Summer picnics are supposed to be fun and relaxing, right? Tossing the football, lazy afternoons, juicy summer reads, children frolicking. To me, the idea of frying up a batch of chicken and making potato salad sounds anything but fun and relaxing. Who wants to be in the kitchen on a hot summer day attached to a frying pan getting greasy? Not I, Popeye! Picnics also tend to be a bit more impromptu, so I’ve developed three great picnic recipes using one roasted chicken that are make-ahead, easily transportable or enjoyable in your own back yard, delicious - and these salads hold for days. So bring on that cold-cooked chicken!
Roasted Chicken & Summer Sausage Pasta Salad
Perfect for picnics and hungry kidlets, this hearty pasta salad is bound to give your family lots of energy to run around and play. For better tasting pasta salad, let it refrigerate overnight.
Butterfan secret: Add the goat cheese and the dressing to the pasta when it’s still hot so it melts into a gooey, tangy dressing.
1 lb. pasta of your choice
1 ½ cups shredded roasted chicken
1 ½ cups summer sausage or salami diced
1 cup diced fresh zucchini
½ cup goat cheese softened (one 5-inch log should do it)
2 tomatoes diced (sundried tomatoes work well here too)
½ cup chopped parsley
½ cup chopped black olives
¼ cup capers
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
½ tsp. each of salt and pepper
Boil pasta in salted water for about 2 minutes less than the package says (the pasta will finish cooking on its own as we’re not rinsing it to stop the cooking process like other pasta salad recipes). Drain. While the pasta is still piping hot, transfer it to a mixing bowl and add the goat cheese and the dressing to the pasta, and stir until it’s thoroughly combined. Then toss in the rest of the ingredients and refrigerate overnight for the best flavor!
Chicken Apple & Brie Sammies
Sandwiches can really surprise you sometimes (I used to drive across town just to get a sandwich like this one). To me, it’s an addictive combination of flavors; the mix of creamy Brie, roasted chicken and tart apple sweet jelly constitute a sandwich lover’s dream of the ultimate summer sammie.
1 ciabatta bun
Butter for spreading
1 tsp. apricot jelly for spreading (jalapeno and red pepper jelly work really well here too)
½ cup roasted shredded chicken
¼ cup fresh spinach
4 thinly sliced pieces of Granny Smith Apple
Simple sandwich making here. Butter both sides of the ciabatta bread and spread the jelly on the top half of the bun. Layer the spinach over the jelly, and then add the apple slices and the chicken. Season with salt and pepper.
Mango Coconut Chicken Salad (as pictured)
This salad recipe is surprisingly low calorie and super refreshing.
2 cups fully cooked roasted chicken, shredded
½ cup finely diced red onion
¼ cup finely diced celery
¼ cup finely diced red pepper
¼ cup sweetened shredded coconut
¼ cup chopped cilantro (optional)
Toss all of the ingredients together.
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 small jar mango chutney
Salt and pepper to taste
Stir it all together.
Toss all of the ingredients together for the salad and add the dressing to your taste. Voila! Serve as is, in lettuce wraps or on top of crackers. Salad stays in the fridge for three days.
Happy picnicking with roasted chicken!
Butterfan Catering and Pop-up Buffets is a local catering company specializing in holidays, special occasions and pop-up buffets. With over 16 years experience, Butterfan produces creative and fun private, corporate and public events combining cool décor items and catering services into one. Call Desiree at 403-861-7146 for a chat and a quote, or check out her website, butterfan.com. Stay in the loop by following her blog, Butterfan Living, butterfanliving.com, follow her on Facebook, facebook.com/butterfanliving and Twitter @Butterfan.
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