Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Testing out summer recipes...

During the summer, we try to make time to go out and have a picnic in the park or in some outdoor area to enjoy the weather. Now that it is cold, we don't get a chance to do that - so for dinner tonight, we tried out a couple recipes for the next warm season and had a little picnic inside!

For the side tonight, I made a recipe for Bulldog Salad - basically a lighter version of a Waldorf Salad. There are a couple things in this recipe that make it more colorful and have a bit of a different taste to change up the flavors. Sweet pieces of Fuji and tart chunks of Granny Smith apples are mixed with green and red grapes, celery, golden raisins and toasted pecans. For a fun and squishy addition, miniature marshmallows are tossed into the mixture. Coating the fruit and veggies is a tangy dressing made from yogurt, mayonnaise and sour cream. If you use a plain yogurt, you may want to add some lemon juice to brighten up the dish - although we used a vanilla yogurt to add a slight hint of sweet vanilla to the salad instead.

So what did we make to go along side that would work for a picnic? Honey-Chipotle Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches! While we would have to do a couple changes to cook these outside on a grill, it will be very doable. Since we are using boneless/skinless chicken breasts, we wanted to gently cook the chicken to keep it as moist as possible, but we still wanted give them a boost in flavor. We quickly poached the chicken in water (you could use chicken broth if you had some leftover) laced with cumin and thin slices of fresh garlic. While the chicken cooled, we made a thick homemade barbecue from garlic, cumin, tomato puree, chipotle chiles with adobo sauce, cider vinegar, honey and Worcestershire sauce. As this cooks, we thinly sliced the chicken breasts and added them into the sauce for a couple minutes to allow the chicken to warm back up and take on some of the flavor. We toasted up a couple of our favorite burger buns and topped the bottoms with the sliced chicken dripping in sauce. We opted to top them with smoked mozzarella that we needed to use up, but feel free to use what you like - Monterey Jack would be an excellent choice. The tangy barbecue sauce is quite hot from the chipotles - but a sweet and smoky background keeps your appetite wet and anxious to go for that next bite. However, you may want to seed the chiles if you don't do well with heat or would be serving these delicious filling sandwiches to young ones. Jeff is not keen on raw onions, but a couple thin slices on top would be a pleasant accent to the chicken and sauce.


  1. Joe, it certainly is cold here and the thought of summer picnics while watching people skating on the lake behind my daughter's house doesn't quite compute. But your dinner sounds delicious,even if we do have to eat it indoors!

    Thanks for sharing

  2. Joe - How did bulldog salad get its name?

  3. Joe,

    How do you store the leftover hamburger buns? Freezer? Or do you eat them fast enough not to worry about it?


  4. Ruth - Thanks! I know what you mean though, it was hard to even think about it with the snow outside!

    Ed - Good question, I didn't name this one - this is what it was called when I pulled the recipe out from the magazine! I wondered the same thing!

    Cathy - I split them and wrap them in saran wrap. They then go in the freezer - I pull them out about an hour or so before I need them and it is just like fresh!