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In July 2011, Chuck Dressler took on the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer with dishes appropriate for the picnic basket. These recipes all come from one of his well-worn cookbooks, Southern Living Cookbook for Two by Audrey P. Stehle.

TOTJULY 77834077

July 2011

Ham and Cheese Roll-Ups – Yield: 4 servings

This is probably the easiest recipe for quick picnic basket fillers or even for party appetizers. A variation of which I am partial is to smear some Dijon mustard on the cheese before placing the ham on top. After all, whoever heard of Ham & Cheese without mustard?

  • 8 thin slices of ham, about 6” x 4” (Use your favorite brand/flavor of lunch meat or have the deli folks slice some for you. The meat needs to be thin enough to roll.)
  • 4 slices of Swiss cheese, about 7” x 3 ½” (The cheese needs to be thin enough to roll but thick enough to hold the Roll-Up together.)
  • 4 dill pickle strips (Not the sandwich stacker kind, but real strips.)

Arrange two ham slices on top of each cheese slice. At one end of the ham, place a pickle slice and roll so the pickle is in the middle of the Roll-Up. Pierce with a wooden tooth pick. If you like, you can pierce with two toothpicks and cut the Roll-Up in half – a good idea for appetizer use. Roll-Ups can be stored in plastic wrap.

Picnic Salad Rolls – Yield: 4 servings

  • 4 tablespoons chopped green pepper
  • 4 tablespoons chopped cucumber
  • 4 tablespoons chopped tomato
  • 4 tablespoons chopped celery
  • 4 teaspoons chopped onion
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley/1 teaspoon dried
  • 4 teaspoons chopped dill pickle
  • 6 tablespoons garlic/onion-flavored sour cream dip
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise/salad dressing (e.g., Miracle Whip)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 hard rolls
  • Lettuce leaves

Combine the first seven ingredients and set aside. Mix the dip, mayonnaise/sandwich spread, salt and pepper and fold into the vegetable mixture. Set aside. Remove a thin slice from the top of each roll and scope out the breading, leaving a ½”-thick shell. Line each shell with a lettuce leaf and spoon in the vegetable mixture. Wrap each roll tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving time.

Variations:

  • For a spicier roll, try using one of Kraft’s Mayonnaise Sandwich Shop products instead of plain mayonnaise/salad dressing. These come in four flavors: Hot & Spicy, Chipotle, Garlic & Herb, and Horseradish-Dijon.
  • Use the recipe with tomatoes substituted for the rolls. Omit the 4 tablespoons of chopped tomato.
  • For the carnivores out there, consider adding ½ cup of some John Morrell Diced Ham or chopped Perdue Shortcuts Chicken (flavor of your choice, but I recommend the original).

Cucumbers in Sour Cream – Yield: 4 servings

While this recipe comes from the referenced cookbook, this is a very popular salad in Germany.

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 6 tablespoons minced fresh chives/3 teaspoons dried chives
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 2 large/four small cucumbers, peeled and sliced

Combine the first five ingredients; stir well. Mix in the cucumbers and chill at least two hours.

Marinated Green Beans – Yield: 6 - 8 servings

This is a great make-ahead dish even if it’s not for a picnic.

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 (16 oz.) cans (good luck with that J) French-style or whole green beans, drained – I prefer the French-style.
  • 2 small onions, thinly sliced and separated into rings – I suggest a Vidalia or other mild type of onion.

Combine the sugar, vinegar, oil and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 4 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the beans and the onions in a dish that will allow coverage by the sugar-mixture marinade. Add the hot marinade to the bean-onion mixture and cool. Refrigerate overnight.

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