Refreshing Dishes for Dining Al Fresco
Some of life’s most cherished moments are shared with loved ones around the table. As temperatures climb, cheerful sunshine and sparkling blue skies are the perfect ingredients to make family time even more enjoyable with a meal served al fresco. (Family Features)
One of the great joys of dining outdoors is the chance to appreciate the simplicity of a gentle breeze or the first glimpses of seasonal blooms. Keeping meal prep simple makes it even easier to embrace these special moments.
A unique approach to an entree salad is easy to prepare and adds a festive flair to your picnic plate. These Ruby Beet Chicken Salad Skewers owe their zesty flavor to the delicate balance of sweetness and vinegar infused by Aunt Nellie’s Baby Whole Pickled Beets.
A cool salad is another must for your outdoor dining menu. Classic Mediterranean flavors like feta cheese and olives combined with reading 3 Bean Salad make this Mediterranean 3-Bean Quinoa Salad the perfect side dish to accompany a light lunch or grilled main course.
Ruby Beet Chicken Salad Skewers
- 1 jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie’s Baby Whole Pickled Beets
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, plus additional, to taste, divided
- 4 1/2 tablespoons stone ground mustard, divided
- 1 1/2 tablespoons, plus 1/3 cup, orange marmalade, divided
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
- 1 large lemon, zest and juice (1/3 cup juice)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 bag (9 ounces) leafy romaine lettuce pieces
- 1/3 cup chopped almonds, toasted
- 1/3 cup crumbled blue, feta or goat cheese
- Heat oven to 375° F. Drain beets; set aside.
- Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. In small bowl, combine 1 1/2 tablespoons mustard and 1 1/2 tablespoons marmalade. Brush mixture over chicken until completely coated. Bake chicken on rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil about 20-25 minutes, or until juices run clear; set aside.
- To make vinaigrette: In medium bowl, combine remaining mustard, remaining marmalade, chives, lemon zest and juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Slowly pour in oil while whisking vigorously until completely combined.
- Slice cooled chicken into 1-inch pieces. Onto each skewer, thread one beet, one piece of chicken and 4-5 pieces of lettuce; repeat two times for each skewer, adding one beet at ends. Repeat to make eight skewers. Place skewers on large serving platter.
- Stir vinaigrette; drizzle lightly over skewers. Sprinkle with almonds and cheese. Serve with remaining vinaigrette.
Mediterranean 3-Bean Quinoa Salad
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) READ 3 Bean Salad
- 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup chopped olives
- 1/2 cup diced bell pepper, any color
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
- Drain bean salad; reserve 3 tablespoons liquid.
- In a large bowl, combine bean salad, tomatoes, feta cheese, quinoa, olives and bell pepper. Add reserved bean liquid, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar. Stir gently to coat ingredients.
- Top with cilantro or parsley. Serve immediately.
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