(Family Features) After an extended period of social distancing, this year will be a time for reuniting with family and friends. Picnic get-togethers filled with delicious food are one of the best ways to reunite with loved ones when you’re ready for those long-overdue laughs.
While planning the perfect outdoor gathering can feel overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. With these simple tips, it can be easy to organize a memorable picnic reunion.
Make it fun. Whether it’s a water balloon toss or a three-legged race, organizing a few games for your guests can be a simple way to reconnect and have fun together. Outdoor games like ring toss and potato sack races or arts and crafts are activities all ages can enjoy.
Reach for pantry staples. No picnic is complete without good food. When planning your menu and packing your cooler, don’t stress. Before you make an extra trip to your local farmers market or grocery store, be sure to check your pantry. You probably already have the makings for simple yet delicious meals and snacks. For example, canned fruits, vegetables and proteins – like wild-caught tuna, salmon and sardines – can help you create and elevate your picnic recipes.
Host an eco-friendly picnic. Good food and good weather help make a successful picnic, but ensuring you leave your space as you found it is equally important. To minimize waste, invest in reusable picnicware, like utensils and plates. Also consider swapping your paper napkins for cloth versions. Not only are they more environmentally friendly, but they’ll also elevate the overall look of your picnic.
No grill, no problem. As more people seek out substitutes for red meat, change up your menu and serve seafood as a delicious alternative. For example, an Albacore Bliss Bowl made with Chicken of the Sea Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water is a versatile choice that can be topped with veggies like cabbage, cucumber and carrot then drizzled with a homemade dressing. Since there’s no cooking required, you can easily prep ahead of time or even on-site. For those taking part in the day’s games and activities, try these Salmon Rollups which make perfect handheld snacks.
For more recipe inspiration while planning your next picnic reunion, visit chickenofthesea.com .
Albacore Bliss Bowl
Total time: 10 minutes
- 2 cans (5 ounces each) Chicken of the Sea Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water, drained and flaked
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup chopped purple cabbage
- 1/3 cup diced cucumber
- 1/3 cup shredded carrot
- 1/3 cup diced red pepper
- 1/3 cup diced mango
- 1/3 cup chopped green onions
- 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds or black sesame seeds
- Divide cooked quinoa between four bowls. Top each with evenly divided tuna, cabbage, cucumber, carrots, red peppers, mango and green onions.
- In small bowl, whisk apple cider vinegar, olive oil, honey, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Drizzle over each bowl. Garnish with sesame seeds.
Total time: 15 minutes
- 1 can (5 ounce) Chicken of the Sea Pink Salmon
- 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup thick and chunky salsa, plus additional for dipping (optional)
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup corn chips, crushed
- 4 flour tortillas (8 inches)
- 4 large leafy green lettuce leaves, washed and patted dry
- In bowl, combine cream cheese and 1/2 cup salsa until light and fluffy. Stir in salmon, cheese and corn chips.
- Spread 1/4 filling to within 1/2 inch of each tortilla edge. Arrange one lettuce leaf over filling. Roll up tortillas and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1-3 hours.
- To serve, remove plastic wrap, trim ends from rolls and cut each into 3-4 slices. Serve with additional salsa, if desired.
Source: Chicken of the Sea
(Family Features) A distinctive and unexpected ingredient like rice vinegar is an easy way to bring faraway flavors to your favorite summer dishes. This pantry staple adds an Asian-inspired flavor to recipes of all kinds, from marinades to high-end meals.
Explore a new way to enjoy steak this summer with a recipe for zesty, marinated beef paired with crisp broccolini and peppers to give a familiar dish a fresh makeover using flavors from another origin. Give fajitas an Asian makeover with shrimp seared in a decadent hoisin-ginger sauce or try a fresh take on a crunchy salad with this Mexican-meets-Asian layered approach that’s perfect for lunch.
Include seasonal produce like cucumbers, bell peppers and tomatoes to enhance your summer flavor fusions. Pantry staples like black beans and canned corn also offer accessible ways to make elevated summer classics.
Capture Asian flavors with ingredients like NAKANO Rice Vinegar, which has perfected its rice vinegars over eight generations to offer unique and delicious flavors perfect for making mouthwatering Asian-inspired recipes at home.
Pro Flavor-Fusion Tips
- The key to a successful stir-fry is to use high heat to quickly cook meats and vegetables in stages without overcrowding the pan. This ensures that veggies stay slightly crisp, and meats develop a delicious sear instead of steaming.
- Avocado oil has one of the highest smoke points, making it a great choice for high-heat cooking like stir-frying.
- Hoisin sauce, which you can find in the Asian section of most grocery stores, is used frequently in Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine. It’s a salty, fermented soybean paste often combined with garlic, chiles and five-spice powder, which adds a sweet, umami-rich, aromatic flavor to the dish.
- Shishito peppers are slender, mild, green Japanese peppers available in the produce section of well-stocked grocery stores or Asian markets. If shishito peppers are unavailable, substitute with multicolored mini peppers.
- To accommodate those who love a lot of spice and those who prefer less spice, serve mild-to-medium-spicy foods with additional chili sauce on the side.
- Swap out heavy, high-calorie salad dressings for a splash of additional flavor with NAKANO rice vinegar.
Find more flavorful ways to put an Asian twist on your summer dishes at nakanoflavors.com.
Sizzling Shrimp Fajita Stir-Fry
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 1 1/2 pounds large, raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (21-25 shrimp total)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
- 1/4 cup NAKANO Roasted Garlic Rice Vinegar
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1 red onion, cut into thin slivers
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
- 1/2 pound shishito peppers, stemmed
- 6 warmed corn or flour tortillas
- 1/2 cup finely shredded red cabbage
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
- In medium bowl, combine shrimp, 2 teaspoons soy sauce and 2 teaspoons cornstarch; let stand 5 minutes to marinate.
- In separate bowl, whisk remaining soy sauce, remaining cornstarch, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce and ginger until blended.
- In large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add half of shrimp; cook 1 minute on each side. Transfer to clean bowl; repeat with remaining shrimp. Wipe out skillet with paper towel.
- In same pan, heat remaining oil until shimmering. Add red onion, bell pepper and shishito peppers. Cook, stirring, 2-4 minutes until peppers begin to blister. Add vinegar mixture; cook, stirring, 1-2 minutes, or until sauce is slightly thickened. Add shrimp to pan. Cook, tossing well until shrimp and vegetables are coated with sauce.
- Fill tortillas with shrimp mixture, cabbage and green onions.
Spicy Steak and Broccoli
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 1 beef tenderloin (1 1/2 pounds), cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil, divided
- 2 cups multicolored, mini sweet peppers, cut into thin rings
- 1/4 pound broccolini, cut into 3-inch sections
- 2 large shallots, chopped
- 1/4 cup NAKANO Seasoned Rice Vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon sambal oelek (Asian-chili garlic sauce) or sriracha
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- In medium bowl, combine beef, soy sauce, cornstarch, black pepper and garlic powder.
- In large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add peppers, broccolini and shallots; cook 3 minutes, or until tender crisp. Transfer to clean bowl.
- In same skillet over high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add half of beef in single layer. Cook undisturbed 2 minutes, or until bottoms are browned. Stir. Cook 1 minute, or until outer surfaces are no longer pink. Transfer to bowl with vegetables. Repeat with remaining oil and beef. Return beef and vegetables to skillet over medium-high heat.
- In small bowl, combine rice vinegar, sugar, sambal oelek, salt and ginger. Add mixture to pan. Cook 2 minutes, or until sauce is slightly thickened.
Glass Jar Layered Taco Salad
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 1/2 avocado
- 1/4 teaspoon serrano pepper
- 1 tablespoon cilantro
- 2 tablespoons NAKANO Organic Seasoned Rice Vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 1/3 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup corn
- 1/2 cup red cabbage, shredded
- 1/2 cup jicama, diced
- 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed
- 1/2 cup shredded green cabbage
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup extra-firm tofu, diced
- 1/2 cup corn chips, crushed
- 1/2 cup spinach
- 1 tablespoon queso fresco
- In bowl, mash avocado and add serrano pepper, cilantro, rice vinegar, sesame oil, lime juice and salt. Stir to combine.
- Build salad in layers of corn, cabbage, jicama, black beans, cabbage, tomatoes, tofu, corn chips, spinach and queso fresco while adding drizzles of dressing between layers.