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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Life is a Picnic!

Joy, sorrow, guilt, romance, happiness; there’s nothing that can evoke an emotional response quite like food can. Food is a part of our everyday lives, the centerpiece for our holiday celebrations, and the accompaniment to most special occasions. Most of all, there’s nothing like a shared meal to bring back memories.

Summer is by far the easiest time to enjoy mealtime with minimal prep. Got a day off with no plans? Take the kids for a picnic! Have a romantic date night in the park! Gather all your family around a campsite with plenty of munchies to go around. These easy to execute recipes can help you do just that.

Parmesan rosemary new potatoes have the perfect crunch when they come out of the oven, but with a durability that allows them to be served cold just as well (and they’re portable too). Pops of fresh-cut rosemary accent the slightly salty, savory notes of Parmesan cheese.

For the Greek pasta salad, all you have to do is slice, dice, and toss together in a bowl (besides cooking the pasta of course). With just a touch of brine, the feta ties together the flavors of olive with fresh garden cucumber and ripe tomato.

Finally, without any type of condiment, this BLTTA wrap simply bursts with flavor.


•  Grated Parmesan cheese
•  Fresh rosemary
•  Olive oil
•  Bowtie pasta
•  Roma tomatoes
•  Kalamata olives
•  English seedless cucumber
•  Dried oregano
•  Lemon juice
•  Wraps of your choosing (sun dried tomato are my favorites)
•  Thick sliced bacon (I prefer Applewood smoked)
•  Hass avocados
•  Leaf lettuce (more flavor than iceberg)
•  Sliced turkey

* You’ll notice I purposely left off measurements. The flavors in these dishes are so fluid yet so bold, sometimes a little goes a long way. Other times, you just can’t get enough of something (all the bacon and avocado).


Dice the potatoes to half an inch, season with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, and chopped fresh rosemary. Roast at 450 degrees for 30 minutes. Toss finished potatoes with Parmesan to taste.

Roughly chop cucumber, olives, and Roma tomatoes. Cook pasta using package directions. Immediately after draining, rinse with cold water to prevent further cooking. Toss with feta, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, cucumber, and tomatoes. Season generously with oregano for the perfect fresh Mediterranean punch.

While roasting potatoes, cook bacon on a wire rack and sheet tray combo (a roasting pan works too) in the oven. Watch closely; you don’t want it to burn. When it begins to look crispy and done, pull it out (trust me on this one, it’s the secret of good restaurant bacon). Again, I’ve left out time because the thickness of bacon can cause times to be varied quite a bit.

Using your favorite wraps, stack sliced roma tomatoes, bacon, sliced avocado, and as much turkey as you feel comfortable using (I like my wraps a bit meaty). Leave room on the sides so your wraps stay together. Wrap as tightly as you like, storing in cellophane or foil for transport.

With some fresh fruit, and an assortment of cheese, any family would have more than enough to make any picnic great.

Eli Haddix is the director of food services for North River Health Campus.

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