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A Valentines Picnic for Two




With Valentines Day coming up this week, and my stove being out of commission, I thought it would be fun to do something different and create a delicious picnic for my sweetie pie and I to share for the occasion.  Its really fun to do and really doesn't take a lot of work.  The weather has been right miserable lately, but that doesn't mean we can't still enjoy a picnic.  Some of the nicest picnics can be shared right within the four walls of your comfy home!



The centre piece of my picnic was a delicious Buffalo Chicken Salad that I threw together.  You will find the recipe below for a basic chicken salad and 10 variations.  This is just one of them, and I can tell you it is really tasty! 


I had a good old rummage around the refrigerator this morning while Todd was out and by the time he came home, I had a picnic feast for two more than ready.  We had some leftover potato salad and coleslaw from the other day, so that was packed  into a container for sharing . . . 



I always have lots of cheeses on hand, chutney's and crackers and so I did up a small cheese tray for us to enjoy.  I used some vintage white cheddar, Danish blue, wensleydale with cranberries and boursin cheeses.  I put the chutney into a small Bonne Maman Jar and an assortment of crackers and some butter for spreading in a sandwich container. Be sure to include a knife for cutting up the cheeses and a spoon for the chutney.  


baguette  

You will want a toasted baguette or crisp breads to have with the chicken salad, or even some salad greens.  Todd isn't one much for salad greens, so I had soft baguettes for him. No toasting today as there is no oven.


There was a Melton Mowbray Pork Pie in the refrigerator (Todd's favourite pie) and some cheese and onion rolls, so I added a container with them, as well as some English Mustard for Todd to enjoy with a slice of pie.  I also had some black and green grapes, so I washed some of them and put them into another container.  

Something sweet is always welcome, so I added a container of Todd's favourite biscuits/cookies and some fruit yogurts. 


I also added the required cutlery, dinner plates and glasses, along with some tea light candles (for romance),  a blanket to sit on, a book of poetry to share with each other and a fun game to play. 



A bottle of sparkling apple juice was the finishing touch.  I then packed it into our picnic basket . . .  its a red metal one with chrome handles that I bought several years back.  I think its really pretty, although in all truth a wicker one is better as this one is quite heavy once you get it packed.  It didn't all quite fit inside, but no matter we weren't going very far . . . 



And with there being two of us, we carried the juice separately along with the bread, games and poetry.  As I said, we did not have far to go!


Todd was pleasantly surprised when he got home.  I put some nice music on for us to listen to and in all truth, we sat at the table  . . .  these old bones of ours are not fond of floor sitting, not anymore  . . . 


It was a really nice spread . . .   



I had my chicken salad on salad greens . . .  Todd of course did not.  Oh well . . .



The star of course was the chicken salad.  I did the Buffalo Chicken version and it was absolutely fabulous. The recipe comes from a magazine on chicken that I bought at the grocery store the last time I was visiting Canada.  Its a lovely basic recipe . . . . 


And then of course there are ten different variations . . .  sure to suit every taste!



This really was a lot of fun! And it didn't really take a lot of effort on my part.



It made a change from the usual Winter bill of fare  . . . 



And injected a bit of sunshine and romance into what was simply a cold, blustery, rainy day! 


Yield: 4

Chicken Salad with variations

With a few flavourful additions and basic ingredients you need never have boring Chicken Salad again.

ingredients:

For the basic salad: (see variations below)
  • 1/2 pound cooked chicken, chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped
  • 2 thinly sliced spring onions (scallions)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup good quality mayonnaise
  • or salad dressing
  • 1 tsp snipped fresh basil
  • 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp salt

instructions:

  1. Combine the chicken, celery, spring onions in a bowl. Mix together the mayonnaise, basil, lemon zest and salt. Fold dressing into the chicken and vegetables gently, to combine well. Cover and chill for 1 to 4 hours.  Serve on bread, crackers, or salad greens.
Variations:
  1. 1. Buffalo Chicken - Omit Basil, stir in 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese and 1/4 to 1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce.
  2. 2. Hawaiian - Stir in 1/2 cup chopped pineapple. Just before serving, stir in 1/4 cup chopped toasted macadamia nuts.
  3. 3. Mediterranean - Omit celery. Stir in 1/2 cup chopped marinated artichoke hearts and 1/4 cup crumbled Feta cheese. Top with shredded basil.
  4. 4. Grape-Nut - Stir in 3/4 cup chopped seedless grapes. Just before serving, stir in 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts.
  5. 5. Bacon-Egg-Tomato - Stir in two chopped hard boiled eggs. Just before serving, stir in 1/2 cup chopped cherry tomatoes. Top with crumbled cooked crisp bacon.
  6. 6. Spicy Chili - Omit Basil and lemon zest. Stir in 1 to 2 tsp mild chili powder.  Top with toasted pumpkin seeds.
  7. 7. Cashew Curry - Stir in 1 to 2 tsp curry powder. Just before serving stir in 2 TBS chopped roasted cashew nuts. You can also add 2 TBS mango chutney with the mayonnaise.
  8. 8. Cucumber/Melon - Just before serving, stir in 1/2 cup chopped cucumber and serve on melon wedges.
  9. 9. Coriander Lime - Omit basil and lemon zest. Stir in 1 TBS snipped fresh coriander (cilantro) and 1/2 tsp fresh lemon zest.  Top with  toasted sesame seeds and chopped coriander.
  10. 10. Apple Pecan -  Stir in 3/4 cup chopped fresh eating apple. Just before serving, stir in 1/3 cup chopped toasted pecan nuts.
Created using The Recipes Generator 




Even if you don't want to do something like this for Valentines Day, it would be fun to just do it on any day to help chase away the Winter doldrums's and blues.   

Happy Sunday and Bon Appetit! 





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Marie Rayner
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6 comments:

  1. What a lovely idea We love picnics . I made your double lemon drizzle cake the other day..Oh my goodness ..so zingy and delicious ..I,ll be taking a slice of that with us on our picnic ! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so pleased you enjoyed it Debs! You do need to bring it on your picnic for sure! xo

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  2. How sweet and wow you made a feast!
    :):)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a lot of fun Monique! Todd really enjoyed it! xo

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  3. I love chicken salad and this looks exceptionally good. And the whole idea of an indoor picnic -- especially in winter when outside is not really an option -- is perfect. A great idea!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really is fun Jeanie! I am sure your guy would love it! Maybe you could do it with your friends on one of your wine nights??? Sounds like fun also! xoxo

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