Special of the day: A Memorial Day Weekend Away Menu

22 May Special of the day: A Memorial Day Weekend Away Menu

Layered Antipasto Salad Jars

An extra day-off tacked on to this coming Sunday makes Memorial Day weekend travel that much more enticing. The three-day reprieve is the perfect excuse to get away and relax.

And speaking of relaxing…The last thing you may want to do upon arrival at your weekend-away destination is to fire up the stove and get cooking, so this week’s Special of the day gives you three super simple and satisfying recipes to make ahead, wrap and store in an ice-packed cooler for road trip transport.

Suitable for a palatable picnic lunch or al fresco dinner, the Special of the day salad, sandwich and dessert recipes are full of flavor and at their best served slightly chilled, right out of the cooler.

Set aside a short block of time sometime before setting off to assemble these perfectly portable items to tote in the cooler, and off you go!

Wishing you a relaxing Memorial Day weekend in this week’s Special of the day: Memorial Weekend Away Menu with recipes for Layered Antipasto Salad Jars, Pesto Chicken and Artichoke Ciabatta Sandwiches with Sundried Tomato Spread and Espresso Mousse Parfaits with Biscotti Crumble. Enjoy!

Recipe development and food photography by Sydne George.

Layered Antipasto Salad Jars

Layered Antipasto Salad Jars

(makes 6 12-ounce salad jars)

Make the balsamic dressing:

¼ cup balsamic dressing

¼ cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic,

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Whisk all balsamic dressing ingredients together until thoroughly mixed.

Assemble Layered Antipasto Salad Jars:

15 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained (you won’t use the whole can)

1 cup hard salami, diced

¾ cup fresh mozzarella, diced

10.9 ounce jar marinated mushrooms (canned vegetable aisle)

¼ cup fresh basil leaves, sliced into thin strips

Set up an assembly line with 12-ounce jars lined up on work surface.

Layer the antipasto salad in each jar in this order:

Bottom layer: an inch of garbanzo beans

Top with a drizzle of balsamic dressing.

Next layer: divide salami among jars.

Top with a drizzle of balsamic dressing.

Next later: divide marinated mushrooms among jars.

Top with a drizzle of balsamic dressing.

Next layer: divide cubed mozzarella among jars.

Top with a drizzle of balsamic dressing.

Top layer: Divide basil strips among jars.

Cover jars tightly with lids and refrigerate.

Store in cooler packed with ice for transport.

You may want to flip jars over or shake gently to distribute dressing before serving.

Enjoy!

Pesto Chicken and Artichoke Ciabatta Sandwiches with Sundried Tomato Spread

Pesto Chicken and Artichoke Ciabatta Sandwiches with Sundried Tomato Spread

(serves four)

4 ciabatta rolls (Albertsons bakery)

7-ounce wedge parmesan cheese

12-ounce jar marinated and quartered artichoke hearts

Make the Sundried Tomato Spread:

8 ounces cream cheese

½ tsp. garlic powder

¼ tsp. salt

Combine Sundried Tomato Spread ingredients and beat with electric mixer until thoroughly combined. Set aside until ready to assemble.

Make the pesto chicken:

2 10-ounce cans premium chicken breast, drained

7 ounce container (3/4 cup) prepared pesto sauce (by the cheese case with the fresh pasta)

Mix chicken and pesto sauce with a rubber spatula until well-mixed. Set aside until ready to assemble sandwiches.

To assemble sandwiches:

Slice ciabatta rolls in half horizontally, making sandwich tops and bottoms.

Spread the inside of each sandwich top and bottom with a thin layer of sundried tomato spread.

Separate sandwich tops and bottoms into two areas on your work surface.

Divide pesto chicken among the four sandwich bottoms and use a knife to spread evenly.

Use a vegetable peeler to make 16 long strips of parmesan.

Top pesto chicken with strips of parmesan to cover.

Arrange marinated artichoke hearts on top of each sandwich bottom to cover. (You won’t use the whole jar.)

Press down lightly to secure artichoke hearts in sundried tomato paste.

Place assembled sandwich tops on top of sandwich bottoms and press down lightly to secure. Skewer each sandwich with sandwich picks and then slice each sandwich in half diagonally. Wrap each sandwich half tightly in foil or foil-lined parchment. Place wrapped sandwich halves in large sealable plastic bag and seal. Store in cooler packed with ice for transport.  Enjoy!

 

Espresso Mousse Parfaits with Biscotti Crumble

 

 Espresso Mousse Parfaits with Biscotti Crumble

(makes eight dessert parfaits)

*Note: Start this recipe the day or night before you plan to assemble the parfaits. The mousse mixture requires overnight chilling.

Make the Espresso Mousse:

2 cups heavy cream

8 ounces white chocolate, chopped

½ tsp. almond extract

1 tsp. espresso powder (coffee aisle)

Heat cream in a medium sauce pan over medium heat until gently simmering.

Remove from heat and add white chocolate. Let sit briefly to allow the chocolate to melt. Add almond extract and espresso powder and whisk to combine thoroughly. Transfer espresso mousse to glass bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Make the almond whipped cream:

1 cup heavy cream, chilled

1 tsp. almond extract

¼ cup powdered sugar

Beat heavy cream with electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Add almond extract and powdered sugar and beat until mixed in.

To assemble:

Remove the espresso mousse mixture from the refrigerator and transfer mixture to bowl of electric mixer. Beat mousse mixture until stiff peaks form.

Place 4 biscotti cookies (I used Nonni’s biscotti from the cookie aisle at Albertsons, and they were delicious), in a large sealable plastic bag, seal bag and crush biscotti with rolling pin.

Spoon Espresso Mousse in the bottom of eight small plastic stemmed glasses. Top with almond whipped cream and a layer of crushed biscotti. Repeat layering to fill glasses, ending with almond whipped cream and a sprinkling of crushed biscotti on top. Wrap parfaits tightly with plastic wrap. Store in cooler packed with ice for transport. Enjoy!

Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at sydnegeorge@hotmail.com . Sydne’s recipes from “Special of the day” are archived at http://sydnegeorge.com/blog/.

 

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