Plant-Forward Picnic Recipes Perfect for Spring
(Family Features) Between the welcome warmth of the sun’s rays and a nearly universal desire to get outdoors, springtime is a beloved season for enjoying an al fresco meal. Add in fresh produce to heighten the flavors of family favorites and the table is set for a delicious picnic.
Whether your warm-weather adventures take you to a nearby park, a neighbor’s patio or simply your own backyard, satisfying those spring cravings often starts with plant-forward dishes. From tomatoes and onions to mushrooms, Brussels sprouts and other fruits and veggies, you can rely on Mother Nature to give picnic recipes a boost.
For example, these fresh ideas from Aramark’s Feed Your Potential program offer easy solutions to take your loved ones outdoors for a meal all can enjoy. As a popular springtime lunch, sandwiches provide the opportunity to customize servings according to each person’s preferences.
These Portobello Mozzarella Sandwiches are a plant-forward version loaded with grilled mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, pesto mayo, arugula and a balsamic glaze on ciabatta rolls. For an added touch of freshness, a homemade tomato bruschetta topping combines tomatoes, red onions, basil and more to capitalize on a peak produce season.
No picnic is complete without a side that perfectly complements the main course. For a delicious solution that’s fast and easy to make, try a new twist on an al fresco classic: coleslaw. A healthy accompaniment to the sandwiches, this Apricot Brussels Sprouts Coleslaw is an ideal spring dish that calls for less than 10 ingredients and requires simple prep so you can make it fresh before heading out the door.
Visit Aramark’s Feed Your Potential website, fyp365.com, to find more picnic-worthy recipe ideas.
Portobello Mozzarella Sandwiches
Recipe courtesy of Aramark
Tomato Bruschetta Topping:
- 1/4 pound fresh plum tomatoes, cored and diced
- 2 tablespoons red onion, peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 pinch ground black pepper
- 1 pinch fresh garlic, peeled and finely minced
- 1 pound fresh portobello mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed, sliced thin
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 1/2 tablespoons prepared basil pesto
- 4 ciabatta rolls (4-by-4 inches), split in half
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced small
- 4 ounces tomato bruschetta topping
- 2 ounces fresh baby arugula
- 1/4 cup balsamic glaze
- To make tomato bruschetta topping: In bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, basil, olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Set aside.
- To make sandwiches: Preheat grill pan or grill to medium heat.
- Toss sliced mushrooms with olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Grill mushrooms until fork-tender, 3-4 minutes on each side. Let cool.
- Mix mayonnaise with pesto until combined. Spread 2 tablespoons pesto mayonnaise on cut sides of each roll.
- For each sandwich, layer 1/4 of grilled mushrooms, mozzarella slices, tomato bruschetta topping, arugula and balsamic glaze.
- Top with other roll halves. Cut diagonally in half to serve.
Apricot Brussels Sprouts Coleslaw
Recipe courtesy of Aramark
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups trimmed and shredded Brussels sprouts
- 1 cup dried apricot, diced
- 1 cup red onion, trimmed and diced
- Combine mustard, honey, sugar, salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Add Brussels sprouts, apricot and onion; toss to coat.
Filling Family Comfort Foods
Family Features) Just the thought of comfort foods is often enough to warm the soul, especially as cool winds blow and temperatures drop. When cooler weather calls for hearty meals to give your family a warming boost, you can turn to simple shortcuts for comforting flavor without skipping on quality.
It's hard to go wrong with a casserole on a chilly day. This Chicken and Rice Casserole with Spinach and Mushrooms is made with simple ingredients you probably already have on hand. Because it takes just 20 minutes to make, this recipe is easy to put on the table quickly and may become a new family favorite. Plus, you only use a couple of dishes to prepare, which makes for a simple cleanup after a filling meal.
Parmesan Stuffed Peppers with Rice is the perfect recipe if you are looking for a tasty dish that's a little outside the box. It's an Italian spin on a classic dish using a variety of cheeses packed into colorful bell peppers. You can preheat the oven while completing the minimal preparation then bake to a bubbling, golden perfection.
The convenience, taste, texture and quality of Success Brown Rice as one of the main ingredients in these recipes helps make mealtime a cinch. In fact, any variety can be used in this recipe, including white rice, quinoa and more. Its "Boil-in-Bag" cooking process provides a satisfying shortcut as you simply add water to a saucepan, drop the BPA-free bag into the water, boil for 10 minutes and remove with a fork for a no mess, no measure timesaver.
Visit SuccessRice.com for more comfort food recipes.
Chicken and Rice Casserole with Spinach and Mushrooms
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 1 bag Success Brown Rice
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/3 cup chopped onions
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 package (4 ounces) mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 4 cups baby spinach leaves
- 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Prepare rice according to package directions. In small bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan and parsley; reserve.
- In large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions and garlic; saute 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and wine to skillet. Continue cooking 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spinach and chicken. Stir until spinach is wilted and chicken is heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in rice, salt and pepper.
- Serve casserole topped with dollops of reserved cheese mixture.
Parmesan Stuffed Peppers with Rice
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 2 bags Success Brown Rice
- 2 cups (or 1 can, 15 ounces) tomato sauce, divided
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1/4 cup basil pesto
- 3 large bell peppers in assorted colors, halved lengthwise
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
- Preheat oven to 425 F. Prepare rice according to package directions.
- Add 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce to greased 13-by-9-inch baking dish. In bowl, toss rice with remaining tomato sauce, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and pesto.
- Divide rice mixture evenly among peppers. Place stuffed peppers in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle mozzarella and remaining Parmesan cheese over peppers.
- Cover with foil; bake 18-20 minutes, or until peppers are tender, filling is heated through and cheese is melted. Remove foil. Broil 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown. Garnish with fresh basil.
Substitutions: Use fontina or provolone for mozzarella cheese and olive tapenade for basil pesto.
Source: Success Rice