501 Life Magazine | The perfect picnic
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The perfect picnic

The single most important item to ensure a perfect picnic is a good food chest or cooler. If you only go on picnics for two, a large cooler is probably unnecessary and cumbersome. If you usually picnic with a large group, you may want to invest in a couple coolers of different sizes that will easily accommodate varying shapes of food. It’s also helpful to be able to separate the cold dishes from the warm ones. Different-sized packets of frozen blue ice kept in your freezer will allow you to picnic at a moment’s notice.
These recipes are sure to be a hit at your next outing. Happy picnicking!

 TRAVEL TIPS

Pack the foods to be eaten last at the bottom of the bag or chest and the first on top, so that you don’t have to unpack everything at once.

Use vacuum-packed containers to avoid leaks and soggy bags; seal the containers in plastic bags.

Pack soft foods such as deviled eggs, tomatoes or fruit in hard plastic containers or egg cartons.

If you are serving a hot soup, preheat the thermos with boiling water. For a cold soup, chill the thermos with ice water for several minutes.

Divide or cut FOOD portions in your kitchen. It’s much easier to serve pieces or slices of grilled chicken or beef than to carve them on the ground.

Pack garnishes in plastic bags. Parsley, basil, mint and herb flowers should be sprinkled with water before packing. Keep them in the cooler.

Salsa Verde Chicken Wraps
1 cup Pace Salsa Verde
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 large red pepper, diced
1 large avocado, diced
1/2 cup sour cream
4 (10 inch) flour tortillas, warmed
2 cups shredded lettuce

Stir 1/2 cup salsa, chicken, pepper and avocado in a large bowl. Stir the remaining salsa and sour cream in a small bowl.
Spread 1/4 cup sour cream mixture onto each tortilla to within 1/2 inch of the edge. Top each with 1 cup chicken mixture and 1/2 cup lettuce. Fold the sides of the tortillas over the filling and then fold up the ends to enclose the filling. Cut each wrap in half before serving.

Chocolate Orange Crunch Truffles
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/3 cup Smucker’s Orange Marmalade Simply Fruit
1 cup puffed rice cereal

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Place the chocolate and cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Carefully melt the chocolate, stirring to blend with cream. Remove from heat and stir in the orange marmalade. Mix until blended, then fold in the rice cereal. Spoon the mixture by tablespoons onto the baking sheet. Repeat until all of the mixture is used.
Chill the truffles in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Place each truffle in a small decorated paper cup.
Thai Cucumber Salad
3 large cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped peanuts

Toss the cucumbers with the salt in a colander, and leave in the sink to drain for 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water, then drain and pat dry with paper towels.
Whisk together the sugar and vinegar in a mixing bowl until the sugar has dissolved. Add the cucumbers, jalapeno peppers, and cilantro; toss to combine. Sprinkle chopped peanuts on top before serving.

Caprese on a Stick
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 (.6 ounce) package fresh basil leaves
1 (16 ounce) package small fresh mozzarella balls
toothpicks
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Thread a tomato half, a small piece of basil leaf, and a mozzarella ball onto toothpicks until all ingredients are used. Drizzle the olive oil over the tomato, cheese and basil, leaving the end of the toothpick clean. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.