Your Summer Date Night: A Romantic Evening Picnic

Image Source: @natashasechenova

Image Source: @natashasechenova

We love a good summer date night! While it’s fun to splurge on a date night out every once in a while, we also really enjoy having a date night in, or creating our own adventures. That’s why this week we decided to put together our list of must-haves to create a perfect date night picnic for you and your beau! Whether you decide to head to the backyard with your picnic blanket, or a local park, make sure you have some yummy food and it’s sure to be a hit. If you can, grab a couple of pillows and even a spare blanket so you can comfortably snuggle up and watch the sunset. Bug spray is a must, too!

The key to a good picnic is to have a good spread, but everything is easily premade, doesn’t need to be reheated, and travels well. Keeping that in mind, here are our picks for your menu!

Appetizer - Bruschetta and Crostini

We love a good bruschetta and this one is super easy and delicious! A nice light and refreshing appetizer is the perfect way to get you started.

Image Source: Life She Lives

Image Source: Life She Lives

Ingredients

  • 1 French baguette, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 vine tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 small white onion, chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • Juice from 1/4 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Shredded Parmesan (optional)
Image Source: Life She Lives

Image Source: Life She Lives

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Saute minced garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil until fragrant and golden. Set aside.
  3. Chop tomatoes, onion and fresh basil and combine in a mixing bowl. Add sauteed garlic WITH the excess olive oil from the pan.
  4. Squeeze 1/4 lemon juice over the vegetable mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Mix well and chill in the refrigerator.
  6. In a small bowl, season the other 2 tablespoons of olive oil with salt and pepper.
  7. Lay baguette slices on a baking sheet and use silicone basting brush to apply seasoned olive oil. Bake for 8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
  8. Top each baguette slice with a spoonful of tomato bruschetta and a small sprinkle of shredded Parmesan (optional).
Image Source: Lil' Luna

Image Source: Lil' Luna

Dinner - Chicken Caesar Salad (Wraps)

Easy and a classic, we love a good chicken Caesar salad. If you’re not a straight salad kind of person, make it a wrap! Easy to eat and easy to travel with.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
  • 6 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup croutons
  • ½ cup Caesar dressing
  • 5-6 flour tortillas (8 inch)

Steps

  1. Add the first 5 ingredients to a medium bowl.
  2. Mix in caesar dressing until evenly coated.
  3. Spoon into tortillas and enjoy!

Dessert - Mini S’Mores

Making real s’mores during a picnic is a little difficult without a fire. But they’re such a summer classic, we have to get them in there somehow! Which is why we love these mini s’mores that you can make ahead of time to enjoy at the end of your meal.

Image Source: Taste of Home

Image Source: Taste of Home

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 package (14.4 ounces) graham crackers, quartered
  • 1 cup marshmallow creme
  • 2 cartons (7 ounces each) milk chocolate for dipping
  • 4 ounces white candy coating, melted, optional

Steps

  1. Place chocolate chips in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream just to a boil. Pour over chocolate; stir with a whisk until smooth. Cool to room temperature or until mixture reaches a spreading consistency, about 10 minutes.
  2. Spread chocolate mixture over half of the graham crackers. Spread marshmallow creme over remaining graham crackers; place over chocolate-covered crackers, pressing to adhere.
  3. Melt dipping chocolate according to package directions. Dip each s'more halfway into dipping chocolate; allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets; let stand until dipping chocolate is set.
  4. If desired, drizzle tops with melted white candy coating; let stand until set. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

You Can't Eat Just One Of These Yummy Lemon Squares

IMAGE SOURCE: @CHATELAINEMAG

IMAGE SOURCE: @CHATELAINEMAG

These sweet and zesty lemon bars are an all time favorite summer dessert for us at Parsimony Inspired and we are so excited to share the recipe with you! With a quick prep time you can make them in the morning, then enjoy after they have set when you come home from work or running errands. If sharing with friends be prepared to make 2 batches; every crumb will be gone before you know it!


INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/4 cups AP flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • pinch of salt
  • 12 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened
  • 7 large egg yolks
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup lemon zest
  • 3 tbsp. heavy cream

DIRECTIONS:

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch square pan with foil (by placing a sheet length and width wise to create a "sling" so the bars can easily be pulled out), and lightly coat with veggie spray.

Process the flour, confectioners' sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined, about 3 seconds. Sprinkle 8 tbsp. of butter over the top and pulse until the mixture is pale and resembles course cornmeal, about 8 pulses.

Sprinkle mixture into prepared pan and press firmly into an even layer using your fingers. Bake until the crust starts to brown, about 20 minutes.

While the crust is baking, whisk the yolks and whole eggs together in a medium nonreactive saucepan. Whisk in the granulated sugar until combined, then whisk in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt. Add the remaining 4 tbsp. butter and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thee mixture thickens slightly and registers 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes.

Strain the mixture immediately into a nonreactive bowls and stir in the cream. Pour the warm lemon curd over the hot crust. Bake until the filling is shiny and opaque and the center jiggles slightly when shaken, 10-15 minutes.

Let cool completely on a wire rack, about 2 hours, before removing the bars from the pan using the foil (lift up the edges of the foil) and cutting into squares. Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.


Mango Chicken Curry Is The Perfect Summer Dish For Your Next Get Together

IMAGE SOURCE:  @CURRYMERZESZOW

IMAGE SOURCE: @CURRYMERZESZOW

If you're looking to add a little spice to your weekly dinner routine you need to try our favorite mango chicken curry recipe! The curry adds that touch of spice you crave, while cooling you down with the sweet addition of mangoes and coconut milk. Ready in only 45 minutes, this curry is perfect for those late work nights and makes plenty of leftovers for you to enjoy the rest of the week! (Recipe courtesy of Genius Kitchen)


DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a deep frying pan or Dutch oven heat 1/3 cups of vegetable or peanut oil over medium heat until hot. Add 3-4 tbsp. of red curry paste (or yellow curry paste for more spice) and 2 cloves of crushed garlic until the garlic becomes fragrant, approximately 30 seconds. 
  2. Slowly stir in 2, 14 oz. cans of full fat coconut milk and 1 cup of chicken broth. Reduce heat to simmer, add 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs or breast (cut into bite size pieces), and cook for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Once the chicken is cooked, discard the garlic. Add 1 inch of fresh ginger cut in thick slices, 1 large onion coarsely chopped, and 1 red bell pepper sliced into strips. Cook until tender, about 7 minutes.
  4. Add 1 large mango (peeled, pitted, and cut into strips), 1, 14 oz. can of straw mushrooms (drained), 6 tbsp. fish sauce, and 3 tbsp. of brown sugar.
  5. When heated through, serve over individual plates of hot rice. Garnish with cilantro if desired.

Peach Streussel Muffins

Baking with fresh summer fruits is the easiest way to elevate your homemade desserts. These delightfully fresh peach streusel muffins are the perfect summer breakfast, snack, or dessert, and are guaranteed to impress your family and friends.


Yields: 12 muffins    Time: approx. 55 min total

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temp

  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

  • 2 large eggs, room temp

  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt

  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1 ¾ cups AP flour

  • 1 tsp. baking soda

  • 1 tsp. baking powder

  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon

  • 1/8 tsp. allspice

  • ½ tsp. salt

  • 3 tbsp. milk (any kind)

  • 1 ½ cups peeled, chopped peached (about 3 peaches) OR frozen, not thawed, chopped peaches

Image Credit:  Sally's Baking Addiction
 
Image Credit:  Sally's Baking Addiction
 
 
 

Crumb Topping:

  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar

  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

  • 2/3 cup AP flour

Glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

  • 3 tbsp. heavy cream

  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract


Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F, and spray a 12-count muffin pan with nonstick spray.

  2. Make the crumb topping: In a medium bowl, combine both sugars, cinnamon, and melted butter, then slowly stir in the flour. The crumb topping will be thick and crumbly. Set aside.

  3. Make the muffins: In a stand mixer, with fixed paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy (~1 min). Add both sugars and beat on high until creamed (~2 min), scraping the sides as needed. Add eggs, yogurt, and vanilla extract on medium-high speed until incorporated.

  4. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add flour mixture to the wet ingredients until no streaks remain. Add in the milk and mix until incorporated.

  5. Hand-fold peaches into batter with a rubber spatula.

  6. Fill the muffin pan with the batter to the top. Press a handful of crumble to cover the top of each muffin. Crumble some between your fingers for extra chunks of crunchy goodness!

  7. Bake for 5 minutes at 425°F, then reduce heat to 350°F for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack while making the glaze.

  8. Making the glaze: Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.

  9. Gently pop out muffins and place on a wire rack with paper towels below to catch extra glaze. Using a spoon or small pastry bag, drizzle glaze over warm muffins and enjoy!

  10. Make ahead tip: Muffins will stay moist and fresh in a sealed container on the counter for 3 day or in the refrigerator for up to 5. Muffins can also be frozen for up to 2 months. Just thaw in the refrigerator before eating!


Pro Tips

  • To easily peel slightly over-ripe peaches score the bottom of the peaches with an “X” and place in boiling water for 20-50 seconds until the skin begins to peel away from the score. Remove from water with a slotted spoon and place directly into an ice bath until cool enough to touch. The skin should peel right off! (If using under-ripe peaches a vegetable peeler works perfectly!)

  • You can use a plastic sandwich bag as a makeshift pastry bag! Just cut a very small hole in one corner and fill the bag with the glaze. It makes for a more precise drizzle than a spoon.


 

Summer Kick-Off BBQ

IMAGE COURTESY OF: SOCIAL VENTURE PARTNERS

IMAGE COURTESY OF: SOCIAL VENTURE PARTNERS

The warm summer sun, the sound of laughter from friends and family, and most importantly…the smell of fresh BBQ food! That’s right – it’s the summer kick-off BBQ! Nothing says “summer” like a fun BBQ cookout! Decorate your backyard with tables and stringed lights, make some fun cocktails, and dig in. Here are our favorite BBQ recipes for you to try this summer. Fire up the grill and enjoy!

IMAGE COURTESY OF: YOUR LIGHTER SIDE

IMAGE COURTESY OF: YOUR LIGHTER SIDE

IMAGE COURTESY OF: SEEDED AT THE TABLE

IMAGE COURTESY OF: SEEDED AT THE TABLE

Ingredients:
6 whole jalapeño peppers
6 oz. cream cheese
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 ½ oz. shredded cheddar cheese
12 slices bacon

Directions:
Cut off the jalapeño stems and cut in half lengthwise. Scrape out seeds and membranes.
Combine cream cheese, garlic powder, and cheddar cheese in a bowl. Stuff mixture into the jalapeño halves.
Wrap each jalapeño completely with bacon and secure with toothpicks.
Grill jalapeños cut side down until bacon is crisp (6 mins). Flip peppers over and cook an additional 10-12 mins. Serve and enjoy!

IMAGE COURTESY OF: CLOSET COOKING

IMAGE COURTESY OF: CLOSET COOKING

Ingredients:
4 (6 oz.) boneless chicken breasts
½ cup balsamic vinaigrette
8 oz. fresh mozzarella ball, sliced
1 ripe tomato, sliced
¼ cup basil, sliced
¼ cup balsamic reduction

Directions:
Marinate the chicken in the balsamic vinaigrette overnight
Grill the chicken until cooked and slightly charred, 2-4 mins per side before topping with mozzarella and tomato (keep on grill until cheese starts to melt a little)
Serve topped with the basil and balsamic reduction