Posted: 14 July 2017
Summer means picnic time! Attend a concert, enjoy fireworks or just hanging out with friends, a picnic on the grass or in the park makes any event a special occasion. Here is how to plan a picnic and some crowd pleasing menu ideas for your next picnic.
When choosing a menu, be sure to pick items that can be prepared in advance, travel well and can be eaten with your hands or fork. Avoid foods that can get soggy with time or that require long refrigeration.
Appetizers should be easy bite size snacks that travel well. Fruit, nuts, and trail mix are a good alternative to the greasy potato chip and can pack twice the nutritional punch.
Easy Trail Mix
Try throwing together some nuts such as almonds, cashews or pecans in a bag or plastic container. Add pumpkin or sunflower seeds along with dried fruit like raisins or chopped dried apricots. Don’t forget to add the fun stuff like popcorn or chocolate chips.
Choose some fresh in season watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew, cut into bite size squares or use a melon baller for a fun easy appetizer.
Choose salads that are built around hearty vegetables or grains like beans or quinoa. Lettuce salads may wilt and get soggy in your basket. Make sure to do all your slicing and prep work at home.
Green Bean and Cherry Tomato salad
Boils some fresh green beans until tender, drain and add halved cherry tomatoes. Toss with your favorite balsamic vinaigrette.
Tomato, Cucumber, Onion Salad
Dice up some tomatoes, cucumber, and onion. Toss in lemon juice. Add a teaspoon full of cumin, a dash of salt and pepper and a splash of olive oil.
Keep your main dishes satisfying for the rugged outdoor picnic but simple and easy to serve.
Sandwiches are always a good choice for a picnic lunch or dinner and easy to eat. Choose a sturdy bread like a baguette to start and fill it with your favorite meat, cheese, and veggies. Put your condiments in small squeeze bottles to avoid the need for serving utensils.
If you are gluten free a tower on goodness on a skewer instead of a sandwich works well.
Alternate cherry tomatoes, fresh small mozzarella balls, whole black olives and thinly sliced salami stacked on a skewer. Mix up some balsamic vinegar, fresh chopped basil, and olive oil to drizzle on the skewers before serving.
Desserts are probably the easiest menu item to plan and pack. Treats are a crowd pleaser for picnickers of any age.
Cookies easily transported and only mildly affected by heat making them the perfect picnic dessert. Whip up a batch of your favorite peanut butter or chocolate chip cookies and your picnic patrons will sure to be smiling.
Fruit Topped Brownies
Summer means blueberry and raspberries are in season. Grab a box of brownie mix out of the cupboard, make as directed on the box. At the last minute before baking add some evenly spaced blueberries or raspberries on top! Nothing tastes more like summer than fresh fruit!
To make your picnic pretty use wax paper with ribbon to pack your picnic items. Reusable tins and serving bowls are a great alternative to plastic wraps and disposable plastic containers. When in doubt, a sealable bag always comes in handy and can be reused.
Don’t own a picnic basket? No worries, use two big recycled canvas groceries bags. Pack one with room temperature goodies and add a couple of cold packs to the second bag for items that need to stay chilled. A piece of the cupboard from a recycled box can be measured and cut to place between layers of containers in your bags, this will the bags sturdy and easy to travel.
Don’t forget study non-breakable plates and utensils.
Other useful things include napkins, paper towels, salt and pepper shakers, and serving utensils. A table cloth with makes your picnic feel complete even when used in the grass and not on a table top.