Good friends, great food, and the best season for outdoor entertaining add up to one thing--a glorious picnic season. If you're just warming up to the idea of planning a picnic at the park or a backyard potluck, it's the prime time to prepare and make your plans.
First set the date with your best mates. Then grab the gingham tablecloth and break out the picnic basket. What to serve? Start simple with a menu that's casual, delicious, and easy to make and take, especially if you're off to the perfect picnic destination.
Choose light, flavorful pasta salads that combine summertime flavors, such as creamy ranch and Dijon mustard, or chicken with marinated artichoke hearts. Be prepared to pass the deviled eggs more than once. Bring along fresh fruit for a refreshing dessert. And, try a cool lemonade that combines two favorite summertime flavors--watermelon and kiwi.
All that's left is to savor every moment and every bite!
For more great summertime recipes and tips, visit www.bettycrocker.com.
Creamy Ranch Pasta Salad
1 box Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad ranch and bacon pasta salad mix
Empty pasta into 3-quart (or larger) saucepan 2/3 full of boiling water. Gently boil uncovered 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta; rinse with cold water. Shake to drain well. In large bowl, stir together seasoning mix, mayonnaise, mustard, onions and celery. Add pasta and chopped eggs and stir until evenly coated. Garnish with egg slices and paprika. Store in refrigerator. Makes 6 servings.
Chicken and Artichoke Pasta Salad
1 box Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad classic pasta salad mix
Empty pasta into 3-quart (or larger) saucepan 2/3 full of boiling water. Gently boil uncovered 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta; rinse with cold water. Shake to drain well. In large bowl, stir together seasoning mix, cold water, and oil. Stir in pasta, chicken, artichokes, olives, and cheese. Store in refrigerator. Makes 6 servings.
Watermelon Lemonade With Kiwifruit Splash
2 kiwifruit, peeled and cut into fourths
Place kiwifruit and sugar in blender; cover and blend on medium just until smooth. Pour into another container; freeze 1 to 2 hours or until firm. Place watermelon in blender; cover and blend on medium until smooth. Place frozen lemonade concentrate and water in large pitcher. Add watermelon mixture; mix well. Pour watermelon lemonade into glasses. Spoon a dollop of frozen kiwifruit mixture on top. Serve immediately. Makes 6 1-cup servings.
Poppy Seed Salad
1/4 cup honey
In large bowl, mix honey, limeade concentrate, and poppy seeds. Carefully toss in fruits. Makes 6 servings.
Devilishly Good Eggs
6 hard-cooked eggs
Cut eggs lengthwise in half. In small bowl, slip out yolks and mash with fork. Stir in remaining ingredients except egg white halves. Fill egg white halves with egg yolk mixture, heaping it lightly. Makes 6 servings.
Consider these hints for summer gatherings: