The long-awaited season of alfresco dining has finally returned, and the last thing we want to see when we open our picnic baskets is a cracked pie or a leaky bowl of coleslaw. A sturdy carrier is our greatest ally when preparing for an outdoor feast, and luckily, there are plenty of dependable totes, bowls and baskets designed to get your precious cargo to the park in one piece. Here are a few trusted picnicking sidekicks that are worth investing in this summer.
What better way to savor the last days of sunshine than packing up a breakfast picnic? There are two ways to do it: Go old school with a blanket in the yard, or head to the patio. Either way, just pack a thermos of coffee, another full of milk (doing double duty as a beverage for the kids, plus creamer for the java), then bring your breakfast out on a tray — it’s easier to handle than a basket. Now take your pick: We’ve got muffins, eggs and more, each of them to go.
1. Baked Scrambled Eggs (pictured above): You don’t need a bug-shaped pan to pull this off, but it’s sure fun. Beaten eggs plus milk and the toppings of your choice (cheese, ham, tomatoes and more) go into the oven for a sturdy egg dish that’s just as good at room (or outdoor) temperature as it is hot.
With the unofficial start of summer just days away, it’s officially time to head outside and take advantage of warmer temperatures, and for many, that means moving the cooking and eating to the outdoors. On this morning’s brand-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts shared go-to tips for packing easy picnics, explaining that that these meals don’t have to be elaborate to be enjoyable. All it takes is a little planning and, of course, fuss-free foods to pull off a memorable celebration.
As you start planning your first outdoor meal of the season, FN Dish wants to know: What do you consider the one must-have plate at your picnic? Do you prefer simple finger foods like meat-and-cheese platters, just as the co-hosts do, or do you opt for heartier fare like juicy fried chicken? Is it all about the sides, like potato and pasta salads, or do you reach for the sweet treats alone? Cast your vote in the poll below, then read on to find some of Food Network’s favorite picnic essentials.
When the weather’s just right — not too hot, not too cold, not too buggy — there’s only one way to describe it: It’s picnic season. From kid-friendly fare to portable desserts and spicy dishes for all, these are our favorite dishes to bring to a blanket near you.
Warm Picnic Burritos: What travels better than tortillas rolled up around simple pulled pork with extra-zesty flavors? Put this recipe at the top of your list.
Cold Classic Potato Salad: Picnic purists, this one is for you. Alton Brown’s masterpiece is destined to become a family favorite for you too.
Sandwiches on a Stick: Just say “no” to messy mayo. Instead, spear the kids’ favorite sandwich foods onto a skewer and snip in half if it can’t fit in your container.
Layered Picnic in a Jar (pictured above): Who said picnics had to be so much fuss? For a simple meal on the go, try Melissa d’Arabian’s brilliant idea for layering rotisserie chicken, green olives and more — all in individual servings ready the moment you twist off the lid.
It’s summertime and we are blessed with days filled with trips to the beach or museums to meet up with friends, and we’re usually grabbing something to-go on our way to the destination. Every Sunday evening, everyone in our community in Coronado, Calif., loads their kids and a picnic into their red Radio Flyer wagon and heads to Concert in the Park. So when many of you lamented the challenges of packing a summer picnic, I heard you. The ant’s time as the biggest picnic woe is long gone — now we worry about packing healthy, delicious food that our kids will actually eat, while keeping the food in a temperature-safe zone, without spending too much time. Is that too much to ask? No. So here are four tips to help get you there:
1. Start with the protein
The protein is the trickiest part of the meal because it often involves meat, which can be a challenge to keep in a safe temperature zone. My secret picnic weapon: non-meat protein. And by this, 99 percent of the time, I mean quinoa. Make a quinoa salad, subbing quinoa for rice, pasta or other grains. It is full of protein, fiber and complex carbs, and it will probably work in your favorite recipe (for inspiration, try my Quinoa Tabouli). Quinoa can be served chilled or at room temperature, making it my perfect picnic protein. My second non-meat protein insider secret: Use white beans and whole-grain pasta to make any pasta salad you like. Try a salad made with roasted veggies, feta and vinaigrette.