Whether you are thinking of throwing a family picnic, packing an impromptu luncheon outdoors, or wowing your significant other with a cozy, romantic picnic, remember it is supposed to be fun, easy and stress free. Here are a few things to consider beforehand:
1) Plan the day for your event and decide on a location.
2) Choose an appropriate cuisine or theme by considering who will be attending and the types of food you know they enjoy.
Some popular ideas for your basket are: sandwiches and wraps, kebobs, salads (pasta, bean, potato, garden, and fruits salads), roasted meats and poultry, grilled or fried chicken, any kind of quiche or veggie pie – or if you intend to grill where you picnic bring marinated chicken and spice rubbed meats ready to throw on the grill to serve along side those salad.
Don’t forget dessert – bring anything from fresh fruit to pies, brownies, cookies, cake, or a wonderful cheese selection complete with grapes, pears, or figs to compliment it.
3). Bring along an ice chest filled with ice and a collection of bottled water, sweetened tea or fruit juices. If bringing raw meats, items with mayonnaise or eggs in them consider bringing a separate ice chest for those items to avoid food contamination, and be sure to find a shady spot to store it. If you are having wine remember to bring a corkscrew. Open the bottle thirty minutes before serving, allowing the wine to breathe.
5) Don’t forget to pack the following:
- Salt and pepper and any other condiments you desire.
- Serving and eating utensils, paper plates, drinking vessels, napkins and paper towels, three trash bags (recycling, trash and items to be washed).
- Baby wipes, plus a gallon of water for cleaning hands, is helpful, too.
- Blankets, towels, tablecloth, sunscreen, insect repellent just in case and antibacterial ointment, in the event someone gets bitten or stung.
Once you have your checklist written down, the next step is to coordinate when you need to begin preparing dishes. Separate anything that might make your sandwiches soggy – you can add these ingredients when you are ready to serve. When bringing already cooked hot items (like fried chicken) allow it to cook to room temperature, then wrap, and keep out of direct sunlight at room temperature. Be sure to eat these items within two hours. Lastly, if you are using anything with mayonnaise or eggs, keep these items chilled in the cooler. Food safety is a must.
If you think you’d like to be a serious picnicker, here is a fun link for some more affordable picnic ware. You’ll see a good number of them have special places to hold glasses, stainless utensils and real dishes. There is something for every one, and for every event. Be safe and relax … because life sometimes really is a picnic!
Lemon Artichoke Pesto Chicken & Barley Salad
None of us want to be slaves to hot kitchens in the summertime, so here is an easy make-ahead meal to have on the ready for when the temperature spikes. It tastes like summer with each flavorful burst and I love the contrasting textures. Decadent, yet healthy all the way, so indulge!
Tell me your picnic food favorites below? Click here for more about how to eat healthier, easier, and economically with the Personal Chef Approach™!