(NAPSI)-The next time you're looking for inspiration to liven up a picnic, take a cue from Chef Dan Kish, former Associate Dean at The Culinary Institute of America and current Vice President of Food at Panera Bread. "Salads, seasonal fruit, frozen treats and picnic-ready sandwiches are simple and delicious additions to any outing."
To spice up the same-old sandwiches, Kish suggests picking up a few loaves of freshly baked bread. Try chicken salad on slices of tomato basil bread or top toasted Asiago cheese bread with a variety of dips and spreads for an appetizer. From focaccia and sesame semolina to Ciabatta and sourdough, there are seemingly endless bread options to please every picnicker.
Kish also recommends using last night's leftovers as today's picnic lunch. Mix this morning's bacon and hard-boiled eggs with grilled chicken and some freshly chopped romaine lettuce for a delicious chopped Cobb salad. If you don't have time to make a salad on your own, you can try Panera's version of this much-loved and delicious classic. Made with all-natural antibiotic-free pepper mustard chicken, Applewood-smoked bacon, hard-boiled eggs, crumbled Gorgonzola and served on a bed of crisp romaine lettuce, the chopped Cobb salad is a savory addition to any picnic.
For those looking to get their fruit fix, Kish suggests creating a salad that uses the season's freshest fruit. Create your own version of a Panera favorite, the Strawberry Poppyseed Salad, by using garden-fresh lettuce, juicy strawberries and blueberries and other fresh fruit, such as pineapple and Mandarin oranges. Top the salad with crispy pecans for a little crunch. For those looking to eat lighter, Kish advises packing dressing on the side to help control calories and avoid soggy lettuce.
Once you've finished the salads and sandwiches, wind down the afternoon with a frozen lemonade. With a few fresh-squeezed lemons, sugar and some ice, it's a great way to relax and refresh on a warm day.
For a wholesome picnic sandwich, try this recipe.
Roasted Red Pepper and
(Makes 2 sandwiches)
2 Ciabatta loaves, cut in half lengthwise
½ cup roasted garlic hummus
1 small jar of roasted red peppers
½ avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into ¼" slices
juice of ½ fresh lemon
½ tomato cut into ¼" slices
2 small leaves of lettuce
salt and pepper
Spread ¼ of the roasted garlic hummus on each of the four halves of Ciabatta. Top two of the halves with pieces of the roasted red pepper, followed by the avocado slices. Drizzle a bit of lemon juice over the avocado, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Layer tomato and lettuce on top of the avocado, then finish with the two remaining Ciabatta halves. Cut each sandwich in half and fasten with a toothpick.
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