Grown up picnic food

There is a nursing home near us that has a lovely tradition of putting on a great fireworks display the Saturday before 4th of July weekend.  Members of the community are invited to bring picnics, enjoy live music and visit with friends and neighbors before the fireworks.  It is good old-fashioned fun.  We have gone the last several years with friends and have our picnic arrangements pretty well set.  White wine and beer, cheese and crackers and vodka spiked cherry tomatoes, deviled eggs, steamed shrimp, shrimp ceviche and blackened cajun chicken salad.  The vodka spiked cherry tomatoes are particularly popular – sort of like having a Bloody Mary on a stick.  Here are the recipes for the tomatoes and the chicken salad:

Vodka spiked cherry tomatoes

  • 2 pts cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup good vodka
  • 3 TB white wine vinegar
  • 1 TB sugar
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • kosher salt and coarsely ground pepper
Make an x at stem end of each tomato.  Dunk in boiling water for about 20 seconds and then in ice water.  Remove peels.  Combine vodka, vinegar, sugar and lemon zest and soak tomatoes in vodka mixture.  Combine salt and pepper in a shallow dish.  Serve tomatoes with toothpicks – spear the tomato and then dip in the salt, pepper mixture.  For an indoor party, these look pretty in a glass trifle bowl.  Our friend Kevin thinks that they count as a vegetable side dish but was planning to eat the leftovers for breakfast this morning.
Blackened Cajun Chicken Pasta Salad
  • 2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts split
  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 oz. cajun or blackening seasoning mix
  • 1 lb orecchiette pasta
  • 3 – 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
Melt butter.  Dredge chicken breasts in melted butter and then in seasoning mix.  Sear 3 minutes per side in a heavy oven proof skillet and then cook in a 350 degree oven for 25 – 30 minutes until done.  Chill.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and rinse in cold water to stop cooking.  Chop chicken into bite size chunks and toss all ingredients together.  (If you want spicy, you can add extra seasoning.)
Have a wonderful picnic!

About emenuplan
I love to cook and love to eat. I work full time and have a family so managing good meals during the week requires organization. I'm hoping to share my weekly menu plans and recipes to make things a little easier for those who want to follow along.

One Response to Grown up picnic food

  1. stacey molli says:

    Vicky–Those vodka spiked tomatoes might be the best thing I have ever eaten! Clever!!

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