A Perfect Day for a Picnic at the Zoo

Quinoa Pilaf with Sauteed Vegetables and Spring Salad

We love the zoo! I mean who doesn’t love acres and acres of wild animals running around aimlessly? Oh, and we are pretty fond of the 4 legged-kind, too.  A day at the zoo for my family usually involves a big token purchase for the train and carousel, an animal shaped juice concoction, lots of running and roaring excitement for the tigers, an enormous bag of popcorn,  an enormous diet coke (for me) and we usually round out the day with a slight meltdown caused by a little too much of the above.

We recently made plans with friends for the zoo rather than making it a last minute thing like we usually do, so it gave me a chance to prepare a picnic lunch for all of us and eliminated the temptation to chow down on french fries and hot dogs and kept the junk intake slightly minimal.  It was also a good excuse to use my picnic basket and finally use the Vera Bradley disposable plates that have been in my drawer for over a year.  I was able to prepare everything the night before and everything was just as good served chilled as it was right out off the stove.  Luckily my friends are up to trying new things, so I made a quinoa pilaf with sauteed vegetables and spring salad for the mommies and daddies.  Having slighly limited palettes, the kids got a little more conventional lunch of PB&J, fruit salad and home made “animal crackers” also know as yellow Sugar Cookies shaped like chickens.

 Quinoa Pilaf with Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked prewashed quinoa (such as Ancient Harvest Organic Traditional Quinoa)
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1-2 cooked chicken breasts, chopped
  • 3 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 2 tbsp reduced fat crumbled Feta cheese
  • 2 ounces fresh Mozarella cheese,
  • 1 1/2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Prepare quinoa according to package directions replacing the water with chicken broth.  While quinoa is cooking, chop tomatoes, chicken, basil, and cheese.  Allow quinoa to cool to room temperature and add chopped ingredients.  Toss with Balsamic Vinegar and olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Serves 4.

Sauteed Vegetables

Chop one whole zucchini, 1/2 small yellow onion, 10-12 baby bella mushrooms and 1-2 tbps fresh thyme.  Spray non-stick skillet with vegetable cooking spray and heat over medium heat.  Once the pan is heated, saute mixture until tender.  Sprinkle with soy sauce and balsamic vinegar and add salt/pepper to taste.

Little Lucy ensured the safety of our picnic in the wagon.

 

T-Rex was a bit scary!!!!!

 

Hunter Bear was not so sure about the dinosaurs.

 

Warner wasn't quite sure about them either.

 

All in all it was a great day!

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