View Full Version : Ideas for a picnic menu
04-29-2002, 02:13 PM
The wind ensemble I play in traditionally plays a concert in the park during the evening on mother's day. This year it falls on my daughter's first birthday, as well. I was thinking of merging the two events and inviting family members to a birthday picnic/concert. Now I just have to decide what to serve. I will be on stage, so I need some ideas for things that can be made ahead of time and require no last-minute preparations. Also, our guests will include children ages 1-10. There will be about 25 people in all. I could easily have my husband pick up a couple of buckets of chicken and some sides, but I thought you guys might have some better ideas. . .
So, what are your best picnic-for-a-crowd ideas?
04-29-2002, 07:14 PM
For the adults, how about some cooked tortellini that you have thrown pesto sauce on? They're as tasty cold as they are hot, and with some good bread and wine.....ahhhh! Although my 7 year old likes pesto, I don't think most kids do, so I might suggest something as kid pleasing as pb&j sandwiches or some deli meat sandwiches, cut in little triangles. Maybe someone else has some more creative ideas for the kids!
Another idea might be wraps? Simple ones for the kids (sliced turkey and cheese maybe?) but for the adults you could do boursin cheese and roast beef, pesto and sliced chicken, cream cheese and smoked salmon....whatever!
And look! I passed the 100-post mark! :D
04-29-2002, 09:07 PM
Martha Stewart once showed a sandwich that was huge and you put all kinds of roasted peppers, meats, cheeses, veggies, etc. in it. Then, you put a lot of heavy stuff on it to press it down. It looked great.
I think wraps are a great idea. I like low-fat chicken salad mixed with a bit of pesto. Yum. You could also do ham with cucumber and cream cheese. And a turkey one.
CL had an article on picnics last April, I think. You might check that one out. Also, lots of little salads. I have a great recipe for Mexican Cobb Salad that is from CL. It is black beans, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, jicama, avocado, etc. I also add bbq'd chicken. It is served with a cilantro/tomato dressing. that would be great. You could serve with fresh fruit and corn bread.
04-30-2002, 02:16 AM
What a lovely evening - wish I could be there! I am a total picnic traditionalist (and doesn't that sound nobler than "boring" or "unoriginal ;) "): Oven "fried" chicken is a must for me, along with potato salad, cole slaw, fruit salad, and dinner rolls. And dessert has to include something with lemon in it! Cold grilled asparagus is a great picnic item, and I love the idea of Martha's sandwich. Oh, and veggies with dip. Oh, and peanutty noodles. Oh, and something with salsa in it; black bean salad? Oh, and I like couscous salads a lot for picnics (though I don't know how it goes over with kids). That's it off the top of my head....
04-30-2002, 06:47 PM
Ohmygosh, did I kill your thread?
Was it something I said? :eek:
There've got to be a million ideas out there - what a fun meal to plan!
(Ditto for the Mother/Daughter Lunch thread)
05-01-2002, 10:04 AM
I've been making the Martha's sandwich (KelLeg's suggestion) and several variations of it for a long time. It is great for picnics, large parties, etc. I make one with turkey/spinach/brie, one with roasted red peppers/artichokes/goat cheese and another with more traditional meats and cheese (peppered ham,salami, provolone). You make them the day before and then weight them in the refrig. overnight. They can go at the bottom of the cooler with everything else on top. Just remember to bring a cutting board and knife with you. I am too much of a nerd to be able to post a link to a thread, but try searching on "layered sandwiches".
05-01-2002, 01:14 PM
We just had our annual Daffodil Day tailgate out here, and as usual we had a yard full of kids as well as adults. One idea that went over well with both groups were fruit kabobs--pineapple chunks, strawberries, melon cubes, etc. They were better than a fruit salad because no utensils were required, and they could be made the night before. Another popular dish were sesame noodles, to which you could add chicken, or do chicken satay skewers. Another great salad is tortellini with feta, chunked ripe tomatoes and olives. Because there's no mayo, it can sit out for a while. For a special treat, we had paella salad, which had chicken, chourizo and shrimp in it and was served cold. YUM! There was also shrimp with cocktail sauce, guacamole and salsa with chips and brownies and homemade ice cream (everyone takes turns cranking) for dessert. Hope this gives you some ideas!
05-01-2002, 02:51 PM
Thanks for all the great ideas! I especially love the idea of fruit kabobs. Fun! Please keep the ideas coming.
05-02-2002, 12:24 PM
Last year I took CL's Antipasto Bowl and their Strawberry-Kiwi Salad to a picnic and they were both a big hit. Not sure how well the antipasto would go over with kids though.
Here's both recipes plus the recipe for Herb-Marinated Fresh Mozzarella Wraps. The wraps are great and although I've never served then at an outdoor function, I think they'd work very well. I don't eat meat so I always make mine without it and it's always very good and summery.
SOURCE: Cooking Light YEAR: 2000 ISSUE: December PAGE: 100
INGREDIENTS FOR 20 SERVINGS:
3 cups (2-inch) sliced asparagus (about 3/4 pound)
3 cups quartered mushrooms (about 3/4 pound)
1 cup red bell pepper strips
1/2 cup pitted ripe olives
3 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, cubed (about 2/3 cup)
1 (14-ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1 (11.5-ounce) jar pickled pepperoncini peppers, drained
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
This assortment of vegetables and cheese takes less than 30 minutes
to prepare, but if you want to get as much as possible done in
advance, make the vinaigrette a few days early. You can store this
appetizer in the refrigerator for up to eight hours, but don't go
longer than that, or it will affect the texture and flavor of the
1. Steam asparagus, covered, for 2 minutes. Drain and plunge into ice
water; drain well. Combine the asparagus, mushrooms, and the next 5
ingredients (mushrooms through pepperoncini peppers) in a large bowl.
2. Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small bowl; stir
well with a whisk. Pour vinaigrette over the vegetable mixture,
tossing gently to coat. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 2 hours;
stir occasionally. Yield: 20 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup).
Note: Can be served chilled or at room temperature.
CALORIES 49 (50% from fat); FAT 2.7g (sat 0.7g, mono 1.5g, poly
0.3g); PROTEIN 2.5g; CARB 5g; FIBER 1.2g; CHOL 2mg; IRON 1.2mg;
SODIUM 263mg; CALC 50mg
Recipe Copyright © Cooking Light Magazine
Herb-Marinated Fresh Mozzarella Wraps
SOURCE: Cooking Light YEAR: 2001 ISSUE: April PAGE: 216
INGREDIENTS FOR 4 SERVINGS:
3/4 cup (3 ounces) diced fresh mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped pitted kalamata olives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 pound thinly sliced pepper ham
16 asparagus spears, steamed and chilled (about 1/4 pound)
4 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas
Ingredients like cheese, olives, ham, and asparagus will hold up well
and actually taste better after they've had a chance to meld in the
sandwich. These wraps require the best utensils: your hands.
1. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and chill
2. Arrange 1 ounce of ham and 4 asparagus spears on each tortilla.
Spoon about 1/3 cup cheese mixture over the asparagus, and roll up.
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 wrap).
Note: These wraps may be assembled up to 4 hours in advance, though
the tortillas will begin to absorb moisture if prepared too far in
advance. Pepper ham is available in the deli section of most
supermarkets. If you are unable to find it, substitute regular ham,
and add 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper to the cheese as it
CALORIES 230 (30% from fat); FAT 7.7g (sat 3.5g, mono 3.2g, poly
0.5g); PROTEIN 13.4g; CARB 26.7g; FIBER 1.8g; CHOL 30mg; IRON 1.9mg;
SODIUM 862mg; CALC 130mg
Recipe Copyright © Cooking Light Magazine
Strawberry-Kiwi Salad With Basil
SOURCE: Cooking Light YEAR: 2001 ISSUE: April PAGE: 132
INGREDIENTS FOR 4 SERVINGS:
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 peeled kiwifruit, each cut into 6 wedges
2 cups quartered strawberries (about 1 pint)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
Here we provide the exception to our picnic rule #1--the soupy sauce
on this salad is irresistible, especially with angel-food cake
1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl. Add kiwifruit and
strawberries; toss well. Cover and chill for 1 hour. Stir in basil
just before serving. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3/4 cup).
CALORIES 90 (23% from fat); FAT 2.3g (sat 1.1g, mono 0.6g, poly
0.4g); PROTEIN 1.6g; CARB 17.8g; FIBER 3.8g; CHOL 6mg; IRON 0.7mg;
SODIUM 157mg; CALC 46mg
Recipe Copyright © Cooking Light Magazine
What a fun thread, especially with summer & picnic season coming!!
islandgirl, I'd love to have the Paella Salad recipe you mentioned (if it isn't too much of a bother).
What a great idea you have. What i generally do for picnics is a meatloaf, which everyone seems to love cold, tabbouli, french bread, sliced tomatoes. Then I bring brownies or cookies for dessert. If I am going to be at an outdoor concert with friends, I usually make a mushroom pate or something like that for people to nibble on first with veggies and crackers. Bottle of wine, a thermos of coffee and voila!!!!
Inceidently there is a funny story. We have friends in NJ who we see several times a year, and she and I always cook very 'gourmet' for each other. When we first started having them come to the DC area, we did n't have much money to go out to dinner, so I got tickets to Wolftrap (outdoor theater), made a dinner, brought my china and silver, tablecoth and candlesticks. I had made lemon tarts for dessert, and they were on a tray. As we walked from the car to the picnic area, people kept asking me whether they could buy a tart. Maybe I should have gone into business.
05-03-2002, 05:43 PM
A friend made the April CL oven fried chicken for my birthday party picnic on Monday and it was, hands-down, the best oven fried chicken I've ever had! I can't imagine how good it would be warm.
05-03-2002, 08:08 PM
Okay, I have a tentative menu. Again, thanks for all of the suggestions. You'll see I took them to heart. I culled a lot of ideas because I really don't want to have to mess with a lot of utensils and I don't want to have to do a lot of serving--so I pretty much stuck with finger foods.
So--here goes. Please continue to suggest any changes or additions you think of!
Mini Frittatas with Ham and Cheese
Assorted Wraps (Turkey and Swiss; Roast Beef and Brie; one more--maybe Herb-Marinated Mozzarela Wraps?)
Cupcakes (Haven't decided on a flavor here, but I thought cupcakes would be more practical than a birthday cake)
Do you think that's enough or do I need to add more appetizer/side type things?
05-04-2002, 06:23 AM
For a summer do ahead or picnic menu I'll often oven roast chicken pieces with lemon and rosemary, or any marinade for that matter. You can make this ahead and it's always delicious. Make your accompaniments to go with whatever style chicken. I've got a recipe for a cold couscous salad that I'll alter the ingredients for. they'res lots of recipes for wonderful light coleslaws. A fruuit plate and bars for dessert also travel well.
05-04-2002, 12:45 PM
I think you are very brave to consider preparing food when you are going to be performing. :) Kudos to you! I would probably be so stressed that I would opt for the bucket of chicken and cupcakes! :)You are right about the cupcakes, they will be easier than a cake and I have found that kids seem to like them better anyway. Good luck!
Linda in MO
05-04-2002, 01:40 PM
I have never made these, but they look good to me.
* Exported from MasterCook *
"Italian Sub" Tortilla Rolls
Recipe By : posted by Schmitty at Mimi's
Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Sandwiches
Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
4 burrito size flour tortillas (about 10 inches in diameter)
3 cups loosely packed finely shredded romaine lettuce (3 ounces)
8 thin slices Virginia Ham -- (4 ounces)
8 thin slices provolone cheese -- (4 ounces)
8 thin slices Genoa Salami -- (3 ounces)
Mix dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Add onion and toss to coat. Let stand 15 minutes until onion wilts slightly.
For each roll: Place 1 tortilla on work surface. Top to within 1 inch from edge with 3/4 cup shredded lettuce. Put 2 slices ham, slightly overlapping, in center. Top with 2 overlapping slices provolone cheese, then 2 slices salami. Scatter 1/4 cup onion evenly over top. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon dressing taken from bottom of bowl. Starting at edge nearest you, roll up tightly. Cut in half diagonally. Serves 4
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