Category: Picnic Plans

Broccoli, Kale and Blueberry Salad

Broccoli, Kale and Blueberry Salad
THIS!!! Not only beautiful, but a nutrition POWERHOUSE…

I love broccoli salad!  I love “THE” broccoli salad that you can buy in almost any deli you visit, you know the one with bacon, and nuts and craisins??  Seriously, what is not to love?  The one that is so good, but maybe not the best choice all the time. 

I really wanted to make a healthier version of that salad I love so much.  I wanted to replace the heavy dressing with a lighter vinaigrette, the bacon with a healthy fat and olives fit that bill, the crasins with antioxidant packed, sweet blueberries and some kale (because we really can’t get enough) for all of it’s wonderful nutritional value and it’s beautiful color. (more…)

Roasted Tomato and Jalapeno Salsa with Fresh Cilantro

Roasted Tomato and Jalapeno Salsa with Fresh Cilantro

Friends, here is THE salsa recipe you will make going forward.   Roasted tomato and jalapeno salsa is everything we are looking for in a salsa, peak tomato flavor, perfect consistency and some heat.  BINGO!!   If you aren’t growing them, grab some of those late summer tomatoes from the farmers market and preserve this wonderful season…you will thank yourself all year long.  In fact, grab a bunch and make a big batch of roasted tomato marinara with fresh basil and Parmesan while you’r at it, get that recipe here http://www.hotdatedinner.com/roasted-tomato-marinara/ . For a list of MN Farmers Markets, check out this website http://minnesotagrown.com/.  Use roma tomatoes for this recipe, they have thicker walls and less juice as opposed to sandwich tomatoes.  This is easy and makes a ton, let’s go… (more…)

Greek Chicken Salad with Fresh Cucumber and Herbs

Greek Chicken Salad
Perfect for a picnic or to have as a quick meal for your busy week..

Are you in need of a picnic idea for this upcoming, beautiful summer weekend?  A BUSY week and no time to cook?  This Greek chicken salad is what you need to make.  It is packed with healthy protein from the chicken breasts and Greek yogurt, jazzed up with the addition of fresh dill, parsley and oregano and did I mention FETA??  Quick, easy and so delicious, you will make this one again and again. (more…)

Blueberry and Poppy Seed Slaw

Ingredients for the slaw
A rainbow of color

Blueberry and poppy seed coleslaw is the perfect accompaniment to your next BBQ.   This will pair wonderfully with anything you want to throw on the grill, salmon, chops or brats to name a few.  Look at all of these beautiful colors you will be adding to the diet of those you love with this slaw.  It goes without saying that the more colorful your diet is, the more well balanced it is.  Colorful fruits and vegetables pack a serious nutritional punch adding essential vitamins and fiber to your diet.

Prep work for slaw
Quick prep, a few minutes tops
Dressing ingedients
Ingredients for dressing, including Greek yogurt, a bit of mayo, Dijon mustard and poppy seeds
Add the dressing
Add the dressing and toss to fully combine before adding the blueberries, this will ensure the blueberries stay intact when tossed in
Add the blueberries
Add the blueberries and lightly toss to help them remain intact

My kids all LOVE coleslaw (they will even have it for a snack) so I am always trying to come up with new ways to present it to them.  The dressing’s main ingredient is plain yogurt  and a touch of sweetness is key.  I hate to add too much (if any) sugar so I added the blueberries for the majority of the sweetness in this one and it got great reviews from my crew.  The colors are beautiful and this slaw, like most, it gets better as it sits.  Poppy seeds are less allergenic than many other nuts and seeds and provide a great color contrast in the slaw.  Blueberry season is in full swing, so look for these gems locally or at your market.  Enjoy!!

Add the dressing and toss to fully combine before adding the blueberries, this will ensure the blueberries stay intact when tossed in
A beautiful presentation

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Grilled Tuna, Fennel, Onion and Olive Salad

PATIO PERFECTION!!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you BEAUTIFUL WOMEN!!!!   Tim and I made this last night for hot date dinner and let me say, it was amazing hot off the grill and possibly better cold today for lunch!  You most certainly could use ground fennel, but toasting (to do this put seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat about 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally) and grinding the fennel seed gives it a little boost that is really delicious!  Pour that cold glass of Chardonnay, this is patio perfect.  Cheers friends and here’s to all of you great mamas out there, enjoy!!! (more…)

Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken Salad with Curry and Lime

Looks beautiful, tastes amazing, packed with healthy foods…give this one a try!

My good friend, Sara, recently asked me for an idea for a “Summer entrée.”  Now, this is the kind of question I LOVE to get and once asked I sat down and chicken, the grill, lots of veggies and herbs started swirling my head and this salad was created.  I have served it twice since it was born and both times received rave reviews.  Try this one my friends, it is not only great for you, packed with nutrition, but it is flavorful and presents beautifully.  Cheers to Summer!! (more…)

Red Slaw with Mint and Jalapeno

Sweet, spicy, and bursting with herby freshness….make this one for your next BBQ!

Mint was my inspiration for this salad as it is for many of my dishes.  If you grow mint, like I do, you know that you will NEVER run out so the more recipes the better.  Stick with me, we will use it this summer!!  No worries, if you are not growing it, it is plentiful at the local farmers markets and in most stores you shop at.  This is a great slaw, with some kick from the jalapeno, sweetness from the carrot and freshness from the herbs.  Pair this with any BBQ or as topping on a grilled chicken or fish taco.  (more…)

The Chicken Salad

The Chicken Salad with Almonds, Celery and Craisins
Just simply, the best chicken salad..yes, I said it, THE BEST!!

Need that go to chicken salad recipe?  Have a lacrosse tournament out of town like we do this weekend?  Soccer, baseball, softball….I know you might be on the run.  This is a great, QUICK meal to make and pack for a nutritious, delicious meal on the go.  This is also the perfect hot date dinner and would pair beautifully with your favorite chilled glass of wine.  No matter the occasion, this is a winner.  TRY IT!! (more…)

Hummus and Veggie Wrap

 

 

Anything goes with this one!!

A beautiful weekend is upon us here in MN, hope it is for you too, wherever that may be.  This is a great meal for a picnic, for the patio or deck, or just about anywhere.  Wraps are very versatile, use whatever you have on hand.  I really love the combination of freshness, pickle and great garlicy flavor from the hummus in this one, but this is your opportunity to show off some creativity.  Avocados, tomatoes, apples, greens, beets…you name it, it can be used here.  Cheers to being outside!!     (more…)

Rhubarb Streusel

This is the one, you know from that worn, tattered, church cookbook that everyone LOVES…this is that recipe.  My mom has been making this since I can remember and it never fails that there is a pan of this on her counter at all times during the summer.  I now make it for my family and friends and it is a favorite here as well.  Rest-assured this may be the ONLY recipe I will use Jello  in, but it is a must here to provide a “jammy” layer to the dessert.  Rhubarb is a sure sign Spring is here to stay despite a MN, May 1st snowfall.   Grab some from a neighbor or from your local market, you won’t be sorry!! (more…)

Greek-Style Salad

         Beautiful, tasty, and GREAT for you, MAKE THIS!!

A salad can be a tough sell to Tim for hot date dinner, but with some attention to the components of the salad anyone will be pleased.   I was inspired to make this salad based on things I had in my refrigerator and pantry.  The dish turned out beautifully, full of flavor and packed with protein, fiber and all good things from these gorgeous veggies.  Try this one, I think you’ll love it too!!  Cheers! (more…)

Grilled Steak and Herb Salad

 New seasons are one of my biggest inspirations when it comes to menu planning and recipe developing.  Seeing chives in my garden screams, “Spring is finally here!”  So, something with herbs, something on the grill and something for company were my criteria…..grilled steak and herb salad was my answer.   I made this over this past weekend for hot date dinner for my sister and brother-in-law and I think I can safely say it was a big hit.  This one is packed with flavor, from the ingredients in the marinade, the dressing and from all of the fresh herbs in the salad.  Give this a try next time you are entertaining!  Cheers!! (more…)