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Feature Article: Quick Picnic Planning Tips
Quick and Easy Salads
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FEATURE ARTICLE- Picnic Planning Tips
By Cassandra Harrell
The food for your picnic is always the life blood of the event and will determine the success or failure. But it’s also important to first focus on these key elements that brings it all together.
· A Pleasing Menu: Select foods that both children and adults will enjoy. If there will be seniors present, make sure you have a menu that will compliment their dietary and health needs if necessary. The idea is to serve a variety of foods that will be pleasing to everyone.
· A Great Flow: Make sure you have carefully planned the flow of traffic from the start of the serving line to finish. Everyone should have easy access to the buffet table without interfering with guests that are seated.
· Prepare in Advance: Make as many items on the menu beforehand as possible. Also, if weather permit, set the buffet table the night or morning before the picnic. When ready to serve, all you have to do is add the food.
· Have Plenty of Food: Always have more food than you think you’ll need. It’s best to have more food than not have enough. Running out of food usually don’t set well with people.
Take time and carefully plan your picnic. Planning is key to a successful event. Have fun!
QUICK AND EASY SUMMER SALADS -
Use these wonderful and delicious salads for your summer meals.
2 cups ranch salad dressing
1 ½ tablespoons sugar
1 head lettuce, torn into bite size pieces
3 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
½ cup celery, diced
6 eggs, hard boiled and sliced
1/2 cup diced green peppers
1 medium onion, chopped
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
Grated cheese, optional
Mix salad dressing and sugar. Set aside. In a 9 X 12 inch casserole dish, layer the following: lettuce, tomatoes, celery, eggs, peppers, onion, and bacon. Spread dressing on top of salad. Sprinkle grated cheese over top of dressing if desired. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
GREEN BEAN AND SESAME SALAD
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
Place beans in a large pot then cover with water halfway. Bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and rinse in cold water; pat dry. Place in a serving bowl. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk the soy sauce, canola oil, sugar, vinegar, sesame oil and salt. Pour over beans and toss to coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds; toss again. Serve at room temperature. Yield: 5 servings.
CLASSIC MACARONI SALAD
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
8 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked, drained
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup chopped green or red pepper
¼ cup chopped onion
In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir in macaroni, celery, pepper and onions. Cover; chill. Yield: 5 cups.
MIXED VEGETABLE SALAD
1 (16 ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped green pepper
¾ cup sugar
½ cup vinegar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Season salt and pepper to taste
½ teaspoon red ground pepper, optional
Cook mixed vegetables in a medium pot on the stove with enough water to slightly cover vegetables or in the microwave until crisp-tender. Drain; place in a large bowl. Add kidney beans, celery, onion and green pepper. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar, vinegar and cornstarch to a boil, stirring constantly, until thickened. Cool slightly.
Pour sugar mixture over vegetables and toss. Add garlic powder, salt, pepper and red pepper if desired. Refrigerate.
RECIPES FROM SUBSCRIBERS -
CARAMEL BANANA CREAM PIE
RECIPE FROM HELEN
8 or 9-inch graham cracker crust
2 tbsp. milk
3 1/2 oz. pkg. instant vanilla
pudding and pie filling
1 c. cold milk
1 c. frozen whipped topping, thawed
Additional banana slices
In small saucepan, melt caramels with milk over low heat, stirring occasionally until smooth. In small bowl combine pudding mix and milk, blend at low speed until smooth. Fold in whipped topping.
To assemble pie, but 1 banana into slices, arrange evenly over bottom of crust. Drizzle caramel mixture evenly over bananas. Slice second banana, place slices over caramel layer. Spread pudding mixture over bananas. Refrigerate to chill. To serve cut into wedges. Garnish top with banana slices. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
BBQ RIB MARINADE
RECIPE FROM LYNN
Here's a recipe I developed when we lived in Bogalusa, LA. Even though Shanny was my friend, she never gave me the recipe - so I developed my own! Enjoy! Lynn
2/3 cup molasses
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/4 capfuls - Crab Boil
1 teaspoon sweet basil
1/3 teaspoon black pepper
Sprinkle with oregano, chili pepper, garlic salt, onion salt.
Add hickory flavor if desired.
Parboil country style ribs about 20 minutes. Marinate at least 8 hours. Use leftover marinade for chicken
(2 - 4 hours), hamburgers (only 30 minutes), etc., or as barbecue sauce.
DEB’S BANANA PUDDING
RECIPE FROM DEBRA
1 (3 ounce) box vanilla instant pudding mix
1 ½ cups regular milk
1 (14 ounce) can eagle brand milk
8 ounces cool whip, softened
4 to 6 ripe bananas, sliced thin
1 ½ (11 ounce) bags vanilla wafers
In a large bowl, whisk together pudding and sweet milk; add eagle milk and cool whip. Mix together until creamy. Set aside. In a large bowl, add a layer of bananas and a layer of wafers. Spoon half of pudding mixture over wafers.
Repeat process with bananas and wafers. Spoon remaining pudding over wafers. Top with wafers. Chill.
Thanks to everyone who sent in recipes for this edition. I appreciate it!
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CASSANDRA’S QUICK TIPS FOR PURCHASING FRESH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
· Purchase bananas that’s slightly green and allow them to ripen at room temperature. The skin should be free of bruises or colored spots.
· Cantaloupes are ripe if the stem scar is smooth and the space between the netting is yellow or yellow-green. When fully ripe, they will carry a fruity odor.
· Watermelons are ripe if there is some yellow color on one side. If melons are white or pale green on one side, they are not fully ripe.
· When purchasing strawberries that are in containers, make sure you check the bottom to see the condition of the berries underneath. Usually the best berries are on top.
· Leafy vegetables such as greens should have healthy, green leaves that have not wilted or yellowed.
· When choosing fresh lima beans or peas, select pods that are well-filled, but not bulging. Avoid dry looking, spotty or pods that have yellowed.
· Choose cabbage that are heavy in weight and does not have holds on top. Avoid cabbage that color has faded.
Watch for more exciting tips next month!
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Until Next Time
Cassandra Harrell is an avid soul food lover and the author of the new Soul Food Lovers’ Cookbook with 250 easy-to-follow soul food and southern recipes from three generations of Southern cooks. Throughout the cookbook you’re find helpful cooking tips and fun recipe stories about the dish.
Editor & Soul Food Advisor
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