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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours before serving. You can easily double this recipe for a large party.
- Side Dishes, Soups
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
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions; drain.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add pasta, yogurt, lemon juice, mint, and olives; season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
- Salads, Pasta
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
- 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.
- Add tomatoes, cucumber, and radish. Combine, and divide mixture between 2 pitas. Serve immediately.
- Main Dishes, Sandwiches
- North American
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
- Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl and pour the buttermilk over them. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- 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.
- Pour the oil into a large heavy-bottomed stockpot to a depth of 1-inch and heat to 360 degrees F on a thermometer.
- 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.
- When all the chicken is fried, bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink inside. Serve hot.
- Poultry, Main Dishes
- North American