish, coat with Italian dressing and evenly season with Neelys seasoning. For best results, allow the chicken to marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

If Cooking Inside:
Take the chicken out of the refrigerator and brush chicken with Neelys Barbeque Sauce.

Place into a preheated 350 degree F oven for 45 minutes. The wings should become very tender and will easily pull away at the joints. Brush the chicken with Neelys Barbecue sauce during the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Neely Italian Dressing:
2 tablespoons ground mustard
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons Neelys Barbecue Seasoning
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup canola oil
Salt and pepper
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, except the oil and salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Neelys BBQ Seasoning:
1 1/2 cups paprika
3/4 cup sugar
3 3/4 tablespoons onion powder
Add all ingredients to a bowl and stir until combined. Keep in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Neelys BBQ Sauce

2 cups ketchup
1 cup water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
5 tablespoons light brown sugar
5 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 tablespoon ground mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring frequently, for 1 hour 15 minutes.

Yield: 3 1/2 cups


  1. My gosh! I love this post!

    going to purchase a picnic bag today!

    I love this time of year! : )

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. You are very welcome, Moni!! I too love this time of year!! I am really missing Lechter's at times like this - They use to sell picnic baskets for super cheap!!!!