Family activities: Spice up this summer’s picnic menu with these great food ideas
Great picnic food ideas
Picnics are a long-standing summer tradition for a lot of families. Some keep it simple, and others incorporate the various branches of the family to make it a full-blown reunion. Everyone brings their favorite dish to create a smorgasbord of tantalizing taste sensations. Recipes abound, so that even if more than one person brings potato salad, they’re never the same. Let’s have a look at some interesting summer fare that would help to spruce up your next picnic.
Instead of the usual pitcher of lemonade, try adding something a bit different to the picnic table this year. For a tasty alternative that’s also pleasing to the eye, try a recipe that includes strawberries, crushed violets (or lavender) and dried hibiscus flowers in the mix. Rather than being used as a simple garnish, the blossoms are mixed in, to become part of the ingredients of the beverage. Recipes for this unique lemonade variation can be found on the internet under the moniker of “Pink Lavender Lemonade” or “Pretty Lemonade”.
It wouldn’t be a picnic without chicken! This season, bring along some poultry with a bit of a twist to it: Peach and Ginger Glazed Chicken. There are some great online recipes that combine peach preserves, ginger – and some with English Breakfast Tea – along with other ingredients, to make this luscious summertime favorite.
Pickled Eggs and Beets are absolutely delicious and make a wonderful – and colorful – picnic side dish. If you like the combination of sweet and tangy flavors, make it a point to try this! Most cookbooks will carry one variation or other of this, and there are a number of them that are also available on the internet. Some of the recipes are for pickled eggs without the beets, but the beet juice really adds a lot to the flavor.
There’s more to a pie than just dessert! Ham and Cheese Pie is an ideal picnic item and is served at room temperature, so there’s no need to fret over keeping it hot. A delicious blend of ham, cheese and other luscious ingredients (some recipes use an Italian twist) combine to form this entrée that’s easy to transport and a delight to eat. There are a number of types of this popular pie – both in cookbooks and on the internet.
One of the standard picnic staples that can be prepared in a number of ways is our old standby: baked beans. A truly creative variation is Baked Beans with Gingersnaps. This unique recipe is a breath of fresh air for the picnic table, combining beans, gingersnap crumbs, molasses, onions and more. There are a number of listings for this recipe online, and you’ll be a hit at this summer’s get together if you’re in charge of bringing the beans!
For a new spin on potato salad, try adding walnuts, mint, artichokes or grapes to your usual recipe. If you’re feeling a bit more daring, include more than one of these add-ins and create your own potato salad tradition. Since there are numerous variations of this particular dish, thumbing through a cookbook or sitting down to a quick online search will yield an overwhelming amount of options. You can even choose potato salad with a bit of an ethnic flair, such as German, Italian, Russian, French, Greek – or even Amish. Whichever one you pick is sure to bring backyard smiles.
Filling hollowed out watermelons with fresh fruit is great for picnics, but if you’re looking for something more along the lines of a fruit salad, you’ll be delighted by Fruity Heaven. It combines 3 large cans of fruit cocktail, a medium sized bag of walnut halves and 2/3 of a bag of miniature marshmallows to create a taste that’s beyond description. By blending these few items together in a large bowl and refrigerating the mixture overnight, you’ll have created a fruit salad with a marshmallow-tinged juice. Just stir and serve after it’s removed from the fridge. This bowl will definitely be drained before the picnic comes to an end.
Another great fruit dessert idea is Fruit kabobs. They can either be served in a cooked or uncooked fashion. The idea behind this is to select three or four types of fresh fruit – such as pineapple, cherries, bananas and strawberries – and push them onto skewers in an alternating pattern. For the best results, steer clear of fruits that are high in water content, such as watermelon. If you choose to cook them, place them on the grill until the pieces are warm (don’t burn them!). These are great when served with ice cream, but can certainly hold their own without it!
These summer picnic dishes can all be served in the backyard or taken to the home of a family or friend, since they are all easy to transport in appropriate containers. For those dishes that need to be served hot, simply place them in thermal carriers to avoid the cooling down process in transit.