Even as the mountains here in Utah start to show patches of rust colored fall leaves, my husband and I cling to the last visages of summer. We drive up the canyon with our picnic basket full of the foods we enjoy to find a spot by our favorite creek.
There is something about a picnic that resurrects the child in each of us. The contents of our baskets are secondary to the excitement of mom unfurling the table cloth, while the children strip off shoes and socks to run bare-foot in the grass or shiver in shallow creeks of mountain water. Dad hauls out his fishing rod, or puts together a kite purchased at the dollar store. Time seems to stand still as the sun warms our skin and robins chirp to the sounds of a fading summer.
But who said that picnics need to end just because the leaves fall or the temperature dips to single digits? Try this during the dark winter when everyone in the family needs a little sunshine.
Unfurl that summer tablecloth and place it on the living room floor. Find a CD that has the sounds of nature and play it. Fill the picnic basket with your favorite foods, strip off your shoes and socks, and share your stories of summer with your friends or family. You can even use your micro-wave to make s’mores. Everyone will enjoy the adventure of having a break from their normal eating routine. To” warm up” your fall or winter picnic, try the following recipe.
Quick Pasta e Fagioli with Parmesan
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 22 minutes
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: l-l/4 cups)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- l/2 cup chopped onion
- 2 ea. clove garlic, minced
- l/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 (19 oz) can cannelloni beans, drained and partially mashed
- 4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
- l/2 cup canned diced tomatoes, drained
- l/2 cup ditalini (very short tube-shaped macaroni)
- l/4 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook 5 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently.
Stir in pepper and next 3 ingredients (through broth); bring to a boil.
Add tomatoes; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes
Add pasta; cook 7 minutes or until done. Sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon cheese.
Enjoy your fall and/or winter picnic!