Did you know that August is National Picnic Month here? And with good reason! What better month to enjoy a picnic than the lazy, hazy days of August? I can’t think of one, so I have put together a great portable picnic menu for you along with some tips to make your next picnic your best ever.
A soup to get things started.
Cold Cucumber Buttermilk Soup is great picnic soup. It just takes a minute or two in the blender to make, tastes even better when it’s made ahead, and is served chilled. All you need to do is fill up your thermos with soup and you’re good to go! Skip the toppings entirely if you want a sippable soup or pack some spoons and a couple of small baggies for the toppings. (I love this super big 40-oz thermos. It is plenty large enough to hold soup for 4.)
Picnic Tip #1: Plan your packing. To make it easy to set up and start your picnic when you arrive at the site, make sure you pack the basket in reverse order. The last things you need go in the basket first, and the first things go in last.
Something cool to drink.
I think that Watermelon Mint Lemonade is the perfect drink for a picnic! Watermelon and lemonade have long been standards for al fresco dining and putting them together makes it even better. Add some beer or a bottle of wine to the basket and you’ll have a little something for everyone. (As with the soup, a large thermos is a great way to transport the lemonade or is great for holding ice if you want to add ice to your drinks. Also paper straws are a fun touch, and biodegradable too!)
Picnic Tip #2: Keep ice cubes in a thermos. This will keep the ice cold for cooling drinks whenever you want.
A bite-sized nosh.
Finger foods are great at picnics! And these Three Cheese Broccoli Bites are one of my favorites. The broccoli combined with the sausage and the ricotta makes for a satisfying nibble which you can eat on the go. However, they do need to stay chilled, so plan on using a cool chest of some sort. (If you are totally into picnicking, you might want go for a picnic kit, like this wheelable insulated pack for 4, which will have space for your food and all the fancy silverware and table linens you could want. We have a smaller backpack version, but I was eying the larger ones just recently. Another great choice is sturdy LL Bean bag with a shoulder strap.)
Picnic Tip #3: To simplify packing, separate everything into two containers – a insulated container for your cold items and a pack for your room temperature items.
The main event.
Cold chicken is great at picnics! It’s always been a favorite of mine. 🙂 These Herb Marinated Grilled Chicken Wings are great cold and can be eaten with your hands, which makes them perfect picnic food. Make them the day ahead and just pack them up when you’re ready to go.
Picnic Tip #4: To make cleanup of sticky hands a breeze and keep the outdoors looking as lovely as you arrived, pack wet wipes and trash bags into your kit.
A great salad to round out the meal.
This Mango, Cucumber, and Brown Rice Salad is a great and refreshing make-ahead dish. Whole grains, crunchy cucumbers, and sweet mango combine to make a salad which will get you out of the potato salad rut. (Mason jars make great containers for dressings. Just shake and serve. Or you can use them to portion out the salad before you leave and then each person can have their own container.)
Picnic Tip #5: Use a sealable jar to neatly hold the dressing and let you shake it up before dressing the salad.
And a sweet ending.
As with some of my other choices, I went with finger food for dessert. Cookie are great picnic food since they are fine at room temperature and don’t need any utensils or plates to enjoy. And these Chocolate Chip Cherry Oatmeal Cookies are especially good since they are such an easy one bowl recipe. Have the kids make them while you’re dealing with the rest of the meal.
Picnic Tip #6: Single serving treats are easy to pick up and enjoy.