Picnic Menu and Recipes

Come Party With Me: Movie in the Park — Menu

It's the middle of Summer, and chances are you've gotten into your seasonal routine. Why not shake things up a bit by planning a casual and fun party? Invite friends to join you for a movie screening (or outdoor concert) in a park! Pack a picnic, watch the film (or the stars), and enjoy a leisurely night out.

Select a versatile menu that can be made in advance and will feed everyone's dietary needs. Fill a pitcher with chunky farmstand tomato gazpacho and pour into glasses at the picnic.


A Greek-style pasta salad is hearty thanks to the addition of shrimp; pita halves stuffed with spiced avocado are perfect for those who don't eat meat. Round out the meal with oven-fried chicken — it's a nostalgic favorite that's sure to please. Want to learn how to make these dishes? Here are the recommended recipes.

Farmstand Gazpacho

Farmstand Gazpacho

Farmstand Gazpacho Recipe

Ingredients

2 cups peeled and diced (1/4 inch) hothouse cucumber
2 cups diced (1/4 inch) red bell pepper
2 cups diced (1/4 inch) ripe tomato
1/2 cup diced (1/4 inch) red onion
2 cups tomato juice
1/2 cup red-wine vinegar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 dashes Tabasco sauce

Directions

  1. Place all of the diced vegetables in a large bowl. Add the tomato juice, vinegar, oil, and Tabasco. Season with salt and pepper and toss.
  2. Transfer half of the mixture to a blender or food processor and pulse the machine on and off to coarsely puree the contents. Return the pureed mixture to the bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours before serving. You can easily double this recipe for a large party.

Serves 8.

Greek-Style Pasta With Shrimp

Greek-Style Pasta With Shrimp

Greek-Style Pasta With Shrimp Recipe

Ingredients

Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound gemelli or other short pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 cups plain low-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped

Directions

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions; drain.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add half the shrimp; season with salt and pepper. Cook until just opaque throughout, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with remaining shrimp.
  3. Add garlic and 2 tablespoons water to skillet, and cook until garlic is tender, scraping up any bits from bottom of pan, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl with shrimp.
  4. Add pasta, yogurt, lemon juice, mint, and olives; season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

Serves 6.

Spiced Avocado Sandwich

Spiced Avocado Sandwich

Spiced Avocado Sandwich Recipe

Ingredients

1 ripe avocado
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1/2 to 1 teaspoon green Tabasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and pepper
1/2 cup yellow grape tomatoes, halved
1 small cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large or 2 small radishes, halved and thinly sliced
2 whole-wheat pitas (6 inches each), top third cut off

Directions

  1. Halve and pit avocado. With a spoon, scoop out avocado flesh, cut into chunks, and transfer to a medium bowl. Add orange juice, Tabasco sauce, and coriander; season with salt and pepper. Mix gently to combine.
  2. Add tomatoes, cucumber, and radish. Combine, and divide mixture between 2 pitas. Serve immediately.

Serves 2.

Oven-Fried Chicken

Oven-Fried Chicken

Oven-Fried Chicken Recipe

Ingredients

2 chickens (3 pounds each), cut in 8 serving pieces
1 quart buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil or vegetable shortening

Directions

  1. Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl and pour the buttermilk over them. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Take the chicken out of the buttermilk and coat each piece thoroughly with the flour mixture.
  4. Pour the oil into a large heavy-bottomed stockpot to a depth of 1-inch and heat to 360 degrees F on a thermometer.
  5. Working in batches, carefully place several pieces of chicken in the oil and fry for about 3 minutes on each side until the coating is a light golden brown (it will continue to brown in the oven). Don't crowd the pieces. Remove the chicken from the oil and place each piece on a metal baking rack set on a sheet pan. Allow the oil to return to 360 degrees F before frying the next batch.
  6. When all the chicken is fried, bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink inside. Serve hot.

Serves 6.

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