You only need a few things to make a picnic memorable: sunshine, good company, and a cooler full of your favorite foods.
Planning the Menu in Four Easy Steps
1. Keep things simple by limiting beverages to one or two choices (iced tea, lemonade.) Bring along vodka or a mixer for adults to add to beverages.
2. Make up one or two side salads. Go with old favorites or try salads that add a few fun flavor twists to the traditional recipe.
3. Include at least one main dish salad with meat or fish. Or offer a meat dish (cold fried chicken, luncheon meats) on the side instead.
- Amy’s Barbecue Chicken Salad
- Southern Fried Chicken
- Shrimp Couscous Salad
- Cold Tuna Macaroni Salad
- More Fried Chicken Recipes
4. Make low-fuss one-dish desserts. Even when they call themselves salads, these offerings can satisfy any sweet tooth.
- Judy’s Strawberry Pretzel Salad
- Blueberry Congealed Salad
- Watergate Salad
- More Summer Dessert Recipes
The Last-Minute Picnic
Stash a basket or backpack filled with the basics in a hall closet or car trunk, and keep reusable gel packs in the freezer. That way you’ll be ready to picnic at a moment’s notice.
If you’re short on time, whip up one homemade recipe and fill in the gaps with prepared foods. Make a homemade bread to knock guests’ socks off, and offer assorted ingredients so picnickers can assemble their own sandwiches.
Buy specialty cheeses, a few baguettes, and fresh fruit (grapes, pears, apples) and let guests sip wine and savor a French-style picnic. For dessert, try something chocolate.
Picnic Basket Checklist
- Blanket, ground cloth, or tablecloth
- Serving utensils, bottle opener/corkscrew
- Moist towelettes or hand sanitizer
- Forks, spoons, knives, cups, plates, napkins
- Paper towels and trash bags for clean-up
- First aid kit: include bug spray, sunscreen, bandages