Monday, May 28, 2012

Picnic Fixin's

My husband and I along with a friend will be heading out today on a wine adventure.  We will be heading out to visit 4 Virginia Wineries in Nelson County, Virginia.  I wanted to take along a picnic lunch and munchies for us to eat along our journey.

Honey Roasted Nuts
This recipe came from Sue Bee Honey.
6 cups peanuts, or any combination of pecans, almonds or cashews (I used pecans, almonds and cashews)
1/2 cup local honey
1/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted nuts)
Melt together honey and butter.  Pour mixture over nuts and stir to coat.  Spread evenly on a cookie sheet (I used non stick foil on top of the cookie sheet - helps with cleanup and easier to stir) and sprinkle with cinnamon and salt.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring several times until golden (I stirred them every 5 minutes which worked perfectly).  Spread onto waxed paper and cool completely.  Break nuts apart and store in airtight container.  Makes approximately 12-1/4 cup servings.

**When I make these again I will add more cinnamon and salt to add more flavor.  Also I think these would be great if a little cayenne pepper was added along with the cinnamon.  I think there are a lot of flavor combinations that can be done.

Summer Pasta Salad
This recipe came from an issue of Cuisine at Home.
For the Yogurt Herb Sauce:
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup feta, crumbled (picked up fresh from the farmers market Saturday)
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
3 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves (have this growing in my garden)
2 tablespoon fresh mint leaves (have this growing in my garden)
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon local honey
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
Combine spinach, yogurt, feta, herbs, lemon juice, salt and pepper for the sauce in a food processor.  Drizzle in oil and process until smooth; set aside.
For the Pasta:
2-1/2 cups dry penne pasta
1 cup roasted red bell pepper, cut into strips
1/2 cup kalamata olive, pitted and halved
Yogurt Herb Sauce
Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse with cold water.  Toss pasta with bell pepper, olives and sauce.  Place in refrigerator.

Rosemary Chicken Salad
This is a recipe I found in a cooking light magazine several years ago and use this every time I want to have chicken salad sandwiches. I love the freshness of the rosemary.
3 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 3/4 pound)**
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup smoked almonds
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (I grow this in my garden and have it year round)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Bread or rolls of your choice.
Combine first 9 ingredients. Place salad onto bread of choice and serve.  **I cooked my by first cutting up the chicken into small bite size pieces.  Place chicken into a skillet drizzled with olive oil over medium heat.  I try not to brown the chicken as this makes it somewhat tough in the salad.

Napa Cabbage Coleslaw
My husband went to the farmers market in Forest, VA Saturday and picked up a bunch of really fresh organic vegetables.  Among those vegetables was a head of napa cabbage.  I decided to make a cole slaw.
1 head of napa cabbage
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup dried cranberries
salt and pepper to taste
Cut the cabbage by slicing it.  Chop the slices into smaller pieces.  Place cabbage into a large bowl.   Add remaining ingredients, mix well.  Every time I make cole slaw I can always hear my grandmother leaning over my shoulder telling me to use my hands to mix the slaw up.  By using your hands it makes it easier to get the ingredients to incorporate.  So of course I used my hands to mix the slaw.  Add more or less mayonnaise as needed.

Crispy Cheese Wafers
To go along with the nuts for a little snack I chose this recipe.  This recipe goes back to when I was in high school cooking class.  I haven't made them in years but thought that these would pair perfect with wine.
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used a white sharp cheddar)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
Combine cheese and margarine.  Stir in Worcestershire sauce and salt.  Add flour, mix well to form a dough.  Add any of the below seeds, optional.  Form dough into a roll about 1-1/2 inches in diameter.  Wrap tightly in wax paper and chill in refrigerator several hours or overnight.  To add a little variety you can add all or any of the following:
1-1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
1-1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds (I used poppy seeds)
1/8 teaspoon oregano
1-1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cut dough into thin slices.  Place on greased cookie sheet, leaving enough space for them to spread out a little bit.  Bake 10 minutes.  Leave on cookie sheet for about 5 minutes to cool then transfer to a cooking rack.

This post was shared on Easy Natural Food Summer Salad Sundays 6/03/2012


  1. What a great selection of salads! They all sound really tasty. I'd be too busy eating to try any of the wine :) Thanks for sharing this with Summer Salad Sundays, look forward to seeing you again soon!

  2. Debbie, Thank you for your comment. All of the salads were fixed the day before and traveled really well in the cooler. Sue