Picnic Ideas and Recipes (with videos)

Picnic Ideas and Recipes, is all about favorite foods in a basket and fun places to enjoy them!

Picnic Season Has So Many Options
Picnic Season Has So Many Options

Picnic Ideas

Having been a single mom of four, our favorite thing to do, was get away from life’s daily responsibilities, pack a picnic and find fun places to just be together.

Long ago, I created many of these recipes, and now I hope to inspire you with them too.

  • Salad in a Jar – layers of healthy options that can go where you go, give a shake, so the dressing on the bottom dresses all the ingredients, open and eat.
  • Homemade Crackers for a charcuterie platter that is easily arranged at home, wrapped and popped into the picnic basket.
  • Caprese on a Stick – easiest salad on a stick you will ever eat. Also accompanies the crackers or homemade bread beautifully.
  • Homemade bread for a simple sandwich, making it feel special.
  • Nut Butter and Jam – for the homemade bread or crackers. I had the opportunity to share a whimsical and fun story about these two homemade staples, on national television.
  • Chicken and Waffles – a must for a drive in the country, or a day out on the boat. Easily made at home, individually wrapped and a perfect meal at the picnic destination.
Chicken and Waffle Picnic Inside Of A Barn
Chicken and Waffle Picnic Inside Of A Barn

Long Winters Need Picnic Ideas To Look Forward To

PICNIC season is finally here!

Oh, how we embrace this time of year.

Whether a seaside blanket, a park bench, or a few chairs under a tree in your backyard or deck, it is an occasion to eat a simple meal outside with nature.

Don’t overthink it. Keep it simple.

It’s really all about the ambience already set for us by nature: birds chirping, water flowing, breezes rustling through the leaves, or even the innocent laughter of children playing.

So Many Picnic Ideas and Recipes
So Many Picnic Ideas and Recipes

Picnic Foods

When I pack a basket of goodies to dine outside, I may have planned ahead and taken a little special preparation to make a loaf of bread, or homemade crackers.

Often, though, it is a last-minute idea, and so I simply gather some of my favorite cheeses, fruits, or salad ingredients; items I can toss into mason jar to create something easily eaten right out of the jar.

Anything on a stick is an easy way to transport fruit, already cut cheeses with tomatoes, as you will find in my recipe for Caprese Bites, or leftovers from last night’s dinner!

A Fun Countryside Barn Picnic

What better picnic to pack when you’ve planned a drive in the country, find an old barn, toss a few bales of hay and pull out the best country meal I know.

City Girlfriends Take A Hike In The Country With A Great Picnic

There’s something about Chicken and Waffles that just feels right for a country picnic.

In fact, when I cooked on The Great American Recipe, Season 1 Episode 4 and we were asked to make ‘Food To Take To An Outdoor Event’, Chicken and Waffles is what I made!

My Chicken and Waffles To-Go - Now In The Great American Recipe Cookbook with PBS
My Chicken and Waffles To-Go – Now In The Great American Recipe Cookbook with PBS

Along with it, I put fruit on sticks, making it easy to transport, and Watermelon Cocktail or Mocktail, in a thermos!

Watermelon Cocktail/Mocktails Easily Transported In A Thermos
Watermelon Cocktail/Mocktails Easily Transported In A Thermos

Don’t Have Time To Shop For A Last Minute Picnic?

Didn’t have time to plan for this?

No worries, you’ve got this!

Grab a few Mason Jars with lids, drizzle a little salad dressing on the bottom, layer odds and ends in you fridge and you’ve got a healthy salad to-go!

Healthy Fun Easy Lunch In A Jar
Healthy Fun Easy Lunch In A Jar

Here’s How To Prepare A Salad In A Jar

First things first, you will want to choose the Mason jars that fit the size of the salad you want; large for grownups and probably small for kids.

I would suggest using 3-cup capacity for adults, so there is plenty room for the ingredients not to be smashed together. 

A pint jar for kids, and always the wide mouth jars, as they are easier for preparation, eating and washing. 

The tip to remember each time you pack these meals (just a stolen moment on a weekend), is simple:

Step 1 – The dressing always goes on the bottom of the jar first. 

 Step 2 – Next in is the grains and proteins chosen. If using hard boiled eggs, quarter a whole egg and slide them in. If using quail eggs, leave them whole. 

 Step 3 – Cheeses, nuts go in next. 

 Step 4 – Saving the more delicate ingredients, such as leafy greens, for the top. 

 Step 5 – Put the lids on, place them in the fridge and your busy days just got easier and healthier!

 Tip 1 – If transporting your healthy meal jars, an insulated pouch with a frozen gel pouch will keep these fresh until ready to eat. 

 Tip 2 – When the time of day arrives to enjoy your favorite salad, simply turn it upside down a few times (lid still on), allowing the salad dressing and veggie juices to run through the other ingredients, open the jars and your meal is ready to eat. 

Lunch In A Jar

Picnic Recipes For A Stick

When you’ve got kids, you create ways to feed them on the go, healthy and the least mess possible!

Having grown up with Mediterranean food in my home, the concept of the ‘kabob’ is the easiest way I know to hand someone a meal!

Sure, we can make a Meat Kabob on a stick, wrap it and take it on our picnic, when done, just throw the sticks away!

But there are other recipes that are also great on a stick, for instance:

  • Pizza Kabobs – these are so fun and easy to make. Simply mini meatballs, cherry tomatoes, mini cheese balls and mini pizza crust, the same size as the other ingredients.
  • Shrimp and Grits – which is actually small squares of corn polenta and spicy cooked shrimp.
  • Caprese Bites – everything you would put in a caprese salad, just on a stick, and definitely baby spinach instead of basil.
Great Picnic Recipes On A Stick
Great Picnic Recipes On A Stick
Caprese On A Stick
Caprese On A Stick

Lots Of Extras To Have On Hand For A Picnic

Many of the items to take on a picnic work well with some type of bread or crackers, so why not plan ahead and have homemade bread or crackers to go with easy accompaniments.

A definite for that Caprese on a stick, is a homemade loaf of olive bread, that way you don’t have to take the olives!

Olive Rosemary Bread
Olive Rosemary Bread

Looking to pack a simple selection of cheeses and cold meats?

Make them special with homemade crackers, tucked easily in a large Mason Jar with a lid.

They will stay fresh and not get crushed.

Homemade Crackers

How about some yummy options for dressings that are easily homemade, seasonal and some of them, very exotic.

  • Strawberry Dressing – a great way to kick off spring and a delicious dressing over a Strawberry and Spinach salad, which will easily fit into a Mason Jar.
  • Lemon Dressing – is my go-to dressing for many of my salads, but also delicious to brush across those meat kabobs when they are cooking.
  • Tahini Dressing – simply a spectacular exotic dressing to simply dip your crackers or bread into.
  • Pomegranate Dressing – a delicious surprise at the bottom of the salad jar with lots of dried fruits, nuts and green leaves tucked inside.
So Many Salad Dressings To Choose From
So Many Salad Dressings To Choose From

Every Picnic Needs COOKIES!

While there are so many desserts we love to make and eat, a picnic needs to have an easy transportable sweet treat.

I say ‘cookies’ are the best idea for every picnic!

If you have time to plan a showstopper cookie, and why not offer extra conversation over your cookie, I will tell you my two favorite showstopper cookies.

  • Button Cups – taken straight out of the whimsy of a Beatrix Potter inspiration. Wowed judges with them on a television cooking show. And… yep, remember the nut butter and jam I mentioned earlier? They both get tucked inside of these shortbread cookie tartlets with a button top!
Button Cups - As Prepared On The Great American Recipe with PBS
Button Cups – As Prepared On The Great American Recipe with PBS
  • Coffee Chocolate Artsy Cookies – two cookie doughs, made into a checker pattern and cut into square cookies, loaded with coffee and chocolate flavors.
Coffee Chocolate Artsy Cookies
Coffee Chocolate Artsy Cookies

Make it simple, memorable, and send me a Pic!!

A Picnic Basket Holds So Many Possibilities
A Picnic Basket Holds So Many Possibilities
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