The Perfect Picnic

Dig into 2 Delicious Desserts

1. Creamy Orange Bars

Creamy Orange Bars, Summer Fruit Salad

Alison Miksch

You can't take ice cream in your picnic basket, but these sherbet-y dessert bars are just as good.

Using the packets from an 11.1-oz. package of no-bake cheesecake, prepare crust in bowl according to directions on box, using 2 Tbs. sugar and 5 Tbs. melted butter. Press crumbs into an 8-inch baking pan. In a medium-size bowl, stir 1 packet unflavored gelatin into 1/2 cup thawed frozen orange-juice concentrate. Let mixture sit 10 minutes. Microwave in 10-second intervals until heated and gelatin is completely dissolved. Following package directions (decreasing milk by 1/4 cup), in a large bowl, with mixer on low speed, beat together cheesecake-filling mix and milk for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium, and beat mixture 3 minutes more. Beat in orange juice-gelatin mixture and 1 to 2 drops orange food coloring. Pour over crust in pan, and smooth surface. Chill at least 3 hours. Cut into bars; to transport, cover pan with 2 layers of plastic wrap secured with rubber bands. Makes 12 servings.

Nutrition per bar: 246 cal; 3g protein; 13g fat; 31g carb; 112mg calcium; 0 fiber.

2. Summer Fruit Salad

Whip up the vanilla syrup as much as a week ahead and store in the refrigerator until you're ready to take it to your picnic. You can use the syrup on any fresh fruit; here are our favorites.

In a medium saucepan, combine 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, and 1 vanilla bean, split open. Bring sugar-and-vanilla mixture to a boil over high heat and cook 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes more. Transfer syrup to a bowl and let cool completely. In a large bowl, combine 1 pint each blueberries and raspberries, 2 cups halved seedless grapes, 1 quart strawberries, cut into quarters, and 3 nectarines or peaches, sliced. Toss fruit with vanilla syrup right before you leave for your picnic, and transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid. Makes 12 servings.

Nutrition per serving: 124 cal; 1g protein; 1g fat; 31g carb; 18mg calcium; 4g fiber.

Copyright ? 2006. Reprinted with permission from the June 2006 issue of Parents magazine.

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