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Apr 21, 2009 07:14 AM

Picnic food suggestions


I'm hosting a picnic for friends this weekend, and would love suggestions for food. The picnic is a good distance from my house, so the items need to be things I can pack easily and transport without worrying about everything falling apart. Fun salads, sandwiches, other ideas all appreciated!

Thanks for your help!

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  1. You can make your own submarine/grinder sandwiches with Chow-style ingredients. If you weight the sandwich, you can easily call it "Cuban-style" to make it more exotic. Here are some suggestions -

    Breads - French bread, ciabatta bread, sourdough, whole grain, something artisanal with some texture and flavor
    Meats - any kind of salami (Italian, Hungarian, Spanish, kosher, genoa, soprassatta, etc), rare roast beef, turkey (smoked or regular), ham (lots of choices here), bologna
    Cheeses - choose something better than domestic American or Swiss, how about Gouda (plain or smoked), Brie, Jarlsberg, Provolone, blue cheese (Maytag, Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Danish blue)
    Toppings - the usual lettuce, tomato, red onion but also include a few specialty items like roasted marinated red peppers, carmelized onions, marinated artichoke hearts, chopped olives salad,
    Sauces - there is always the usual mustard & mayo (no ketchup please!), but you can customize these by including things like horseradish, black pepper, chives, basil, or other herbs. You can use honey mustard, whole grain, or Dijon.

    You can pair the sandwich with a variety of salads, customize a potato, cole slaw, macaroni, pasta or other kind of salad with unusual ingredients. Hope the weather is cooperative!

    1. For a picnic, my preference is to bring a few hunks of good cheese, some olives, roasted peppers, a couple of loaves of fresh bread and a bottle of wine. Add other antipasti type stuff depending on whats available or you want to make (eg. cold roasted veggies in olive oil, dried sausages, etc.) It's simple and is one of the greatest lunches ever plus no "mayo worries"

      1. a fun idea might be an "avocado bar". just bring avocados, half and pit them once guests arrive, score the avocado flesh, then have stuffings/toppings in containers. plus, no plates needed - just eat out of the avocado shell!

        actually, i'm going to a picnic this weekend (weather permitting) and need to make a birthday cheesecake. for ease, i'm planning on making mini-cheesecakes in cupcake liners. i might also bring some freshly popped popcorn (bday boy loves popcorn).

        have fun!

        3 Replies
        1. re: lschow

          ooh, the avocado bar souds fun! I love avocado! What would you do for stuffings/ toppings?


          1. re: danielle

            mmm i love avocado, too! i would just eat them straight up... haha but some ideas are:

            -crabmeat or shirmp salad (thinking along the lines of sushi flavor pairings)
            -corn/black bean salad/relish
            -sauteed/grilled onions, mushrooms
            -tomato, blue/goat cheese, bacon

            ooh, or maybe a sweet/dessert version with something like condensed milk and fruit??

          2. re: lschow

            I had leftover marscapone cheese the other night and a request for cheesecake...I substituted the marscapone for equal amounts of cream cheese and made it in several small containers (without crust). Dressed the end product with different fresh berries and flavoured, sweetened sour cream.

            They turned out extremely well and this would work well in paper cups as the end product was strudy enough to eat "in the hand'.

          3. Baked beans
            fried chicken
            broccoli slaw
            dinner rolls w/honey butter
            honeydew melon slices and red grapes

            lemonade and iced tea

            1. I love a dilled vinaigrette potato salad. Not need to worry about mayo, cold or room temp.

              I love grilled chicken thin sliced. I love to make my onion and mushroom sauteed again, room temp and put together right there are even prepared ahead on ciabatta, no soggy sandwiches. I also make this in a large round loaf opened up and drizzled some extra vinaigrette and just sliced. Easy fun, pretty layered with tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and spinach.

              I also like tortilla wraps. I make 2 or 3 salads all together and then they can just wrap them selves.

              Grilled pecan chicken fingers for kids.

              I like to serve papaya hollowed out and stuff with fresh fruit. wrap in foil and they stay chilled. Keep a little container of honey yogurt on the side cold and serve with the fruit with is a great simple dish.

              Stuffed artichokes with crab salad (ok, got to be kept cold) I had to throw one in there, they pack well.

              I love a platter a cheese and crackers and spreads, just to nibble with grapes or my fruit salad.

              A veggie ragu is great on toasted chibatta with some fresh cheese thick and rich. Make ahead.

              A coucous salad or barley salad is great with fresh herbs, lemon and some roasted veggies.

              Stay away from mayo, use vinaigrettes, stay away from anything that has to be kept too cold. Cool is ok, a few sauces on the side or ok but no big main dishes.

              I make a steak sandwich, easy with skirt steak thin sliced and put in a container, then made the bread, with a dijon spread, fresh tomato and onion and roasted veggies, then wrapped. Got to the picnic and added the steak a little dressing and put together and sliced. Presto. 1 minute and no clean up. Paper plates (nice ones).

              I do a lot of beach picnics catered.

              Cajun shrimp is also good with a nice spicy shrimp rice on the side, travels well. Lettuce wrape with a spicy cajun shrimp also are good and easy and travel well

              4 Replies
              1. re: kchurchill5

                What on earth is "cajun shrimp'? That's about as specific as Asian chicken.

                1. re: Hungry Celeste

                  Basically just steamed or boiled shrimp in a cajun seasoning. Sorry They can be chilled or close to room temp and travel way, a bit of spice, peel and eat but are excellent.

                  I love to serve it with a spicy rice on the side, the rice lightly cools the shrimp with fresh scallions, lime juice cucumber, onion, tomatoes, some roasted green peppers, some green chilies and cilantro.

                2. re: kchurchill5

                  The rice will spoil much much faster than mayo in the sun. It has so much bacteria, before and after cooking, that time in the danger zone can cause illness. I'd rather eat egg salad than a room temp rice salad.

                  1. re: alwayscooking

                    As you alluded to, mayo is safe, doesn't cause food poisoning. It's the foods that mayo is mixed with that can cause food poisoning. You can google this and find so many legitimate medical sources that will tell you this. Enjoy your mayo; just watch what you put it in or on.