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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Picnic recipes that are easy and delicious but will help you make the most of your excursion

It’s picnic season and here are snack suggestions to enjoy the great outdoors. 

Whether you’re headed to a sandy spot on the beach or a private location somewhere at a park, you’ll need some delicious foods for your basket.

Because some of the following foods include dairy and meats, avoid taking these items when the sun is shining brightly and the weather is very hot. These times are most likely in the early morning or afternoon. 

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A combination of the following items can be assorted on a cutting or Charcuterie board

Charcuterie board

Charcuterie boards are great any time of year, on any day or night, for almost any occasion. (Edwin Remsberg/VW PICS/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Recommended Charcuterie items for a picnic:

  • Crackers
  • Breadsticks
  • Grapes
  • Strawberries
  • Sliced kiwi
  • Sliced bell peppers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Celery sticks
  • Ranch dressing
  • Diced pepper jack cheese
  • Diced Colby Jack cheese
  • Diced white American cheese
  • Salami slices
  • Almonds

2. Stacked sandwich

Sandwiches are a summer staple grab-and-go item; they also filling and enjoyable. 

Top the meat with thinly sliced Roma tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Spread fresh baby arugula over the meat and cheese.

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Squeeze juice from a lemon across the ingredients and sprinkle a little salt and pepper to taste. Add the top half of the bread back and slice sandwiches on an angle.

Multi-colored fruit for a fruit salad

Include a variety of fruit in your fruit salad for a colorful, delicious snack. (iStock)

The best fruit pairings for a cream cheese based fruit dip are strawberries, melon types like cantaloupe and melon, pineapple and grapes.

Ingredients for fruit dip:

  • 1 package of cream cheese
  • 7 ounces of marshmallow fluff
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Begin by beating softened cream cheese in a mixer. 

Add in marshmallow fluff and vanilla. Mix until combined and serve cold. It really is that simple.

First, leave the cream cheese out on the counter to allow it to soften. If you’re hoping to put a lot of effort into this picnic snack, use a piping bag and fill it with the cream cheese once it’s soft enough to squeeze.

Slice cucumbers with the skin still on into about one-inch slices. Carve out the seeds of the cucumber halfway through. (You’ll want to ensure only halfway, so the rest of the seeds act as a base for the cream cheese.)

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Drape a napkin or two, depending on size, over the inside of the basket. Fill it with all kinds of local or homemade artisan bread types, crackers, sliced and whole.

breadsticks for a bread basket

Bread baskets are great for picnics. (iStock)

Recommended breads for a picnic:

  • French baguette
  • Soda bread
  • NAAN
  • Focaccia with hints of garlic and rosemary
  • Thin breadsticks
  • Crostini
  • Buttery crackers

6. Pasta salad

Pasta salad is obviously not a finger food, but it’s a great addition to a picnic if you’re bringing forks, small plates or bowls, or if you’re packing food in individual containers for a self-serving meal.

You’ll want to prepare pasta salad in advance, as the pasta itself will need time to cool and chill in the refrigerator after it comes out of boiling water.

If you intend on including the pepperoni, slice it the same way at this time. Set all ingredients aside in a large bowl.

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When the pasta has cooked, chill it in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes to ensure it has completely chilled and started to become cold. 

Cover the whole bowl with a lid or sandwich wrap and chill together. Stir before serving as the dressing will likely be sat at the bottom of the bowl.

7. Strawberry lemonade cocktail or mocktail

If you’re planning a picnic in a location that allows for alcohol, feel free to try this lemonade cocktail recipe. Pack a small cooler of ice to bring and a couple mason jars to drink out of. If you prefer this recipe as a mocktail, exclude the liquor and substitute more water.

Fresh strawberries in a big bunch

Strawberry lemonade cocktails are a sweet, cooling, classic drink to take on a picnic. (iStock)

Ingredients for strawberry lemonade cocktail or mocktail:

  • 1 container of fresh strawberries
  • 2 cups of juice from fresh lemons
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 cups of vodka
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar

First, wash the berries and remove their stems. In a blender, mix the water and strawberries.

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