Get Off The Couch and Cook

Get Off The Couch and Cook -

Picnic Fare: 15 Picnic-Friendly Recipes


After talking about salads and picnics on Monday, I want to go on a picnic even more so than ever.  There’s a state park not too far from where I live called Sweetwater Creek that has nice pavilions that I like to go to.  Yeah, there are parks within Atlanta proper as well but I’m not a fan of the traffic I have to fight to get to most of them.  I also enjoy packing a picnic dinner and going to the drive-in movie theater but money is tight enough right now that it doesn’t happen to often.

So, besides most of the salads I posted on Monday, here are a few other picnic food ideas, including a few starters and desserts.  Since I think picnics are social meals, I love social food like dips so I included a few of this here, too.



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Just click on the picture to go to the link.









Salad Days: 20 Salads and Dressings


Now that Spring has sprung and Summer is practically here in Atlanta, I am craving salads.  Salads are a great week night meal because lettuce salads require little to no cooking and pasta salads can be made ahead for another night.  I love that there are more types of salads that just lettuce or pasta.  Though, just changing the dressing for  basic lettuce salad can make a salad into a different meal even if the rest of the ingredients are the same.

Warm, sunny weather also makes me crave picnics.  I loooove picnics!  I’m not a sun person or even an outdoorsy person but going to a park and sitting in the shade to enjoy a simple meal of sandwiches, salads, and sweets makes for a sunny Sashi soul.

Below is a series of salad recipes that have been posted before on this site.  It’s fun to see how my photos have improved a bit!

Leafy Salads and Dressings

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Vegetable & Potato Salads

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Pasta/Couscous/Rice Salads

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Just click on the picture to go to the link.




What are your favorite spring or summer time salads?






Cilantro Jalapeno Limeade


Sweet, herby, spicy and fresh…. a perfect beverage for a hot summer day!


A few years ago, we were camping with a large group of friends, one of which had several bottles of mead from a winery in Missouri called 7 Cs that he had picked up while traveling across the U.S. for work.  One of the flavors that he had was called After Burn, a mead with a hint of jalapeno.

I am not a huge fan of most meads but After Burn was AMAZING.  It had the sweet alcoholic flavor of mead but with a fruity mild after burn from the jalapeno.  It was so good that we’ve thought about making the 14-hour drive just to get a case.

Stupid tight budget.


So when I was deciding on recipes to make for the SRC reveal on Monday, I knew I also needed to make this Cilantro Jalapeno Limeade from SteaknPotatoesKindaGurl.  It was the perfect complement to round out our meal of the carnitas and creamy rice that I also made thanks to her blog!

I felt like I was having a grown-up drink just without the alcohol while drinking this.  I’m sure it was because of the sugar/salted rim and lime wedge but I just got a sugar buzz instead.


Again, this is simple to make but does take a little planning since the mixture needs to set at least 3 hours before drinking.  I let it sit overnight like Desi did so it had a strong but not overpowering flavor.  The jalapeno came across more fruity  than spicy and the cilantro had a wondering undertone.

When you strain the mixture, be sure to strain it through cheese cloth.  Because I don’t have a fine mesh strainer and forgot to get cheesecloth, we had a few flecks of cilantro in our glasses (which I edited out of the photos).  I will definitely be making this again throughout the summer!

Cilantro Jalapeno Limeade
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 2 large glasses
  • 2¼ c water
  • ½ c sugar
  • ¼ c honey
  • ½ c coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 2 lg jalapenos, seeded and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • ¾ c lime juice (3-4 limes), save 1-2 slices of the limes for garnish (optional)
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, ½ cup sugar and honey and heat over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring often.
  2. Once it comes to a boil, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cilantro and jalapeno.
  3. Pour into a large bowl and let cool for 30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.
  4. Strain the jalapeno/cilantro mixture in a fine sieve over a small pitcher, reserving the juice and discarding the solids.
  5. In a shallow dish, combine the sugar and salt. Squeeze the limes to get the juice and reserve a couple of the squeezed halves.
  6. Use the leftover rinds to moisten the rims of 2 large glasses and dip the rims into the sugar/salt combination.
  7. Mix the lime juice into the pitcher of cilantro-jalapeno water.
  8. If you'd like, fill the glasses with ice then fill with the limeade. Garnish with lime slices.
  9. Serve immediately.


Mexican Sour Cream Rice


Creamy, cheesy, simple yet decadent… this is a side dish for those who love lots of flavor but don’t mind a few extra calories on their plate.


Remember the carnitas I posted on Monday for my Secret Club Recipe reveal day?  Go ahead and look.  I’ll wait.  Well, this is the side I made to go with them from the same blog: SteaknPotatoesKindaGurl.  I love so many of her recipes; I really do.  And since I was doing a flavor profile with a Latin theme, Desi’s Mexican Sour Cream Rice seemed to be just the thing that would complement it perfectly.

And it was incredibly easy, too.  Just cook the rice in broth then mix in everything but 1 cup of cheese.  Add to a casserole dish, top with the reserved cheese and bake.  Simple, right?


I was also able to make this ahead of time and refrigerate it until I was ready to bake it.  That, of course, makes me happy since I need easy dinner ideas for during the week.  Especially since I keep waiting for this work schedule to get easier.

Eventually it should, though, right?



Well, even if it doesn’t, I can still find time to make yummy foods like this.  Sure, not the healthiest option but every now and again, we need to indulge in comfort food, right?


Don’t forget to check back on Friday for the 3rd recipe I made from Desi’s site!

Mexican Sour Cream Rice
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 c uncooked long grain white rice
  • 2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 4 oz can diced green chiles, drained
  • 2 c. shredded pepper jack cheese (8 oz), divided
  • 2 c frozen kernels
  • ¼ c finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • Kosher salt and finely ground black pepper, to taste
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine rice and broth. Heat over medium-high heat until the broth begins to boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer 15-20 minutes or until rice is almost done. It's okay is the rice is still slightly wet.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray 1½ qt casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients to the rice, reserving 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Stir ti combine well then spoon into the prepared casserole dish. Top with the remaining shredded cheese.
  4. Bake 30 minutes, uncovered, until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.
Adapted very slightly from SteaknPotatoesKindaGurl






Slow Cooker Carnitas


Love carnitas but don’t have a grill but don’t want to heat up your home witht he oven?  Here is an amazingly easy yet delicious version to satisfy that craving at home!  The pork spends all day in the slow cooker and then gets crispy after a few minutes under the broiler.  ¡Delicioso!


Yay!  It’s Secret Recipe Club time again!

This month, I was assigned a blog that I have been secretly following ever since I learned about the SRC: SteaknPotatoesKindaGurl which belongs to a spunky girl named Desi in Ohio who seems like she’d be a fun friend to have.  She and her high school sweetheart, PJ, are an amazingly cute couple.  They’ve been together for 13 years, almost half their lives!  I love hearing stories like that!

Because I have been following her for a little while, I already had so many recipes from her blog that I wanted to try that I actually made *3* of them.  So, for our SRC reveal day, I made her Crockpot Carnitas which were OMG good!  I decided that I am going to post the other 2 recipes on Wednesday and Friday this week so I guess it’s kind of an unofficial SnPKG Week!  🙂


The timing worked out perfectly because Mr. O was craving carnitas AND I had a pork butt in the freezer that I had gotten on sale the previous week.  I did need to change up the recipe a little bit because I don’t like the flavor of beer so it overpowers other flavors for me.  I know a lot of beer lovers like to say “You just haven’t found the right beer” but I don’t like the yeasty, hoppy after-flavor of ANY beer I have ever tried so why would I put myself through the misery just to find that elusive beer that I might be able to tolerate?  That seems like a silly and expensive journey that I’ll pass on.

Um… sorry for the mini-rant.  I don’t like beer and I’m okay with that.  🙂

So, my version has no beer.  I increased the orange juice and salsa, though, to make up for the missing liquid.  I also reduced the salt just a smidge.  I so, so, SO wanted to eat mine with avocado like Desi did but the one I bought ended up being bad in the center even though the outside seemed perfectly fine.


A little smear of sour cream and fresh tomato slices were good, though.  A lot of yummy sounds were made during dinner by both Mr. O and I.  Halfway through dinner, he looked at me and said, “You win the secret recipes!”  That’s an exact quote, too.  And because I cooked a 6 lb pork butt, there were A LOT of leftovers.  I had carnitas everyday for lunch plus he had lots of leftovers at his disposal as well.  This is going to be a permanent fixture in my Sunday slow cooker rotation.


Slow Cooker Carnitas
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 5-6 lb pork butt roast
  • 1 Tbsp jarred minced garlic
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 c salsa (I used my easy homemade salsa)
  • ¾ c orange juice
  • ½ c water
  • Juice of 2 limes (1/4 cup)
  • 1 Tbsp hot sauce
  1. Place the roast, fat side up, in a 6-qt. slow cooker.
  2. Rub in the garlic on the top and sides.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the salt, cumin, chili powder, pepper, oregano, cayenne, and cinnamon. Rub into the pork over the garlic on the top and sides.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together the salsa, orange juice, water, lime juice and hot sauce until blended. Pour gently over the pork roast.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  6. Preheat the broiler to high.
  7. Shred the pork inside the slow cooker using tongs, removing the bone (if present) and any large pieces of fat.
  8. Use the tongs to remove the pork from the slow cooker with the tongs, letting only some of the juices drip off the meat, and place on a large rimmed baking sheet.
  9. Place under the broiler for 5-10 minutes until the meat starts to turn crispy and browned. Be careful to watch it so it doesn't burn!
  10. Remove from the broiler and serve immediately.


So what else did I make?  I’m not going to tell you but here are a couple of sneak peeks.  Check back later this week to see what else I made courtesy of the steak-n-potatoes kinda girl. 🙂

mexican-sour-cream-rice-3 cilantro-jalapeno-limeade-2


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Roasted Garlic Potatoes and Peppers


Cutting the melted butter with canola oil allows for the buttery flavor without as much saturated fat so you can enjoy these garlicky gems with a lot less guilt.

Have you ever cooked something new and loved it so much that you had to make it again a few days later?  That was the case with these potatoes.  The first time I made them, I used a bag of cute little baby potatoes (yay coupons!) and then I tried them again with cubed waxy potatoes and was just as happy.

They are buttery and super garlicky and the peppers offer a nice sweetness that holds onto the garlic really well as well.  They do take a little prep work to cut the potatoes and deseed the peppers but once they are in the oven, you have a good 40-45 minutes before you need to deal with them again.


This is certainly a side dish that I am more apt to make on the weekend because of the prep and cooking time but there are enough leftovers for a few lunches during the week as well.  Yes, yes, I did eat them cold because that’s what I do but I could these holding up well when being reheated.  Maybe not the peppers but the potatoes themselves.

In fact, when I made these the 2nd time, I also sautéed some bacon and chicken on the stove top and mixed them in with the finished potatoes and peppers for a sort of hash-type dish for a hearty lunch (that was really, REALLY good).  When you make these, be sure to choose a waxy potato if you can.  Starchier potatoes would still taste really but waxy ones will have a butterier (that should totally be a word) flavor and better texture, imho.


Roasted Garlic Potatoes and Peppers
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 8 servings
  • ¼ c unsalted butter
  • ¼ c canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp jarred minced garlic
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 lb waxy potatoes, skins on, cut into ¾" pieces
  • 1 lb mini sweet peppers, halved, deseeded and deveined
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Cover a large rimmed baking sheet with foil (for easier clean up later) and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, add the butter and canola oil and place over medium-low heat until the butter melts. Stir in the garlic, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  3. In a large bowl, add the potatoes and peppers. Pour in the butter-garlic mixture and toss to coat well.
  4. Spread in an even layer on the baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the potatoes are crispy and cooked through.




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