(Family Features) Heading outdoors for a fresh, homemade meal is an alluring activity when warm weather and sunshine provide a perfect opportunity for dining on the patio. Or, if some time away from the house is calling your name, packing a lunch and taking off for the park can be an ideal getaway without getting too far from home.
Next time the sun’s rays call your name, invite friends and family for a delicious picnic loaded with warm-weather flavors. Just lay out your favorite blanket on the grass or don an outdoor table with a classic checkered tablecloth then share recipes that make al fresco meals truly memorable.
No picnic is complete without sandwiches loaded with all your favorite toppings, and these Picnic-wiches with Greek Artichoke Beet Salad provide the freshness that outdoor meals are made of. This recipe starts with a homemade relish loaded with Aunt Nellie’s Pickled Beets, artichoke hearts, olives and green onions that complements the winning combination of turkey, feta and ciabatta.
Pair your party tray of sandwiches with a perfect partner like Bean, Tortellini and Pesto Salad made with READ Bean Salad for a complete spread that’ll leave you waiting for the next opportunity to take mealtime outdoors. With just a handful of ingredients and customizable with your desired stir-ins like tomatoes, peppers and green onions, it’s ready in next to no time.
Picnic-wiches with Greek Artichoke Beet Salad
- 1 jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie's Sliced Pickled Beets
- 1 jar (about 6 ounces) marinated artichoke hearts
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata or ripe olives, sliced
- 3 tablespoons sliced green onions
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste (optional)
- 6 romaine lettuce leaves
- 1 pound thinly sliced deli turkey
- 6 ciabatta or sandwich rolls, sliced horizontally
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- Drain beets and artichoke hearts, reserving 1/4 cup liquid from each. Coarsely chop beets and artichoke hearts. In medium bowl, combine beets, artichokes, olives and green onions; set aside.
- In small bowl, whisk reserved beet and artichoke liquids. Pour over beet mixture; toss gently to coat. Season with black pepper, to taste, if desired.
- Layer lettuce and turkey on bottom halves of rolls. Top with relish, as desired; feta cheese; and pine nuts. Top with remaining halves of rolls. Wrap tightly; chill up to 4 hours. Serve with remaining relish.
Bean, Tortellini and Pesto Salad
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) READ 3 or 4 Bean Salad
- 1/4 cup prepared basil pesto
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
- 1 package (9 ounces) refrigerated tortellini
- grape tomatoes (optional)
- halved cherry tomatoes (optional)
- chopped bell pepper (optional)
- thinly sliced green onions (optional)
- Drain bean salad, reserving 1/2 cup liquid. In bowl, combine reserved liquid, pesto and salt, if desired; set aside.
- Cook tortellini according to package directions; drain, rinse in cold water and drain again. Add pesto dressing; toss to coat. Add grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, bell pepper and green onion, as desired. Toss with bean salad.
- Serve at room temperature or chilled.
When the weather is frightfully cold and you need something quick to warm you up, try this recipe for Tomato-Tortellini soup. With only 4 ingredients, you'll be warm and cozy in no time.
For more comfort food ideas, go to www.culinary.net.
Watch video to see how to make this delicious recipe!
- 2 14 ounce cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1 9 ounce package of refrigerated tortellini
- 1 8 ounce tub cream cheese spread with chive and onion
- 1 can tomato soup
- Fresh chives (optional)
- In a medium sauce pan bring broth to a boil. Add tortellini then reduce heat to simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.
- In a bowl whisk 1/3 cup of hot broth into the cream cheese spread. Whisk until smooth. Pour contents into sauce pan.
- Stir in tomato soup and heat through.
- Serve with fresh chives, if desired.
Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens.
Savory dishes featuring pesto
(Family Features) One of the best times of each day is gathering with family members to enjoy home-cooked meals. Using fresh and versatile ingredients, adults can be at ease that everyone is eating right with a nutritious dinner and kids are eating something delicious and relaxing each evening.
Pesto can be used as an ingredient in many recipes and brings a punch of flavor to each dish on the table. For example, it can be served mixed in potatoes, as a spread on sandwiches, dolloped on soups or dips and as a sauce on pasta.
With authentic Italian taste capturing the recipes of the region, Filippo Berio Pestos are made to suit any taste. The versatile flavors include Classic Basil, Sun Dried Tomato, Tomato & Ricotta and Hot Chili and Olive. Each variety is vegetarian, gluten-free and GMO-free, making it the perfect addition to any dinner.
Pesto can be served hot or cold, so it is easy to cook with or add to dishes featuring fresh vegetables, like this recipe for Chicken Caprese Stuffed Spaghetti Squash. Add Savory Zucchini and Fontina Muffins to the meal for a fun twist on muffins.
For a more traditional meal the whole family can enjoy, try this Tomato and Tortellini Soup made with Tomato & Ricotta Pesto. This pesto is based on an age-old Sicilian recipe, combining the sweetness of tomatoes with the smoothness of ricotta cheese and the rich taste of Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
For more flavorful recipes and ways to cook with pesto, visit FilippoBerio.com.
Savory Zucchini and Fontina Muffins
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup Filippo Berio Sun Dried Tomato Pesto, divided
- 1/3 cup Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup shredded zucchini
- 2 green onions, finely chopped
- 12 cubes (1/2 inch each) fontina cheese
- Heat oven to 400° F. Line 12-cup muffin pan with large paper liners.
- In large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. In separate bowl, whisk 1/4 cup pesto, olive oil, milk, sugar and egg; stir into flour mixture until moistened. Fold in zucchini and green onions.
- Divide half the batter evenly among muffin cups; place cube of fontina on top of batter. Top each with 1 teaspoon remaining pesto; top with remaining batter.
- Bake 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown and top of muffin springs back when pressed lightly. Let cool slightly; serve warm.
Tip: To make extra savory, add 1/2 cup cooked and crumbled bacon.
Chicken Caprese Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes
- 2 small spaghetti squash
- 2 tablespoons Filippo Berio Robusto Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
- 3/4 teaspoons salt, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
- 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup Filippo Berio Classic Pesto
- 1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- Heat oven to 400° F. Halve spaghetti squash lengthwise and scrape out seeds; drizzle cut sides with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Bake, cut sides down, on parchment paper-lined baking sheet 45-50 minutes, or until tender. Let cool slightly. Using fork, scrape strands of squash into bowl; reserve squash shells.
- In skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat; cook chicken, onion and remaining salt and pepper about 5 minutes, or until chicken is browned. Stir in pesto; bring to simmer. Cook about 5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Stir in cherry tomatoes; cook about 1 minute, or until slightly softened.
- Toss spaghetti squash with chicken mixture; divide among reserved squash shells. Top with mozzarella cheese; broil 1-2 minutes, or until cheese melts. Sprinkle with chopped basil.
Tip: For a more savory dish, add chopped black olives or jarred artichokes, if desired.
Tomato and Tortellini Soup
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
- 2 tablespoons Filippo Berio Olive Oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1/2 cup Filippo Berio Tomato & Ricotta Pesto
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- pinch of chili pepper flakes
- 1 can (28 ounces) whole Italian-style tomatoes
- 4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 package (12 ounces) fresh cheese tortellini
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
- In large saucepan over medium heat, heat oil; cook onion, garlic, carrot and celery about 5 minutes, or until softened. Add pesto, basil, oregano and chili flakes; cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, salt and pepper; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
- In blender or using immersion blender, puree tomato mixture; return to pan and bring to simmer. Add tortellini; cook 8-10 minutes, or until tender. Sprinkle with parsley and Parmesan.
Tip: Dried basil can be substituted for 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, if desired.
Source: Filippo Berio
(Family Features) While the main course is in the oven and guests mingle in anticipation this holiday season, tide them over with simple appetizers the whole crowd will enjoy.
That sometimes tall task may be easier said than done depending on the size of your get-together, but you can make it less daunting with quick starters that incorporate dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt, which can serve as helpful on-hand ingredients that also provide flavor and nutritional value. Since dairy foods are readily available in many family kitchens, they are ideal for creating recipes for last-minute noshes and nibbles, especially perfect for holiday entertaining.
For quick snacks to help keep appetites at bay, try these Antipasti Holiday Skewers that have something for everyone with bits of pasta, cubed cheese, pepperoni and veggies. Or for a warmer dish perfect for a snowy holiday, this Baked Spinach Artichoke Yogurt Dip can help chase away the chill.
Other easy ways to give the gift of dairy during the holidays by incorporating it into tasty dishes include:
- Starting the day with egg casserole or a quiche made with milk and cheese.
- Sprinkling shredded cheese on steamed vegetables, casseroles or pasta dishes.
- Replacing mayo with plain Greek yogurt in tuna or chicken salads.
- Creating warm, comforting soups using milk.
Find more dairy-inspired recipes perfect for holiday entertaining at midwestdairy.com.
Baked Spinach Artichoke Yogurt Dip
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach frozen, thawed and drained
- 8 ounces plain low-fat yogurt
- 1 cup shredded, low-moisture, part-skim Mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons red pepper, chopped
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Combine artichoke hearts, spinach, yogurt, cheese, onion and garlic; mix well.
- Pour mixture into 1-quart casserole dish or 9-inch pie plate. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until heated through.
- Sprinkle with red peppers.
Nutritional information per serving: 179 calories; 12 g total fat; 18 mg cholesterol; 383 mg sodium; 227 mg potassium; 7 g carbohydrates; 11 g protein.
Antipasti Holiday Skewers
Prep time: 45 minutes
Yield: 16 skewers
- 1 package (9 ounces) cheese-filled tortellini, cooked al dente and cooled
- 1/2 cup fat-free Italian dressing
- 1 block (8 ounces) reduced-fat Swiss cheese, cubed
- 2 cups baby spinach leaves
- 32 pieces turkey pepperoni
- 3 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 16 wooden skewers, 9-10 inches each
- In large bowl, marinate tortellini in Italian dressing 30 minutes in refrigerator.
- To assemble skewers, start with two pieces tortellini, one cheese cube, two spinach leaves, one pepperoni slice (folded in fourths), one tomato and repeat. Each skewer will have total of four pieces tortellini, two cheese cubes, four spinach leaves, two pepperoni slices and two tomatoes.
- Repeat until skewers are complete. Refrigerate until serving.
Nutritional information per serving: 81 calories; 2 g fat; 10 mg cholesterol; 191 mg sodium; 113 mg potassium; 8 g carbohydrates; 7 g protein.
Source: Midwest Dairy