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Easy Lunch for a Bunch of Faves.

This weekend I was catering for 10 people in a gorgeous outdoor location by the lake. It was my mum’s birthday and she loves my salads! Winning!

The meal needed to be versatile, ready-to-serve, healthy and tasty! We also needed to cater for people who don’t like fancy food.

I’m a big advocate for cooking everything from scratch but sometimes I will improvise (to ensure I’m not spending too much time in the kitchen and that I will be in a good mood when we finally get to the event!!)

So, I made 4 salads and the recipe for 2 of those are below!

The salads were a total hit! Surprisingly, the fussy people apprehensively ventured into foreign territory and the response was gentle nods of satisfaction - tick! Therefore the fussy people salad was basically left alone (thankfully, it was and undressed standard green salad, which meant we could use it the following day at home). With guests asking for the recipes at the end of the day, we knew we did good.

This is roughly how it went:

This salad was inspired by our New Years Day lunch that a friend made for a bunch of us. She chopped and chopped and enlisted help and it was quite the mission of preparation but TOTALLY worth it. So delicious, healthy, the taste of summer ;-)

My version went like this. I was in a bit of a hurry after spending the morning outdoors with my favourite girlfriends walking, and talking so I enlisted my Thermomix as I didn’t have any keen helpers nearby.

The fishing co-op had local small king prawn for a reasonable price so I bought a kilo.

Hubby peeled the lot but we put 3/4 into the salad and 1/4 into a container with lemons for the fussy people.

Ingredients*:

750g small cooked king prawn, peeled.

1 mango diced

1 avocado diced

1 garlic clove

1 cup packed fresh coriander

4 spring onions

1/2 or 1 fresh red hot chilli (I used half for our guests. At home we would use 1 or 2!)

1/2 red capsicum chopped

Juice from one juicy lime

A couple of dashes of sesame oil (approx 2 tsp)

1 glug of olive oil

Sea Salt to taste

I used the Thermomix for the spring onions, garlic, chilli & coriander. 5 seconds at 6 or you can chop like crazy. Then add the dressing ingredients.

The mango, capsicum and avocado needs to be hand diced for texture.

Let the mix sit for a good half hour or more and then taste before adding the prawns. If it’s oily or boring, add more lime and/or chilli.

On to Salad Number Two!

This one doesn't look super flash but it’s intended to go into the wraps and fresh rolls we served. Our guests put some crunchy undressed salad in with it. DELISH!

Buy the best quality BBQ chicken from your local store. Remove the skin and break off all the white meat. Pull the legs and wings etc off, remove the stuffing and cut into a serve size pieces. Put aside in a container. This was my fussy people option.

Ingredients*:

1 small red onion

1 cup of packed fresh parsley

5 seconds on 5.5 in the Thermomix or chop chop chop till the mix is fine.

4 green grapes

1 lebanese cucumber

1 cup baby spinach

Either add these to the Thermomix for 3 seconds on 5.5 or chop chop chop.

Add the chicken to the Thermomix on 3.5 for 5 seconds or, again, chop chop chop.

3/4 cup of good quality Greek yoghurt

Juice of 1 lemon

A glug of olive oil (approx 2 tbs)

Pepper & Salt to taste

Now, taste your creation! If it is too tart, add some more oil.

If it’s too oily, add some more lemon.

Pepper and salt is a great simple seasoning, don’t be shy.

Top the salad with candied walnuts (my walking buddy that morning told me to give the poor bugger candied walnuts instead of my healthier, simpler version - raw - it was worth the compromise).

How to make 1 cup candied walnuts:

There are plenty of recipes and options on how to do this.

I did mine on medium heat with 1 tbs maple syrup for 5 minutes. Stir continuously, especially for the last 2 minutes.

So simple!

We drank a Hunter Valley Semillon with this meal and it was perfect! A friend bought a bottle of the Cedar Creek’s 2007 Semillon coincidentally and I Googled it later and found that it is amazing value - I ordered a carton!! A glass with lunch can be good for your health. Drink responsibly and make good choices ;-)

My Mum loves prawn, mango, avocado and cherry ripes, so one of the salads covered off most of her favourites and then I purchased the Woolies chocolate sponge cakes, made a chocolate icing and then sliced the cherry ripe into wedges and decorated the top.

Woolworths delivered most of the ingredients. I went out hunting to the co-op and the local award winning chicken shop.

It took less than 3 hours to put this lunch together and we fed 12 people without any angst.

EASY and DONE!

*A note on ingredient quantities:

I put salads together from other recipes for inspiration and then use what I have in the fridge, in the garden or easy to get from local shops.

I don’t measure.

I grab a handful of this and a dollop of that and a glug or two of this etc.. so my quantities are guesswork - sorry!

I tend to taste things and add a touch more of something to balance flavours.

Enjoy!

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Fitness Junction is a personal training gym based in Newcastle, Australia.

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