Food 4 the 4th,with picnic chicken, potato salad and a killer Berry Tiramisu

Friday 3 July 2015

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Happy Independance Day to all of my American friends.  I thought I would show you a quick, easy and tasty meal that you could serve to your friends and family on the 4th.  A meal which you could do ahead of time, leaving your hands free to enjoy all of the festivities of the day!   This is the type of food I like to eat in the summer.  Light and fresh, and easy to prepare.

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We do eat a lot of chicken in this house.  It's such a versatile meat and goes with just about anything.  I always have boneless chicken breasts in the freezer.  Just perfect for this delicious chicken recipe.  I have adapted it from the Betty Crocker website.

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It always turns out moist and delicious, and let's face it . . . chicken breasts are so very easy to get wrong.   I hate dried out chicken breasts . . . cardboard is every bit as palatable . . .

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These are always moist and delicious, easy to make and perfect for eating cold with salads, or hot . . . as you like.   They are great both ways.   The chicken is dipped in buttermilk and then rolled in a tasty coating and baked just until golden brown on the outsides, yet still moist inside.   These are fabulous!   You can also do chicken tenders in this way.  Just cut the baking time down!

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*Oven Fried Picnic Chicken*
Serves 4  
A tasty and easy way to prepare chicken to bring with you on picnics or for those summer evenings when you want something tasty to serve with your salad!  Adapted from a recipe found on the Betty Crocker site.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, rinsed and dried
1/3 cup of buttermilk
1/2 cup cornflakes
1/2 cup of Bisquick biscuit mix, or plain flour
1 package of dry ranch dressing mix
(you can also use a substitution noted at bottom of recipe)
low fat cooking spray oil
Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6.   Spray a shallow baking sheet with cooking spray.  Set aside.

Tip the buttermilk into a bowl.   Put the cereal, biscuit mix (flour) and ranch dressing mix into the bowl of a mini food processor.  Blitz to combine well and crumble the cereal.  Tip this mixture into a plastic food storage bag.  Roll your chicken breasts in the butter milk, turning to coat, one at a time.  As you coat them, drop them into the bag with the dry mixture and give them a shake in it to coat.  Place them onto the baking sheet, presentation side down.   Repeat until all four breasts are coated.   Spritz well with the cooking spray.   Bake for 25 minutes. Flip them over and spritz them again with the cooking spray.  Bake for a further 15 to 20 minutes or until the juices run clear when pricked at the thickest part.  Serve hot or cold.

Note:   As  a substitute for the ranch dressing mix, combine  2 TBS dry parsley, 1 tsp dried dill weed, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp dried basil and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper in a mortar.   Crush with a pestle until fairly fine. Use as above.  If you want to use it as a salad dressing, combine 1 TBS of the mix with 1/3 cup of mayonnaise and 1/4 cup of milk.

Of course a tasty salad goes well with these.  I like a tossed salad myself . . . but the Toddster is a meat and potatoes kind of a guy . . . so I like to make this creamy garden Potato salad, which meets both of our desires.   He gets to please his meat and potatoes soul . . . and I get part of my daily dose of veg . . . both in a tasty salad.   This dressing is a type of honey mustard, creamy delish!!

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*Creamy Garden Potato Salad*
Serves 6 to 8
Printable Recipe

A delicious potato salad with a punchy low fat Honey Dijon mayo dressing.  The green bush beans and radishes add a bit of crunch and colour.

1 pound of small new potatoes
2 TBS Cider Vinegar
4 TBS low fat mayonnaise
2 TBS honey Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 to 4 spring onions, chopped
(white and green parts)
a handful of radishes, trimmed and chunked
a handful of bush green beans, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
1 TBS Dill Weed (or a handful of fresh dill, finely chopped)

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Place the potatoes in a pot of lightly salted water to cover.  Bring to the boil and then simmer on medium heat until tender, about 15 minutes.  Add the green beans for the last 5 to 6 minutes of cooking time.

While the potatoes are cooking whisk together the vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard, and cayenne pepper along with salt and pepper to taste.    Set aside.

Drain the potatoes and beans once they are tender.  Leave in the colander and place the colander over the hot pot.  Allow to cool until you can easily handle.  Cut the potatoes into halves or quarters.  Place the warm potatoes and beans into a bowl.  Pour the dressing over top of the warm vegetables.  Add the onion, radishes and dill weed and gently toss together.

Serve at room temperature.

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If you are looking for a simple and delicious dessert why not try Strawberry Tiramisu!  Easy to make and very pretty to look at.  If you really want the colours of the flag you can add a layer of fresh blueberries.  Very pretty!

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*Strawberry Tiramisu*
Serves 6
An easy and deliciously fruity version of an old favourite!  Sure to please!  As this contains raw eggs, do take care if serving to the elderly or the very young.  You may also use pasturized eggs if you are really concerned.

400g fresh strawberries (a scant pound, almost 3 cups)
5 amaretti biscuits (crisp almond meringue type of cookies)
2 large free range eggs, separated
40g of sugar (3 1/2 TBS)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
4 TBS white rum (I don't do alcohol and so I just use extra apple juice and 1/2 tsp rum flavouring)
250g of mascarpone cheese at room temperature (a generous cup)
3 TBS whipping cream
100ml of pressed apple juice (1/2 cup, not from concentrate, cloudy apple juice)
100g sponge fingers (Lady fingers, 3/4 of a package)

Hull the berries.  Weight out 100g (2/3 cup) and chop them finely.  Slice the remaining berries and set aside.  Crush the amaretti biscuits coarsely by placing them into a plastic bag and bashing them with a rolling pin.  You want them to be about the size of coarse bread crumbs.

Whisk the egg yolks until they are pale yellow and fluffy.   Whisk in the sugar gradually as you go.   Whisk in the vanilla and a TBS of the rum.  Put the cheese in a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon to soften, then gradually whisk in the egg yolk mixture, whisking it until you have a smooth and lump free combination.   Whisk the egg whites with a clean whisk in a separate bowl until soft peaks form.  Fold the chopped berries into the mascarpone mixture and then carefully fold in the egg whites.  

Whisk the whipping cream until soft folds appear.  Fold this into the mascarpone mixture also.  Fold in about 1/3 of the crushed amaretti.

Mix the remaining rum with the apple juice in a bowl.   Dip some of the sponge fingers in this mixture and then lay them across the base of a glass serving bowl.   Reserve some of the sliced berries for decoration.   Arrange a layer of the remainder of the berries over the soaked sponge fingers.   Cover with a layer of the mascarpone cream.  Repeat with one or two more layers of soaked biscuits, sliced berries and the mascarpone cream, finishing off with the cream mixture.   Chill overnight, or for at least five hours.  About an hour before you wish to serve it, scatter the remaining amaretti crumbs over top and decorate with the reserved sliced berries.   Chill until ready to serve.


  1. Your Bisquick and Cornflake coating sounds like something I will try;)
    Looks great..have fun tomorrow w/ your get together!

  2. All look wonderful and delicious Marie, I love how look the chicken, look perfect!:)

  3. Thanks Monique! We hope to! Xoxo

  4. The chicken and potato salad look wonderful--- I can't wait to try!

  5. Love your recipes. It's always something I'd actually like to eat.


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