Basket Lunch: Spring Party Idea

As warm spring days replace colder weather, celebrate by inviting friends over for a fun basket lunch outdoors. Serve guests a casual, French-inspired lunch in a basket that they can pick up and enjoy while sitting outside and enjoying the beautiful weather. Line baskets with bright cloths, and then fill them with these fresh and delicious options. 

basket lunch

These Croissant Sandwiches with Orange-Tarragon Spread are light and easy to eat. Keep the menu simple but filling.

Croissant Sandwiches with Orange-Tarragon Spread
Makes 8 sandwiches
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup mayonnaise
  2. 1/4 cup harvest ground mustard
  3. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
  4. 1 tablespoon orange zest
  5. 2 tablespoons orange juice
  6. 1 teaspoon sugar
  7. 8 croissants, cut in half
  8. 1 1/2 pounds thickly sliced smoked ham
  9. 1 (8-ounce) wheel of Brie, cut into 16 slices
  10. 8 butter lettuce leaves, rinsed and dried
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, tarragon, orange zest, orange juice, and sugar, whisking to combine. Spread a thin layer on cut sides of croissants. Layer ham, 2 slices Brie, and lettuce on bottom half of each croissant. Top with remaining half. Serve immediately.
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The Honey-Almond Fruit Salad and Pasta Salad can both be prepared ahead of time, allowing you to simply enjoy your friends the day of the party.

Honey-Almond Fruit Salad
Makes 8 servings
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups peeled, cored, and chopped pineapple
  2. 1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
  3. 1 cup red grapes
  4. 1 cup blueberries
  5. 1 cup sliced kiwifruit
  6. 1 cup toasted almond slivers
  7. 1/4 cup honey
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine pineapple, strawberries, grapes, blueberries, kiwifruit, almond slivers, and honey, stirring well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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Pasta Salad
Makes 10 to 12 servings
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pound rotini pasta
  2. 1 cup halved haricots verts
  3. 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  4. 2/3 cup pitted and chopped niçoise olives
  5. 3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  6. 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  7. 1/4 cup white-wine vinegar
  8. 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  9. 1/2 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add rotini, and cook according to package directions. Add haricots verts to boiling water during the last 2 minutes of cooking time for pasta. Drain well.
  2. In a large bowl, combine pasta, haricots verts, cherry tomatoes, and olives. Finely chop hard-boiled eggs. Add to pasta mixture, tossing to combine.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, parsley, and salt. Pour over pasta mixture, tossing gently to coat. Refrigerate for 1 hour, or until chilled.
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