How to Pack a Memorable Summer Picnic
Summer’s here, and with it comes a transformation in the meals I like to serve to my family. Rather than the soothing soups, stews and casseroles of winter, summer inspires me to make fresh salads, cool pasta, and even light sandwiches for dinner. No matter what I make I love to incorporate fresh and seasonal produce from the local farmers’ markets in every meal.
By the end of each summer, I’m usually an expert at quick picnic packing, so we can enjoy long, lazy evenings at the pool or park. In choosing what to bring to a picnic, I usually favor dishes that taste good warm or cold, are easy to serve and eat, won’t wilt, melt or need to be refrigerated for too long, and that make enough to share with whoever else shows up to have an impromptu potluck dinner. Some of my favorite dishes to load in my basket from my new cookbook are Mango and Black Bean Salad, Lemon-Basil Summer Pasta Salad, and Spinach, Basil and Red Pepper Wraps (recipe below).
Besides rain or bees, nothing kills the picnic buzz like realizing you forgot the forks or plates! Before heading off to a picnic at the park or pool, I like to make a list of all the items we will need, including:
All the food and condiments
A picnic blanket or tablecloth
Sunscreen and bug spray
A pocket knife or corkscrew
Serving utensils, cups, napkins and plates
Lots of drinks and ice to keep us cool
Here’s a tip: I keep a canvas tote bag at the ready with all the nonperishable picnic essentials, so we can pack a meal on short notice. If we’re running low on something I refill it when we get home, so I don’t have to remember the next time we use the bag.
This summer I hope to get out as much as possible to take advantage of outdoor concerts, parties and water parks. I hope your summer is filled with many delicious indoor and outdoor meals. Enjoy!
Spinach, Basil and Red Pepper Wraps
Prep = 10 minutes
These versatile wraps can make a simple, cool dinner on a hot night, a gourmet lunch, or a fun finger food for a party if you slice them into smaller pieces. Serve the wraps with a White Bean Salad.
4 large whole wheat or flour tortillas
8 tsp. mango chutney or honey mustard, divided
24 basil leaves, divided
8 slices Havarti or Cheddar cheese, divided
1 red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed and cut into long thin strips, divided
4 cups baby spinach, divided
Heat the tortillas in the microwave (some people prefer to heat the over an open flame on the stovetop for a few seconds) until they are warm and soft. Spread 2 tsp. mango chutney or honey mustard on one side of each tortilla. Top the spread on each wrap with 6 basil leaves spread from one end to the other. Top the basil with 2 slices of cheese, 1/4 of the red bell pepper (lay the strips across the middle of the tortilla so you can roll it up), and 1 cup spinach. Roll the wrap as tightly as possible, and slice it in half before serving.
Scramble Flavor Booster: Use spicy chutney or Pepper Jack cheese and extra basil.
Tip: When slicing bell peppers, cut them in large chunks from top to bottom, remove the stem and seeds. Put the smooth skin down on the cutting board to slice or chop it, as it’s easier for your knife to grip the rough inside of the pepper.
Nutritional Information per serving (% based upon daily values):
Calories 310, Total Fat 12g, 18%, Saturated Fat 6g, 30%, Cholesterol 30mg, 10%, Sodium 790mg, 33%, Total Carbohydrate 38g, 13% Dietary Fiber 6g, 24% Sugar 14g, Protein 12g
If you are interested in learning more about Ms. Goldfarb's cookbooks, you should check out her fantastic website. You will find a link to the Scramblog as well as an option to subscribe to her newsletter.
And now for the giveaway....I am so excited that I have a copy of SOS! THE SIX O'CLOCK SCRAMBLE TO THE RESCUE and a 3-month subscription to the Scramble recipe service (described at http://thescramble.com and a $19.50 value) to share with one lucky reader. To enter, just leave a comment with a valid email address telling me why you'd like to win this cookbook. I will take entries until July 4th at 11:59 p.m. ET, and I will announce the winner the following day. This contest is open to those of you in the US and Canada only. Good luck!