Picnic Foods

Picnic Foods

A picnic is a great way to share a meal with someone special in your favorite outdoor setting. You can make your picnic a romantic outing or a fun day in the sun with your friends and family. Picnic foods can be anything that you enjoy eating. Here are a few simple, easy and delightful picnic options.

Lemonade is one of the classic summer drinks. The juxtaposition of tart and sweet gives this simple drink wonderfully complex flavor. It is a great refreshing drink to pack up in your picnic basket.

Approx. 6 lemons
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
4 to 6 cups cold water

Prepare simple syrup using 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring the water and sugar to a boil, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Allow simple syrup to cool, and then refrigerate. Juice the lemons (you want about 1 cup of lemon juice).  You can strain the juice if you would like pulp-free lemonade. Combine lemon juice and simple syrup then dilute with cold water until desired flavor is reached, generally at about 4 to 6 cups cold water.

You can adjust the proportions of lemon juice to simple syrup to change the sweetness or tartness of the lemonade depending on what you like. If you really want to jazz up your lemonade for your picnic, crush fresh strawberries in the lemonade for a delicious strawberry-lemonade swirl.

Fresh Fruit
Fresh fruit is a must for any picnic basket. It is a great addition for any meal and it is perfect for picnics. Fruit is easy since it requires almost no preparation. Combine several types of fruit for a simple fruit medley.

Scant lemon juice

These are just a few of my favorite fruits to combine into a fruit salad. You can choose any fruits that you like. You can use more exotic fruits such as star fruit, kiwis or figs if you can find them at your local store. When satsumas are available, they are a great addition.

Peel and chop melons into about 1-in squares, or if you want something a little more decorative, use a melon-baller and make melon balls. Peel orange and cut into pieces. If you are using star fruit or kiwis, slice crosswise. Star fruit make very appealing star-shaped slices. Mix all fruit together in a bowl, leaving the strawberries and grapes whole. Tossing fruit with a little lemon juice will prevent any browning and keep fruits fresh. It also adds a nice flavor.

Tomato, Basil and Fresh Mozzarella Salad
This makes a great, fresh tasting salad that is simple to prepare and can be a great picnic dish. The recipe for this dish is very flexible, if you enjoy some flavors more than others you can adjust the recipe however you see fit.

Approx. 1-cup fresh small mozzarella balls
Approx. 1-cup cherry tomatoes
Approx. 10 small fresh basil leaves
1/4-cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Drain the mozzarella balls, and combine mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. Drizzle the oil over the mixture, and add salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and enjoy.

Sauteed Green Beans with Garlic
Fresh green beans are one of the greatest pleasures of summer. This recipe makes a great salad, hot or cold.

Approx. 1lb fresh green beans, de-stemmed
5 cloves garlic, chopped
Olive oil

Pull the stems off the green beans and, if the beans are large, pull out the string from the beans. Drop beans in boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes, drain and plunge the beans into ice water. When the beans are cooled, heat olive oil in a skillet. Lightly sauté garlic in heated oil for a few seconds, and then add the green beans, stirring frequently until warm. Serve warm or cold. If you enjoy garlic, add a few more cloves, or less if you don't like the flavor of garlic.

Sandwiches are an easy main dish for your picnic. I like to pack a few simple ingredients in my picnic basket, so I can put together my sandwich during the picnic. I enjoy very simple cheese and meat sandwiches, so I don't have to worry too much about items that need to be kept cold at all times.

Sourdough baguette
Sliced meat

Choose your favorite combination of meat and cheese, pack with a fresh baguette and a knife. Slice your bread and make yourself a tasty sandwich for your picnic lunch.

Graham Cracker and Frosting Sandwiches
Finish off your delicious picnic meal with a sweet treat. Sometimes the simplest desert can be the best, and for a picnic, simple is generally the best to pack into your basket. One of my favorite sweet treats is graham cracker and chocolate frosting sandwiches. All you need is a box of graham crackers and some frosting. You can use purchased frosting or you can make it yourself at home and bring it with you.

For the frosting, you will need:
1/3-cup butter, softened
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 cups powdered sugar
11/2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp milk

Allow the chocolate to cool after melting. Combine the butter and chocolate and mix thoroughly, then mix in the sugar. Add the vanilla and milk to the butter and chocolate.  Beat until the frosting is smooth.

Pack a container of frosting with a spreading knife. To prepare a sandwich break a graham cracker in half, spread some frosting on one half and place the other half of the cracker on top. Squish together and enjoy!