We have been lucky enough to get the fabulous Cooking them Healthy girls, of www.cookingthemhealthy.com, to write a piece for us. They have created these delicious recipe idea’s for you to take along on your next family picnic.
Last of the Summer Sun…
The lazy summer days seem to have flown by and now we are all getting back into the school routine. September tends to be a golden month, with glorious early autumn sunshine and plenty of light evenings which means we can still enjoy weekend picnics and eating al fresco at any opportunity.
At Cooking them Healthy we love nothing more than getting outdoors with the kids, letting them explore and discover nature one leaf at a time. For us, one of the best bits of these little adventures, is preparing a delicious picnic where we can enjoy and celebrate being together.
We have gathered inspiration from some delicious seasonal foods to create some great picnic recipes. In all our Cooking them Healthy recipes we select create dished to nourish and strengthen our bodies, choosing to use nutrient dense ingredients, wholegrains or gluten free alternatives. We suggest using coconut oil for your cooking as it remains stable at high temperatures (unlike many other oils) and has valuable nutritional properties.
For the following picnic recipes we have focused on energy & immune boosting ingredients to help the whole family get the most out of their day, and keep them happy and healthy.
– Speedy Beetroot Tzatziki Dip with wholemeal pitta crisps
– Honey and mustard chicken drumsticks, roast sweet potato salad with feta, crunchy green bean salad
– Baked berries and custard Jam Jars
Beetroot Tzatziki Dip
This is the most beautiful pink dip and it takes just seconds to make. Beetroot is packed full of vitamins & minerals such as iron for optimal energy levels, as well as immune boosting Vitamin C and antioxidants.
250g cooked beetroot
3-4 tablespoons Greek yoghurt/natural yoghurt
Salt & Pepper
1. Grate the beetroot on the smallest side of your grater so it forms a pulp.
2. Mix the beetroot with the yoghurt and season to taste. This will last for several days in a jam or kilner jar in the fridge
These are a great fibre rich snack and make a healthy alternative to regular crisps, and they store well in a tin or kilner jar. We have chosen to flavour them with paprika for this recipe, however feel free to experiment – we also love dried herbs, cumin and even cinnamon.
4 wholewheat pitta breads
A few pinches of paprika approx 1/2 of a teaspoon
Coconut Oil (melted)
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
2. Cut your pitta into strips and open up each strip, tearing into two halves.
3. Place your pitta chips into a roasting tin and sprinkle lightly with the paprika then drizzle with coconut oil.
4. Using clean hands, toss everything together to coat and roast for 10 – 15 minutes, until golden and crunchy.
5. Take out and leave to cool.
These will last a good couple of weeks in an airtight container
Roast Sweet Potato and Feta Salad
This is lovely and simple, and much more nutritious than a traditional potato salad. Sweet potatoes are nutritional powerhouses, offering more vitamins & minerals than white potatoes, including beta carotene and vitamin C. It is guaranteed to brighten up any picnic and the crumbled feta adds a delicious saltiness that works really well with the sweet potato. We like to add a handful of mixed seeds to dishes in order to provide a boost of healthy omega oils, as well as a lovely crunch.
1 sweet potato peeled (approx 5-600g), chopped into pieces about 1 cm thick
60g feta, crumbled
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
A small handful pumpkin seeds (or mixed seeds)
2 tbsps olive oil
2 tbsps coconut oil
1. Place your sweet potato pieces into a roasting tray with the coconut oil.
2. Roast for 20-30 minutes until cooked through and golden around the edges.Allow to cool.
3. Place the potato into a bowl, stir through the feta and spring onions, scatter over the pumpkin seeds and drizzle over the olive oil. Mix together.
Crunchy Green Beans
Green beans are packed full of fibre and Vitamin C, and we love garlic for its natural antibacterial properties. The trick to this crunchy & vibrant green bean salad is a method called “blanching and refreshing”. This simply means cooking your beans in boiling water and then plunging them into cold water to stop the cooking process and keep their wonderful colour and bite.
200g green beans
1/2 garlic clove, grated
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1. Bring a pan of water to the boil and place in your green beans.
2. Cook for 2-3 minutes until they have lost their rawness but retain a lovely crunch.
3. Drain the beans and plunge into a bowl of cold water, or run under a cold tap. Make sure the water stays cold. If the beans sit in warm water they will continue to cook and start to discolour.
4. Allow them to drain completely
5. Meanwhile, make up the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, grated garlic, honey and Dijon mustard with a fork
6. Drizzle the dressing over the beans and stir through to coat
Baked Berries and Custard Jam Jars
This is a wonderful, easy and fun baked custard pudding. Cooking the recipe in jam jars means it is instantly portable (and means less washing up!).
Blackberries are the perfect autumnal fruit which children love to pick, and they work particularly well in this recipe, bringing a slight tartness to the dish. However, at other times of the year, you could alternatively use frozen mixed berries or soft fruits such as nectarines, peaches and cherries.
Blackberries are a wonderful source of Vitamin C and antioxidants to support immune health. Eggs are protein rich, and the honey provides a natural source of energy. This recipe is also naturally gluten free.
6 jam jars with lids (alternatively use ramekins and cover with cling film)
1 egg yolk
2 tsp cornflour
1/2 vanilla pod – seeds removed
20g unsalted butter for greasing
1. Pre heat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
2. Butter the inside of your jam jars all over.
3. In a bowl mix together the eggs, additional yolk and vanilla seeds and whisk in the honey and milk until all well incorporated.
4. Strain the mix through a sieve to prevent any eggy threads or lumps.
5. In a small pot or bowl take a couple of tablespoons of your egg mixture and combine with the cornflour until it forms a runny paste (this is known as ‘slaking’ and prevents lumps forming.) Simply pour this back into the eggy mix and stir all together.
6. Add about 5 blackberries to each jar and pour the mixture over the top – you want it to come to about 1 to 11/2 inches up the sides.
7. Place in the oven for 20-30 minutes until slightly puffed up round the edges and small bubbles are visible around the sides (however you don’t want the mix to be boiling too aggressively as this could cause it to curdle).
8. Take out and leave to cool completely.
9. When completely cooled, place the lids onto the jam – all ready to go!