Family meals don’t have to be at the dinner table. If the sunny days and fresh air are luring you outdoors this summer, you will love these picnic recipes that make family dinner just as special and delicious as usual, without missing a moment of the sunshine.
1. Picnic Potato Salad
4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and grated
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Cook potatoes in boiling water to cover 40 minutes or until tender; drain and cool 15 minutes. Peel potatoes, and cut into 1-inch cubes.
Combine potatoes and eggs.
Stir together mayonnaise and next 7 ingredients; gently stir into potato mixture. Serve immediately, or cover and chill 12 hours.
2. Cherry Hand Pies
For the dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
Vegetable oil, for frying
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
For the filling:
3 cups pitted cherries, roughly chopped (1 to 1 1/2 pounds whole cherries)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Make the dough: Pulse the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and shortening and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Drizzle in 6 tablespoons ice water and pulse until the dough starts coming together.
Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and lightly knead to bring together. Form into a disk, wrap in the plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the filling: Combine the cherries, granulated sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until the cherries are juicy and the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, 5 more minutes. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the juice into a small bowl; stir in the cornstarch until dissolved. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the saucepan and continue to simmer, stirring, until very thick, 6 to 8 more minutes. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the lemon juice and let cool.
Divide the dough into 8 pieces and roll each into a ball. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each ball into a 6 1/2-inch round, using as little flour as possible. Stack the rounds between pieces of parchment paper and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand 5 minutes. Place 2 tablespoons cherry filling in the center of each round, then fold in half to enclose and crimp the edges to seal.
Heat 1 inch of vegetable oil in a deep skillet until a deep-fry thermometer registers 360 degrees F. Fry the pies in 2 batches, turning once, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.
3. Honey Pecan Chicken Strips
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 pounds chicken breast strips
3/4 cup Dijon mustard, divided
3/4 cup honey, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups finely chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
Combine first 4 ingredients; sprinkle evenly over chicken in a shallow dish or zip-top plastic freezer bag. Stir together 1/4 cup mustard, 1/4 cup honey, and garlic; pour over chicken. Cover and chill 2 hours.
Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade. Dredge chicken in pecans; place on a lightly greased rack in an aluminum foil-lined broiler pan.
Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until chicken is done.
Stir together remaining 1/2 cup mustard, remaining 1/2 cup honey, and curry powder; serve sauce with chicken strips.
4. Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad
1 pound large elbow macaroni
4 ounces ham steak, finely chopped
2 stalks chopped celery, including leaves
1 large shallot, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 (4-ounce) jar chopped pimentos, drained
3 tablespoons sweet pickled relish
salt and pepper
To make the hard-boiled eggs: Add the eggs to a medium-sized saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring up to a boil over medium heat. Cover with a lid and turn off the heat. Let the eggs sit in the hot water for 14 minutes. Drain and cool under cold running water. Peel the eggs and chop. Reserve.
While the eggs are cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat and add the macaroni. Cook until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water.
In a large serving bowl, combine the eggs, ham steak, celery, shallots and lemon juice Add the macaroni and stir to combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, pickled relish, and salt and pepper, to taste. Add the dressing to the macaroni and toss to coat. Season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Cover and chill for 2 hours for the flavors to meld.
5. Watermelon Cucumber Salad
6 c. diced watermelon
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. Sea Salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/4 c. Crumbled feta
1/4 c. mint leaves
In a large bowl, combine wateremelon, cucumbers, olive oil, red wine vinegar, sea salt, and pepper; toss to combine. Divide between salad plates and garnish evenly with crumbled feta and mint leaves.
6. Pepper jack Cornbread sticks
1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
3/4 c. Creamed Corn
3 oz. Pepper Jack
2 large eggs
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Set 2 cast-iron cornbread-stick pans (see Note) in the top-third of oven until hot, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except butter. Stir until batter just comes together; do not overmix.
Carefully remove pans from oven and brush each cornbread-stick mold with butter. Fill each mold with about 2 tablespoons batter. Bake until sticks are golden and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove pans from oven and, using a sharp knife, release sticks. Serve warm with additional butter.
7. Avocado Ham Sandwich
1 loaf French Bread
1/4 c. butter
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
pinch of coarse black pepper
0.75 lb. Virginia ham
3 large avocados
Cut each loaf into 3 equal pieces, and split each horizontally along one side, leaving the other side intact. Open the pieces so they lie flat.
Stir the butter, mustard, and pepper together until smooth, and spread on both sides of the bread. Layer with the ham and avocado, and sprinkle with the sea salt.Keep chilled and serve within 3 hours.
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