I’m feeling a little nostalgic, mamas, because my oldest turns ten today. I’ve officially been a mom for 10 years. Whoa. So I feel like turning off the screens and having some good old-fashioned face time with the kids. And what better (and easier) way to celebrate than by putting together a great picnic menu and taking my family to the park for dinner, since it also happens to be International Picnic Day. How fun is that?
I’ve scanned my cookbooks and Pinterest boards to find my favorite recipes to prep ahead of time and eat outside on a blanket in the shade. Now, if I could just order up a nice 72-degree evening with a slight breeze, I’ll be perfectly content.
Preparing a picnic dinner doesn’t have to mean everybody eats PB&J. Baguette sandwiches are easy to fix ahead of time and stash in your picnic basket. Actually, they taste even better as all those yummy flavors have some time to sit together.
My favorite sandwich is the Rare Roast Beef Baguette at Gourmet Traveller. If you feel like the tomato and currant chutney is a little too heavy for summer—or not so easy to find—equal parts pesto and mayo make a tasty spread, too. Or, for a lighter bite, try the Turkey and Roquefort Baguettes from Thirsty for Tea (top). You might keep the lettuce in a ziplock bag in the cooler until it’s time to eat though, because there’s nothing like that fresh, cold crunch.
A cold side salad is so refreshing when you’re eating outside, just don’t forget to pack your picnic utensils when you go. This Asian Ginger Slaw with Peanuts at Once Upon a Chef is one of the few dishes I make that my entire family eats. It has a lot of ingredients and takes about 15-20 minutes to prep, but it makes a whole lot of food and keeps well for leftovers. Make it today for your picnic, then keep some to have with the burgers you grill up this weekend.
For a much simpler salad that’s still packed with flavor, try this Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad at Savory Sweet Life. It’s just the right size for eating with your fingers. You know, picnic rules…
If you want an entirely hand-held menu so you don’t have to pack utensils at all, make these easy but delicious Plum and Lime Custard Hand-Pies that our editor Stacie cooked up at One Hungry Mama. You can use homemade pie dough or go for store-bought if that’s easier. Either way, fresh plums are so delicious this time of year, and it’s not your typical pie filling, which makes it a nice change. Then again, if you just have to have cherry pie, go ahead and substitute that (or whatever fruit you’re craving). You’re the boss.
Down south, it’s not a picnic without some sweet tea. This recipe for easy Lemon Iced Sweet Tea at The Kitchen Alchemist nails it on the head. You can also add some orange juice, pineapple juice, lemonade, or even a dash of ginger ale to make it fruit tea. One sip, and you’ll be hooked.If you’re trying to cut back on sugar — because, hand pies — fruit-infused water gives you flavor and keeps you hydrated without all the calories. Define water bottles have a built in strainer that makes it easy to add fruit to your water when on-the-go or in the park.