(Family Features) Picnics, patio dining and al fresco foods all come to mind when warmer weather allows families and friends to enjoy the flavors of homemade meals in the great outdoors. As you seek out recipes for outdoor entertaining and more, try keeping the options light and simple with dishes that can be created at a moment's notice.
Ruby Beet Chicken Salad Skewers, uniquely flavored with Aunt Nellie's Baby Whole Pickled Beets, can be ready in less than an hour for those last-minute get-togethers. Try this Middle Eastern-Inspired Bean Salad with a touch of za'atar seasoning and READ Bean Salad for a flavorful accompaniment to the main course.
Ruby Beet Chicken Salad Skewers
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 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.
Middle Eastern-Inspired Bean Salad
Prep time: 20 minutes
- 1 can (15 ounces) READ 3 or 4 Bean Salad
- 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 small cucumber (4-5 inches long) cut in half lengthwise then thinly sliced crosswise
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons prepared hummus
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon za'atar seasoning blend
- Drain bean salad. Discard liquid. Place bean salad in large bowl.
- Add tomatoes, cucumber, onions, parsley, mint, garlic and red pepper flakes to bean salad. Toss to combine.
- To make dressing: In bowl, combine hummus, lemon juice and za'atar seasoning.
- Add dressing to salad just before serving; toss to combine well. Serve immediately or chilled.