More Easy, Elegant Summer Fare….

Happy July 1st!!!
I heard on the news this morning that the year is half over…I say, we still have a half a year left!

We are, however, rapidly approaching the 4th of July, with all it’s “explosive” fun! Picnics, cookouts and fireworks!
As promised, I’ve got another easy “recipe” to share with you for fast, easy and elegant summer meals.

I love to eat, and I love to set a beautiful table or tablescape. I don’t however, love to cook and spend lots of time preparing meals.
As a result, I am always looking for easy and adaptable recipe ideas. If you read my post from a few weeks ago, you know I don’t stick to recipes very well, so much of what I’ll share will be general…you can adjust according to the amount you’ll need and you’re own individual tastes.

Many times I will take a basic recipe for say…chicken salad or pasta salad and change a few ingredients and how I serve it and it’s like a totally new meal!

My basic chicken salad recipe:

Boneless chicken breast (amount determined by your crowd, for serving 4 to 6 I use 3 large chicken breasts). I marinate the chicken overnite in various dressings….from Gazebo Room Greek dressing to fruity tropical dressings. I grill or bake the chicken and let it cool.

Then, depending on the “flavor” I’ve decided on I mix in different ingredients. For a tasty versatile salad that appeals to most everyone…I’d use the chicken marinated in the greek dressing and add chopped celery, chopped parsley, and chopped chives. I sometimes add cooked bacon, crumbled. I then add a combination of mayo, Miracle Whip (I grew up on it!) and a tiny bit of spicy mustard…salt and pepper, sometimes paprika. This salad can be served in hollowed out tomatoes, on bread or croissants (my favorite…mini croissants from BJ’s) or on mixed greens (with grilled mini croissants!).

With the chicken that marinated in a fruity tropical dressing I add sliced, seedless grapes, crushed pineapple (drained), chopped walnuts and maybe some shredded coconut. I’ve even added a bit of cooked whole grain brown rice. I then use a combo of mayo, Miracle Whip and maybe a bit of the dressing I marinated the chicken in. A touch of cinnamon and nutmeg give it a nice flavor. Again, this can be served on bread or croissants, on mixed greens, or even in half a cantaloupe!

What makes any of these options elegant? Embellishments (garnishes) and presentation, of course!

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