we had a picnic

After buying this picnic basket, I decided we must immediately go have a picnic now. We went to Griffith Park, had complete privacy, ate a ton and read a little.

The menu was pasta salad, caprese sandwiches, grapes, and arnold palmers.

The sandwiches were cooked, so they took a little longer but were so worth it.

Oh, did I mention we brought the tripod?

Click more for the recipes…

My Perfect Pasta Salad (serves however many you’d like)

I’ve been making this pasta salad with my mom forever. For someone who doesn’t like ranch, trust me, the ranch flavor doesn’t shine through. I balance it out with enough garlic and spiciness that it makes it perfectly creamy and spicy enough to be addicting.

1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
5 green onions
2 garlic cloves
marie’s lite creamy ranch (or something similiar)
tabasco sauce
tons of freshly ground pepper + kosher salt
1 box rotini pasta
(optional: canned artichoke hearts, carrots, tomatoes)

Boil the water. Chop all the vegetables and mix them up in a large bowl. Mince garlic cloves and mix into the vegetables. Depending on how big your bowl or desired serving amount is, cook either a full box of pasta or a half of one and make the ratio of the veggies versus pasta about 60 (veg) : 40 (pasta).

Once the pasta is cooked, get it dry and cold with constant cold water running on it. Pour the pasta into the bowl of vegetables. Stir it all together. Drop in about a cup of the ranch. MIX! Pour in about a tablespoon of tabasco (to taste). Season SUPER liberally. You’re done.

Toasted Caprese Sandwich (adapted from AllRecipes)

The original recipe calls for 4 sandwiches. I made 2 large ones but used the same amount of garlic because I don’t believe all that “too much garlic” mumbo jumbo.

1 head of garlic
olive oil
1 tablespoon margarine
1 loaf of ciabatta bread, split in half horizontally
fresh basil
2 tomatoes
greek seasoning (in place of dried rosemary)
balsamic vinegard
fresh mozarella cheese, sliced

Preheat the oven to 400. Cut off the top of the head of garlic to expose the cloves, trimming about 1/4 inch off the top. Drizzle it with olive oil, then nestle the head into a piece of aluminum foil. Place in oven and cook until tender, about 35 minutes. Remove garlic from oven, keep the oven turned on. Squeeze the garlic from the cloves onto a small dish and mash into a paste. I don’t know why I haven’t been doing this on everything.

Spread butter onto the cut slices of bread, sprinkle with rosemary, or greek seasoning, or nothing. Place on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and spread the garlic paste on.

Top one half of the loaf with basil and tomatoes. Drizzle the tomatoes with balsamic. Top the other half with the mozzarella. Return the sandwich halves to the oven.

Cook until the cheese has melted, about 10 minutes. Season and allow the sandwich halves to cool before assembling.

*ONE THING: The sandwich was amazing. But in the future, I would probably not top with the basil until it was out of the oven, regardless of whether the cooking of the basil helps with the taste or not, it would probably taste that much fresher if the basil was added at the last minute.

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