Back to School Outdoor Blanket Giveaway

 

 

Picnic Blanket GiveawayWe are so excited about the back-to-school season – fall is just around the corner, and we hope that soon it will be cooling down enough around here in our home state of Texas that we’ll be able to spend a little more time enjoying the outdoors.

With that in mind, we thought it would be fun to give away one of these fabulous outdoor picnic blanket mats – big enough for your whole family to enjoy.

Outdoor Picnic Blanket Giveaway

These totable, waterproof, foldable, washable blanket mats are perfect for so many activities – whether you’re by yourself or with the whole crew.

They are a must-have for days when you’re planning to do any of these fun activities:

1. Go to the park

2. Sit outside at a sporting event (makes a great cover for those hot or cold bleachers, too)

3. Play at the beach (or just sit and read a book)

4. Hike and enjoy a picnic

5. Camp out (either at your local park or in the back yard)

6. Tailgate at a concert or other outdoor event.

Or maybe you just want something compact that you can keep in the car or RV for an emergency blanket.

This particular outdoor blanket mat is also machine washable – for when there’s a little too much dirt on it for simply wiping off or shaking out (been there, done that!).

It measures a full 80-by-60 inches when stretched out, but folds up into a mere 14-by-7-inch tote with a handle for easy carrying around and packing in the car.

Outdoor Picnic Blanket Giveaway

Enter below for the chance to win one for your family to enjoy!  We wish you all the best as you head into the school and fall season.

Please scroll down further to check out other Back to School giveaways you can enter, too, with lots of other fun prizes in the Back to School Giveaway Hop by Review Wire Media.

 

 

Back to School Giveaway Hop Review Wire Media


Secrets to Making Foil Packet Dinners

grilled foil meals, foil packet dinnersSeriously, I love the idea of foil packet dinners – similarly to why I enjoy making meals in the crockpot or all in one skillet meals.  Less clean-up is always better!!

Having not done grilled foil meals before, though, I was a bit nervous about trying it out (especially on the grill – even though it’s a gas grill and I usually operate it with ease).

It seemed too good to pass up – the thought of the entire meal being wrapped inside this foil packet – cooking, getting all juicy and delicious with flavor, and serving up easily – all with almost no dishes to do afterwards.  Whew!

I had to give this a shot.  With a house full of boys, there had to be potatoes included in the mix, for sure.  So, I started with a base layer of vegetables – diced up potatoes, carrots, and some poblano peppers (because who doesn’t enjoy the great southwest flavor of those?) as well as some sliced mushrooms (okay, my boys are a little bit picky, so I didn’t put peppers and mushrooms in theirs, to be honest – sad face).

After pulling out a section of aluminum foil for each packet (large enough on which to place the base of vegetables with a couple chicken tenderloins laid over top with enough space to wrap the edges up and over the top), spread those out on the counter, all ready for the filling.

At this point, either toss all your vegetables together in a bowl, so they’re well-blended for dividing onto each foil piece (or place a few of each vegetable in the portions you prefer on each foil piece).

It already looks so colorful.  I sprinkled some fajita seasoning over top (since I was using poblano peppers and mushrooms – this seasoning worked well for me).  Feel free to sprinkle with your preferred seasoning (perhaps Italian or Cajun or a personal favorite blend of herbs and seasonings).

Vegetables for Grilled Foil Packet Dinner

Next came the pieces of chicken (chicken tenderloins that I had already marinated for a half hour in a dab of lemon juice with fajita seasoning).  I laid the chicken pieces over top of the vegetables (two or three tenderloins, as you prefer).

Now it was easy to fold in towards the middle two of the edges, and then roll up the remaining two edges of the foil towards the center and twist them closed together.

I preheated the grill to medium-high heat, and placed the foil packets gently over the flames, setting a timer for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, I opened the packets, (careful to avoid the steam escaping them), and topped the dish off with some grated cheese (because I really like cheese – but this is obviously optional), and rolled the packets back up to give the cheese a few minutes to melt.

At this point, we weren’t quite ready to eat dinner, because I had to run to the airport to pick up a family member, so I tossed the foil packets onto a cookie sheet and placed in the oven at about 200 degrees F to just keep them warm basically until we were ready for them (they already looked and smelled absolutely fabulous, though!).

When we opened them up, the chicken was tender, the vegetables fully cooked (without being burnt or too roasted), the flavors had blended magnificently (I’m sure our packets with the mushrooms and poblanos were the best!), and clean up was so simple that mama was very happy.

Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Foil Dinner

Seriously, this dish is a no-brainer for an evening when you know you’re going to have distractions and need something simple to dish up for the whole crew.

The detailed “recipe” for this grilled foil meal (which is perfectly easy to modify with whatever vegetables, seasonings and/or meats you prefer):

Grilled Chicken and Vegetables Foil Packet Dinner (for 4)

8-10 chicken tenderloins (or other boneless, skinless chicken pieces flattened so they’ll cook through evenly)

4 cups of diced vegetables (combination of potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, peppers, onion, squash, or greens)

seasoning of your choice (I used fajita seasoning, but cajun, Italian, savory, or a personal blend would work just as well)

salt and pepper (if not already present in the seasoning mix you chose)

shredded cheese (optional)
aluminum foil, and a grill (or you could bake in the oven at 350 degrees F if you don’t have a grill)

If desired, and you have time, marinate the chicken pieces sprinkled with a little lemon juice and your seasoning of choice for 30 minutes before cooking.  Chop or dice vegetables.  Place approximately 1 cup of diced vegetables on each piece of aluminum foil, sprinkle with seasoning and/or salt and pepper, and top with chicken pieces, sprinkled with seasoning again.

Wrap foil up around edges on sides, then wrap over top of ingredients, folding foil together at the top in the middle so everything is enclosed.

Place on pre-heated grill (medium-high heat) and close grill lid or place in oven at 350 degrees F.  Cook for 30 minutes, then if desired, open packets carefully and top ingredients with a little shredded cheese, wrapping foil back in place and allowing to cook about 5 more minutes to completely melt cheese.

This kind of meal also makes a perfect dish for college kids or young adults looking for easy recipes for a healthy dinner that’s quick and doesn’t require a lot of clean-up (whether enjoying by themselves or with a group of friends).  Additionally, it’s a great gluten-free, dairy-free (if you don’t add cheese at the end) healthy meal!

Have you cooked foil packet meals before?  What are your favorite ideas or cooking tips to share with other newbies? We love hearing from you!

More Posts for You to Enjoy:

Grilling Recipes

Picking the Best BBQ and Grill Tongs

5 Picnic Basket Dishes to Make

5 Easy Dinners for Your Busy Day

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Wild and Wacky Days of Watermelon

 

 

Wild and Wacky Watermelon Recipes and Tips - Dish Dish

We celebrated National Watermelon Day this week and are so excited to share some wild, wacky wonderful tips about dishing up watermelon!

How to Pick the Best Watermelon

Do you find yourself, like me, standing in front of a huge bin of watermelons with no earthly idea how to make sure the one you take home will be as fresh, juicy, and sweet as you like?

I mean, in one way, they all look the same, and in another … are the seemingly mis-shaped ones or ones with particular spots the best or worst of the lot?

Things to look for in order to get the best watermelon, include

1. Creamy yellow spot (not white) where the watermelon was lying on the ground (the creamy color means it’s good)

2. Lack of a stem (look for an “innie” where the stem used to be, which should signify the watermelon ripened and fell from the vine on its own rather than being picked)

3. More rounded (as opposed to elongated) watermelons have a sweeter taste

different shaped watermelons

How to Scoop or Cut a Watermelon

Have you ever tried to use a melon scoop and ended up with 1/2 or 3/4 balls (not completely round)?  Me, too!

Apparently, the trick is to press the melon scoop far enough into the flesh of the melon so that it’s completely “inside” the melon and not scooping off the edge, then twist the scoop around 180 degrees in a full circle before pulling back out.

Yay for beautifully rounded scoops of melon!  They look so inviting in a fruit salad bowl.

For a fun treat and activity with the kids, slice watermelon in large slice and use cookie cutters to cut into fun shapes before serving.

If you’re wanting to enjoy individual servings of watermelon, consider slicing the melon into sticks for easier and less messy eating (as opposed to a rounded “boat” of watermelon slice).

It’s super easy with a sharp knife, after cutting the melon in half, lay it flat on a cutting board, and slice it in one direction, followed by slicing it in the other direction for simple “sticks” of watermelon for serving.

Here’s a quick video to explain:

 



How to Dish Up and Serve a Watermelon

Now, if you’re looking for some unique twists and recipes for serving up your watermelon for family and friends, we have you covered.  Here are a few of our favorites ways to dish up refreshing watermelon during a hot summer (including appetizers, salads, beverages, and frozen treats!).

Watermelon in juice in jar by Unsplash

Photo by kyryll ushakov on Unsplash

 

Watermelon Feta Bites

Watermelon Kiwi Popsicles

 Watermelon Berry Lemonade Cooler

Watermelon, Spinach and Bacon Salad

Watermelon and Feta with Honey and Mint

Watermelon Ginger Granita (a nice frozen treat)

 

Do you have favorite family memories around watermelon dishes?  Maybe you and your cousins enjoyed peppering each other with watermelon seeds while enjoying the refreshing summer snack.

Do you buy seedless or seeded watermelons? Which are your favorite and why?

If you have fun watermelon memories or a favorite way to dish up this summer treat, please leave us a comment below and share with us; we love hearing your ideas and stories.

 

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