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Enjoy the great outdoors with this tasty combination

Published: Friday, June 21, 2013 5:29 p.m. CDT

Now that we're deep into June, our minds are going to backyard barbecues and picnics.

Picnics are that unique dining experience, perhaps sitting at a table on our own back deck or maybe we’ll have a wicker basket packed with goodies on a blanket in the park. Either way the event calls for some unique and tasty food.

We're going to start off this column with a croissant sandwich recipe and pair that with a versatile salad. When thinking of sandwiches we want something tasty and unique, that we can put together in a short period of time. For our salad recipe there are several different ways to go and we will discuss them all.

Turkey and Toasted Pecan Croissants

Yield 4

4 Tbl unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped

1 1/2 tsp orange zest

4 croissants, sliced in half

6 ounces cooked turkey breast, thinly sliced

iceberg lettuce, cleaned and dried

balsamic vinaigrette

optional: four slices Swiss cheese, or your favorite

In a medium bowl, combine butter, pecans and orange zest, mix until well blended. Spread this mixture onto half of each croissant, top with the slices of turkey, (cheese on top of the turkey if you choose). Now sprinkle 1 teaspoon out balsamic vinaigrette on top of the turkey and cover with the lettuce and the rest of your croissant.

Our second recipe is going to be a pasta salad or a broccoli slaw, depending on which way you want to go.

Picnic Salad Foundation

Dressing

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream

3 Tbl cider vinegar

2 Tbl sugar, half white sugar and half brown sugar 

1/2 tsp salt

freshly ground black pepper

Whisk all ingredients and set aside.

All the rest 

4 slices smoked bacon, cooked crispy and chopped on large pieces

1 1/2 ounce Monterey Jack cheese, small dice

1 1/2 ounce Colby cheese, small dice

1/2 red onion, small dice

1 cup frozen sweet baby peas

1 cup broccoli florets, blanched, chopped

To make broccoli slaw add one 12 to 16 ounce bag of shredded broccoli slaw combined with all the above ingredients.

For pasta salad cook up 6 ounces of tricolored rotini, drain cool and mix with all the above ingredients. You should also add one or more cups of chopped cauliflower. With the pasta salad dressing may thicken as it is absorbed into the pasta. If that happens, feel free to add in two or 3 tablespoons of whole milk and mix well.

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