Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The joy of Summer Picnics

Every summer I look forward to the free concerts our local parks offer. It’s a wonderful gift from our local cities. They are a great way to get outside in the fresh air after a day of working, hang out with friends, listen to good music and have a picnic! Nothing says summer better.

Picnics are fun, especially when everyone brings something to share. Since it’s difficult to make and bring everything on a “school night", supplement your homemade dishes with some things that you can buy.

While you could certainly go out and buy everything, and many people will just grab a pizza or some fast food to eat at the park, I think making a few homemade items to bring along makes it more special and certainly healthier and more delicious.

Make your stuff a night or 2 before your concert picnic. Then, that evening, pack everything that needs to stay cool into your cooler with plenty of ice packs. Put your unopened jars and things that don’t require refrigeration into your picnic basket. Grab your plastic plates, utensils, cups and paper napkins, some bottles of water, sodas or ice teas, (your alcoholic beverages hidden from view somehow) and head out early to get a good spot on the lawn! Enjoy your dinner and catch up with friends and family while you wait for the music to begin.

What to bring? Below is a list of some ideas to get you started. Many of them contain links back to their original posts on this site. I realize I have a little bit of a Mediterranean thing going on with my food choices. It just fits with summer, I guess.

So let’s start with some munchies:
Baby carrots and/or other raw veggies with garlicky red lentil dip

For the main event:
Roasted or baked chicken wrapped in foil (if you had time to cook it before you head out), otherwise, you can turn it into a traditional chicken salad with mayo, or a super fantabulous curried chicken salad
Sweet potato salad or Italian potato salad with lemon and thyme or Green bean and potato medley
Grilled vegetable salad with a balsamic dressing, and/or items from the olive bar of your supermarket

Drinks and misc:
Sangria (in incognito containers, so as not to draw attention!)

Cookies for dessert, maybe the thumbprint variety filled with raspberry jam

One important thing to remember is to keep your food safe. You don’t want anything sitting out at room temperature for too long or bacteria will form and someone (or all of you) might get sick. So read up about food safety here:

Food Safety at Picnics
Food and Drug Administration

So, go online and search for a local free summer concert to enjoy and get out there!


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