Memorial Day is right around the corner, and I’m looking forward to spending the unofficial first weekend of summer with my family. To celebrate, I’m thinking a picnic is in order!
As a kid, my grandparents used to pack a picnic lunch and spend the day decorating the graves of fallen soldiers at their local cemetery. Why? Well, Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day back during the American Civil War when people would place flowers on the graves of those who had been killed in battle.
So whether or not you have a personal connection to the holiday, I love the idea of spending the day together remembering those who gave everything in service to our country. Here, my simple Memorial Day picnic menu that I’m planning for my family’s celebration.
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Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018) from Once Upon a Chef
Cold fried chicken is a picnic food favorite, but I personally hate picking around chicken bones and skin, so I’m adapting the traditional main by cooking up these Buttermilk Fried Chicken Tenders from Once Upon A Chef. It’s a perfect finger food that everyone loves no matter if they eat them plain, dip them in ketchup, or pop them in the middle of a biscuit with dill pickles.
Related: The perfect picnic sandwich
If you are on team chicken fingers in a biscuit, this recipe for Easy Homemade Biscuits from Sugar Spun Run is super simple and the biscuits turn out pretty perfect every time. If you prefer to eat the biscuit sans chicken, a little bit of honey or jam goes pairs perfectly with these.
Potato salad is a picnic staple, but if you are going to be unable to keep it cool for a few hours, you’ll want to give this Herbed Potato Salad from Cookie + Kate a try. This recipe does not use any mayo, or any other ingredients that may spoil if not refrigerated, and best of all, it comes together really quickly. I like to pack this potato salad into small jelly jars so that everyone has their own individual serving and it’s easier to transport. Bonus: Use up fresh herbs from your garden!
For dessert, these Apple Hand Pies from Sally’s Baking Addiction are a must. These cute little pies do not require any utensils, and taste amazing whether they are cold or room temperature. You can actually make these ahead of time and keep them in the fridge for 5 days.
Homemade lemonade is so simple to make, and can be a lot more healthy than the store-bought stuff. This fresh lemonade recipe from A Couple Cooks only requires three ingredients, and you can pour it into individual mason jar mugs for easy transport.
Related: Pimm’s Cup: The Taste of Summer
If you do not already own a picnic basket, I just have to share my very favorite picnic basket: this HIEEY picnic basket. It is so brilliant because it folds flat when empty. It has an insulated cooler bag and can hold up to 30 pounds. And when you are not using it for picnics, it also doubles as a really great grocery bag for cold and frozen goods.