How To Plan A Perfect Picnic is not as complicated as you might think.
Summer is here, and we all look to be outside as much as possible. Having a picnic is a fun activity.
From a romantic one to a small family gathering, spending some time outside before the weather changes is good for all of us.
I, personally, love summer and like to go out in nature as often as possible to enjoy the sun. I also love eating outside. Outdoors eating requires a little bit of planning, and you can make it super easy or super elaborated based on your taste, occasion, or mood.
What are the basic things you need for a successful picnic?
- Picnic basket- There are many picnic baskets to choose from, based on your needs, number of people, or how fancy you want to be.
- Picnic blanket- a wool one is better because it keeps you warm, especially in the evening when it could be a little bit chilly.
- Cooler- for your drinks.
- Plates, glasses, napkins, and cutlery that can be reusable or disposable(if you have a small group, for example, use reusable ones, if you have a big group, use disposable)
- Bottle opener(for wine and beer)
- Jackets and blankets in case you get chilly
- Food and your favorite drinks
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What kind of food is suitable for a picnic:
You will need to think about foods that everyone is OK eating cold or at room temperature. The possibilities are endless, from appetizers like cheese and salami to desserts that don't need to be served warm.
This could be anything, from a delicious crusty baguette ( toasted and brushed with olive oil for a simple do-it-yourself crostini spread) or artisanal bread to pita chips, tortillas, and anything in between. Slices of bread, pita, or tortilla make a suitable vessel for dips or salads.
Cold cuts and cheese on a wooden board:
These are usually my favorite because I don't need to cook or prepare anything.
What kind of items to place on a wooden board:
You could place on a wooden board anything your heart desires. I can slice some good salami and cheese, throw a few olives, cornichons, fruit jams, nuts, or dried fruit in the mixture, and I am good to go.
Here is an example. There are all kinds of pickles, salami, nuts, pita bread, and a few types of cheese (get good quality cheese, like Feta, Jarlsberg, Cheddar, Manchego, Gouda, Brie, etc.)
Credit photo: Jessica To'oto'o
Here is another example of a different spread. This one has apples, bread, salami, cheese, jam, and citrus fruit.
Credit photo: Jessica To'oto'o
Finally, this one is slightly different, especially if you have a picnic in the garden, on the porch, or in the backyard.
The idea is the same, some vegetable slices, like tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, peppers, strawberries, cheese, olives, salami, ham, bread and butter, and some guacamole.
What other foods to bring to a picnic?
I have a fantastic recipe for cheese straws that are amazing and super easy to make. Perfect to munch on with a glass of wine or beer.
Quiche or a vegetable frittata:
Easy to serve and perfect cold. Here you have some ideas: Best quiche recipes (You can also go for mini quiche -this is a vegetarian recipe, as it is easier to handle and doesn't require cutlery)
I love those because they are super portable and delicious and can be served either warm or cold.
Vegetable patties- like these Zucchini patties that are delicious to munch on, you can make an excellent sandwich with some good bread and slices of tomatoes. Yum!
Spreads are good as you can place a container in the center of the picnic table and everybody can enjoy them. I like this Grilled eggplant spread that can be made only with eggplants or this version with roasted peppers.
Salads and salsas:
In general, I am not a fan of picnic food with mayo in them. It is hot, the food sits too much in the sun, and it spoils super fast. Mayo is one of these items that don't do well in the heat, so I prefer salads that are easy to make and stay fresh for longer without any heavy condiments.
I love this Authentic Mexican Pico de Gallo with Tuna.
In Mexico City, this dish is served with saltine crackers as an appetizer.
Another salad that I love in the summer is Tomato, Cucumber, and Pepper Salad, which can be served with any meat, cheese, or itself. Dip some crusty bread in the juices from the tomatoes and get happy. Or make this Cucumber Salad and let it marinate for 30 minutes before serving it. It is delicious!
If you are looking for more sturdy salads, try these:
Easy Chopped Chickpea Salad with Feta and Mint- this salad travels well and
Classic Pineapple Chicken Salad
Mexican Pinto Bean Salad with Jalapeno pepper
Romanian Oriental Potato Salad
Spanish potato salad (Ensaladilla Rusa)
Meat or main dish:
I have a few favorite recipes for this part of the picnic meal. Chicken Tenders, or Chicken Schnitzels, as I like to call them, are number one on my list.
These chicken tenders made from scratch are easy to make and perfect to put in a sandwich or eat with a tomato salad. This is by far my favorite way to eat in the summer. Everyone in the family likes them, from kids to elders.
Here are more ideas for meat options:
Fried chicken- Grandma style- this is an easy fried chicken that is not breaded. Pack it in a container and keep it cold in the cooler until you serve it—perfect next to an excellent salad.
Romanian Meatballs or Meat Patties- this is a recipe that, again, I grew up with. If we took a road trip, chicken tenders and meat patties were placed between two slices of bread with some mustard and eaten by the side of the road while taking a break.
If we went to the beach, picnics, or up in the mountains, this is what my mom packed for the entire family. Nutritious and economical, if you ask me.
Mexican chicken tinga- this is a recipe to serve on corn tortillas or with tortilla chips. Pack some lime wedges and some shredded cheese, and enjoy it.
There is no real picnic without dessert. The possibilities are endless, from ice cream bars and popsicles to cookies, brownies, and bars.
Again, I prefer desserts with ingredients that do not spoil in the sun or melt. I avoid heavy cream, dairy, buttercreams, and other heavy stuff and stick with either fresh fruit or bars and cookies that are safe to eat at any temperature.
Here are some of my preferences when it comes to an excellent dessert for outdoor activities:
Brownies- One of my favorites is this recipe for Triple Chocolate Stout Brownies- It is an adult brownie that is delicious and easy to make. Another option would be this Coffee and Cinnamon Brownie recipe.
Bars- Czech Bars with jam is a fabulous recipe that travels really well. Another option would be an Apple Pie Bar. This is a Romanian recipe where the apples are cooked down before being baked with the crust. This makes the bars more sturdy and perfect for an outdoor event.
Other more awesome recipes for bars that are perfect for picnics:
German Plum Kuchen- Pflaumenkuchen
Walnut cake with egg yolk glaze
Coffee Bread: This is another category of dessert that travels well and is perfect for picnics, outdoor parties, and gatherings. This is by far one of my favorite recipes for the summer, as you can replace the berries with peaches, plums, or other seasonal fruits.
Besides this awesome recipe, some other favorite recipes come from my childhood, when a good slice of coffee cake was welcomed among all family members.
Low Sugar Bread With Dried Fruit And Nuts
Old Fashioned Lemon Bread With Lemon Syrup
Pound Cake with Fruits and Almond Flakes
Cookies- Cookies are by far the easiest option for dessert in the summer. They travel well, don't get spoiled, and are very portable with no need for cutlery and plates.
There are many options out there, and as much as I agree with you that a stash of cookies from the grocery store would solve the dessert part, there is nothing better than homemade cookies, which brings me to this list of all the cookies I have on the blog so that you can choose from, based on your needs:
Cookies- A collection of recipes from The Bossy Kitchen
Here you have some of my favorite recipes for cookies you can find on the blog.
Today I will share with you this easy dark chocolate walnut cookies recipe. This recipe is a decadent, delicious, and suitable way to satisfy any chocolate cravings and perfect for any chocolate lover.
There is dark chocolate, but there are also walnuts and chocolate chips, and everything together makes a divine cookie that will make you fall in love with.
Rose Petals Butter Cookies are the perfect way to add a little elegance to your holiday cookie platter or any event in your life when cookies are required. It is a recipe that will bring joy to the ones who will try it. Easy to make, these cookies have hints of rose petals, rose water, and butter.
These Lemon Lavender Butter Cookies could make a great gift for family and friends! Bake them in the winter, and they will bring summer closer to you.
Olive Oil Lemon Cookies With Herbs– a wonderful recipe to make when you have a sweet tooth. An easy recipe that is made with olive oil and rosemary, thyme, or basil, which go really well with lemon.
This Rum Raisins Cookies Recipe comes from Romania. The cookies are flavored with rum, are very easy to make, and taste delicious. Serve them next to a cup of your favorite tea or coffee and enjoy an old recipe that is very traditional in Romania.
Chocolate Cookies with Earl Grey Ganache are delicate cookies perfect for holidays. The bergamot from Earl Grey brings elegance to the scene.
Beautiful Linseed Cinnamon Cookies– the linseeds(or the flaxseeds) give these soft cookies a nice texture, while the cinnamon brings a subtle flavor.
The Best Chocolate Chip And Walnuts Cookies recipe out there! This might be a keeper for some of you if you like soft cookies inside and crunchy outside.
Polvorones are traditional Spanish crumbly cookies made around Christmas time. The cookies can be flavored with cocoa, lemon, cinnamon, etc. This is the recipe for polvorones with lemon or Polvorones con limon- the Spanish name. Make a great gift for your family and friends!
Jam Crescent Pastries(Cornulete cu gem)– is an old Eastern European popular recipe for crescent cookies filled with jam, walnuts, or Turkish delight.
Banana Walnuts Chocolate Chips Soft Cookies– delicious banana cookies that are soft and chewy. Perfect to snack on or for the lunch box.
Trail Mix Cookies- Vegetarian, Gluten-Free Recipe– Cookies made with organic ingredients where the main ingredient is sunflower seed butter. Very easy to make, and they do not take more than 30 minutes from start to finish.
Coffee Flavored Sugar Cookies are a recipe that is simple enough to be made any day, but the flavors are elegant, subtle, and delicious.
These almond-cranberry shortbread cookies remind us of the holidays—the perfect recipe for potlucks, cookie swap parties, and any holiday event.
Jam and walnuts rugelach (cornulete cu gem) are perfect cookies all year round for holidays or potlucks. Easy to make, easy to serve, and delicious.
Kossuth Kifli or Half Moon Cookies are delicious cookies from the old days. Very popular in Hungary and Romania and other Eastern European countries, these cookies have a “cake” texture, delicate and delicious, and good to make on a Sunday afternoon.
These Pie Crust Mini Turnover Cookies with jam are an easy way to make dessert when you have a sweet tooth. The recipe comes from Transylvania. The pie crust dough is rolled out, cut into small round shapes, and filled with your favorite jam. Delicious and easy to make!
Christmas Cookies & Bars From Around The World- America is baking cookies for the holidays. To honor the tradition, I decided to put together a collection of cookie recipes from all over the world.
This is a classic oatmeal raisin cookies recipe for you to enjoy. It is a humble, delicious recipe that doesn’t pretend to be any different from other oatmeal raisin cookies out there, except that it is mine, and I love it.
And finally DRINKS!
What drinks are suitable for a picnic? Anything you like: lemonade, iced tea, light beers, light wine, mineral water, coffee, or hot cocoa in a thermos if it gets chilly.
Are you still here? If you are, I applaud you, as this one was a long post, but hopefully informative and helpful to guide you through putting together a great picnic that everyone will love! Happy end of summer, everyone!
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