Sunday, June 2, 2013

Picnic time!!


June bank holiday weekend is upon us and I was seriously banking on some nice weather for a picnic in the park - but of course Irish weather has let me down. Instead I decided to make the picnic salads and have an indoor picnic which turned out just as nice. I only made a few salads as it was just a few of us but I'm sharing recipes for a few more you can make for a group picnic. The recipes can serve anywhere from 4-6 people, depending on how many you make, how hungry people are so I'm listing the propoints for the entire recipe and you can work it out depending on the amount of people eating. 

Bulgar Salad with Roasted Veg
Propoints per recipe - 12
80g Bulgar Wheat
1 small aubergine
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 courgette
1 onion
6 cloves garlic
Handful of basil
50g goats cheese
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C and chop the vegetables into bite size pieces. Chop the aubergine first and sprinkle it with salt and place in a colander to remove any bitter juices. Place all the chopped veg and the unpeeled garlic cloves into an oven dish, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the olive oil. Roast in the oven for about 40 minutes, shaking a few times. When the veg are soft and slightly brown on the edges, remove from the oven. Peel the garlic which should be very soft by now and mix through the basil and balsamic vinegar. 

In the mean time cook the bulgar according the pack instructions and chop the goats cheese into small pieces. Mix everything together and check seasoning. This can be served warm if eating at home but is just as nice cold for a picnic.

This would be free on F&H if you either omit the goats cheese or you could take points from your weeklies depending on how much you have (4pp worth in the whole recipe)

Coronation Chicken
Propoints per recipe: 15pp
300g chicken breast
50g dried apricots
30g raisins
1tbsp light mayo
2 tbsp 0% fat natural yoghurt
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp mango chutney

Season the chicken breasts and roast with a little frylight until cooked through. Shred and leave to cool completely. 

While the chicken is cooling put the apricots and raisins in some hot water to plump up. Add the rest of the ingredients to a bowl and mix throughouly. Chop the apricots and stir in to the curry mayo/yoghurt mix with the chicken. Place in the fridge for a couple of hours (ideally overnight) before serving. 

Note: You can use fresh grapes instead of the raisins and apricots and the whole recipe will be 11pp or free on F&H. I really like it with grapes but my boyfriend insisted on apricots and raisins which is slightly more traditional. Both are delicious.

Carrot Raisin & Sesame Salad
Propoints per recipe: 3pp
6-8 carrots, peeled and grated
30g raisins
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp honey
2 tsp water
salt and pepper

Combine the lemon juice, honey and water. Mix the carrot and the raisins together and stirr the dressign through. Season to taste. 

Sesame Green Beans
Propoints per recipe: 4pp
2 packets of green beans
3 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp sesame oil
salt & pepper

Steam your green beans for 3-4 minutes, until soft but there is still a bit of crunch to them. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan until they just start to brown. Add the sesame oil to a wok and stiry fry the beans for 1-2 minutes. Season well and mix through the sesame seeds. Again this can be served warm or cold and tastes just as good both ways. 

Citrus Potato Salad
Propoints per recipe: 15pp (Free on F&H/SS)
500g baby new potatoes
4 spring onions
2 tbsp light mayo
3tbsp 0% fat natural yoghurt
zest and juice of half a lemon
salt and black pepper

Boil the baby potatoes until soft. I like to slightly over cook these so when mixed with the sauce the edges go a little floury and makes the whole thing a bit more indulgent. Cut any larger potatoes in half, you are looking for them all to be about bite sized. Chop the spring onions and mix through the potatoes in a large bowl. Mix together the mayo, yoghurt, lemon juice and zest and season well. Stir through the potatoes and check the seasoning is ok, adding more to taste. The lemon in this makes it so much nicer than regular potato salad especially on a nice summers day.

Mixed Salad with Vinagrette
Propoints per recipe: 7pp

Everyone has their own recipe for mixed salad - the propoints in this come from the dressing but I will give you what I like to add to my mixed salad! No real quantities here for the veg as you can judge yourself. Also the dressing recipe is taken from the hairy dieters, very similar to one I used to make myself but the quantities they have given are just perfect for a nice sized salad.

Mixed lettuce, I like baby leaves and some italian leaves.
Cherry tomatoes on the vine (vine tomatoes are so much better than regular ones, especially when just ripe)
Cucumber sliced very thinly
Red onion sliced very thinly
Cooked beetroot
Occasionally I will add some radishes too, for extra crunch

1/4 tsp dijon mustard
1tsp caster sugar
1/2 clove of garlic crushed
1tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp water
salt and pepper

Mix together the mustard, sugar, garlic and vinegar. Add a pinch of salt and some black pepper and slowly whick in the oil. Keep whisking until the sauce thickens and then slowly add the water, whisking the whole time. Season to taste. 

Coronation  Chicken, Bulgar Salad, Mixed Salad & Hummous.

I also like to bring with me some low fat hummus and carrot sticks, some waifer thin cold meats and some fresh bread. For ease of propointing, the weight watchers petit pans are great for cooking up just before you go and bringing with you. A fruit salad is also great for a picnic and you can just add any mix of fruit you can get before going. Sugar free jelly is another good dessert which is great for kids and adults. Some great ideas for drinks are home made flavoured waters. All you need is a few empty cordial bottles and be sure to make it a few days in advance. You can add some lemon & lime peel & juice to one, Orange peel & juice to another, some shaved cucumber for one, and some fresh mint as well. Leave to sit in the water in the fridge for a few days and if you can keep them cool for your picnic they are really refreshing.

Picnics can be either very healthy or full of sandwiches, crisps and sweets. It just takes a bit of thought and planning. Lets just home we get the weather for it now!!


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