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It’s a shore thing: Pack these beach bag snacks

Amber Graefen


May 31st, 2017

Its a shore thing

You’ve spent a winter of being stuck indoors, regularly envious of friends whose Instagram and Snapchat photos show them frolicking on beach vacations.

But fear not: Chicago is finally warming up and it’s time to hit the beach or pool. Whether you worked all winter to get into that bikini or you’re toting your little ones to the beach with you, you’ll want to pack something low-calorie, convenient and satisfying.

With that in mind, along with 100-calorie packs, mini bags of nuts and juice boxes (or wine boxes), here are three tasty recipes to amp up your beach provisions.


Not Your Mom’s Three-Bean Salad
(serves 6 to 8)

 3 Bean Salad

Your mom brought three-bean salad to the beach. You are not your mom. We get it. But this is not your mom’s salad. This is herby, peppery and spicy and oh so fresh. We also took out the added sugar and added an extra bean.

1/2 cup Signature Kitchens dark red kidney beans
1/2 cup Signature Kitchens garbanzo beans
1/2 cup Signature Kitchens pinto beans
1/2 cup Signature Kitchens white cannellini beans
1/2 cup Signature Kitchens fire-roasted corn
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1/2 large red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup roasted red pepper, chopped
3 tablespoons Signature Kitchens apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup Signature Kitchens olive oil
1 cup finely chopped parsley leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Make sure beans are rinsed and drained. In a large bowl, mix beans, fire-roasted corn, celery, onion and roasted red pepper. In a second bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, parsley, rosemary, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Pour over beans. Throw everything into a gallon-sized resealable bag and shake it like you’re at a Taylor Swift concert. Now, stop dancing and place bag of beans in the fridge and let chill. Resume dancing, if you’d like.

Foodie Tips: If you REALLY like sugar in your three-bean salad, add 1/4 cup to the vinegar and oil. But try it without and you might be pleasantly surprised. For extra savory taste, let beans chill for 3 hours or more. Or for something faster and easier, pack some fresh-made, vinegar-based salads from the deli counter. Garnish with some fresh herbs. Done.


Booze-Soaked Watermelon Wedges on a Stick
(serving size varies by watermelon size)

 Booze Watermelon

If everything about that recipe name says YES! you’re in for a treat. Tequila and triple sec (such as Cointreau) seep nicely into the porous watermelon slices. Imagine a watermelon joined with the flavors of a mojito and margarita. Coolness. Freshness. Joy on a stick. You’re friends will be so impressed.

Wooden frozen-treat sticks
1 small seedless watermelon, quartered and cut into 1-inch-thick wedges
1 cup Signature Kitchens sugar
1 cup water
1/4 cup Signature Kitchens lime juice
1/4 cup triple sec
1/2 cup tequila
2 limes, halved
Flaked sea salt

Insert sticks into the rind of each watermelon wedge. Using a large baking dish, place watermelon wedges in a single layer and chill in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.

In a small saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil. Cook for a minute and stir until sugar is dissolved to create simple syrup. Let cool completely then stir in lime juice, triple sec and tequila. Pour generously over chilled watermelon wedges. Place baking dish back into fridge overnight. Before you head to the beach, place the wedges in gallon-sized resealable bags and pack in a cooler, along with your cut limes and sea salt.

Foodie Tip: When ready to serve, squeeze fresh lime juice over each wedge and add a few pinches of flaked sea salt.


Palm Tree Treats
(makes 6 trees)

It's a Shore Thing 

 Nothing beats fresh fruit, Mother Nature’s candy, especially when artfully presented. Prep the night before by pre-slicing fruit and placing each type in a separate plastic container. Place a water-soaked paper towel atop cut fruit before sealing and refrigerate overnight. Embrace your inner high-achiever and arrange trees at the beach when ready to serve. So cute.

12 kiwis, peeled and sliced in long narrow wedges
6 large bananas, peeled and cut into 1-inch slices
6 tangerines, peeled and pulled apart into wedges

Start with the trunk. Arrange banana slices on a plate like two side-by-side palm tree trunks. Next add the palm fronds by arranging kiwi slices atop each tree trunk. Finally, add the base using tangerine pieces.

Foodie Tip: If you can’t find kiwis, try honeydew slices. Want to add some veg? Substitute cucumber for the banana. Cut grapes or orange wedges work for the base, as well.

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