Summer Picnic Meal

I’ve been taking the photos, but I’ve been behind in sharing what I’ve been cooking this summer.

Our weekly Sunday dinners have been cause for me to cook something a little more special when we host, or at least try something new. The same goes for when we supply dessert. Because of scheduling conflicts, we actually don’t gather for dinner weekly, but we just pick on the rotation when our schedules allow.

The last time we hosted, I made it a point to create a summer-picnic inspired meal. I picked up a bottle of Rose and looked through my collection of bookmarked recipes.

I actually wasn’t planning on taking photos, but my neighbor encouraged me because of how nice the colors looked. They do look quite nice.
I started dinner with a mango cocktail and cheese platter with apples and bread.

For our mango cocktails, I was inspired by this Sparkling Mango Mint Lemonade.

Mango Cocktail

1 mango, sliced and frozen
6 Tablespoons Pink Lemonade concentrate
-blend the above in a blender or Magic Bullet
-pour into 4 glasses

-add your desired amount of vodka to each glass
-top with soda water and mix gently
Our main dish was inspired by a Panzanella Salad that I found in Sunset Magazine.

Panzanella Chicken Salad
5 cups cubed day old bread
2 cups chopped tomatoes
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1/4 cup chopped basil
10 slices of salami, cut into strips
olive oil, salt and pepper

-gently mix all ingredients and drizzle with olive oil

I actually used one of my Pinterest pins for the White Bean Salad, which was inspired by Martha Stewart’s White-Bean Salad with Zucchini and Parmesan. Martha’s recipe was for a cold salad, but I made this into a warm dish.

White Bean Salad

2 cans (15 1/2 ounces each) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 small yellow squash, chopped
3/4 cup chopped green beans
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper

-Saute squash and green beans until cooked to your liking.
-Add beans and heat through.
-Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

Of course with all of these recipes, feel free to take your own liberties, I cook by sight and feel and what I have on hand more than anything else. If I don’t have enough of something or want more of something in a recipe, I just go with what feels right. Follow your intuition when you cook and you’ll enjoy it more and improve your technique.

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