Menu: Summer Picnic

Who doesn’t love an outdoor picnic in the summer! I was having company of four adults and three kids over to our tiny apartment the other night. I felt bad that the kids would be “cooped” up and unoccupied, so we decided to take dinner down to the park in the middle of our apartment complex. It turned out great! Also, I had wanted to have most of the preparations done before people arrived so that no one would feel obligated to help me, and I would be free to visit with friends and not worry about food. Well, this menu lends itself perfectly to that. The only thing that needed to be warm was the chicken, and I had made it ahead of time, left it on trays in the oven, and warmed it up for about 10-15 minutes once everyone had arrived and we were about ready to eat. Enjoy!

Mom’s Chicken Fingers

So good, and so incredibly easy!! I stole this from my mom. She usually makes hers in a deep-fryer, but I don’t have one, so I use a skillet on the stove-top. 

For a dinner party of around 9-10:

8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced into one-inch strips
crackers (I use Turkish fish crackers, mom uses a sleeve of saltines)
3 eggs

Begin by whisking your eggs in one bowl, and crushing your crackers in another. (You may find it easier to crush the crackers with a slicer or in a bag.) Heat a 1/4-1/2″ of oil in your skillet on the stove. Take your chicken strips, dip into the whisked eggs, dip into the cracker mixture so that the strips are completely coated, and place into the skillet. Allow the strips to cook until the crackers turn a golden brown (usually about 3-5 minutes) on each side. If you have thicker cuts of chicken, it will be important to leave them in a little longer so as to cook all the way through the meat.

You’re finished! I placed mine on baking sheets and left them in the oven until company arrived, then I just warmed them up for about 10 minutes, and they were great! These strips even taste great cold. We used to take them on the boat for dinner on the lake when I lived at home, and they are perfect!!

Honey Mustard

Now, I am an experimental cook, meaning that I don’t often measure things. So, I have no idea how much of everything I use in this recipe!! But, just guess and taste until you get it right.

Mustard (any kind, I’ve used dijon, sweet, normal yellow . . .)
Honey – optional
Cracked Pepper – optional (but it makes it prettier!) 

I usually start with my mayonnaise and put close to 3/4 cup of mayonnaise in a bowl. Then, I add around 1/4 cup of mustard. If you want it a little sweeter, add just a few squeezes of honey. I wanted mine to look pretty last night, so I added some cracked pepper, and it looked great. Just keep stirring and tasting until you get it to the right mixture of sweet and tangy!

Italian Pasta Salad

Nothing special here, just a tried and true pasta salad. 

Mixed pasta
Italian Dressing

Cook your desired amount of pasta. Drain. Add Italian dressing (I used an entire bottle on my large bowl of pasta.) Add some tomatoes and olives. Put in the refrigerator. Done. You can also add some peppers, onions, or other vegetables as well. 

BLT Salad

I discovered this recipe my first year of marriage, and it is one of the best ways to get my husband to eat vegetables! 

3 slices of cooked bacon (keep the drippings!)
Bread (any kind)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbs. vinegar
Any leafy spice

Combine chopped lettuce, tomatoes, and onions. Crumble bacon on top of the salad. Mix together the mayonnaise, bacon drippings, vinegar, and a dash of your favorite spice. Pour over salad. Butter the bread and toast in a skillet until crispy and toss on top of the salad. Voila!

Fruit Salad & Cinnamon Crisps

I did this on a whim, but was really happy with the outcome! 

Fruits of your choice, I used:
Cinnamon & Sugar

Prepare your fruit salad to your own liking. I added a touch of honey on the top of mine, and also made sure to cut all of my fruits relatively small so that they would be easier to dip the crisps into.

For the crisps, cut your tortillas into small triangularish pieces. Butter on the top, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and bake at around 325* for 5-10 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

That was our dinner! Super easy and summery. Hope you enjoy!


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