I have many fond memories of packing up a cold supper and going with my family, including aunts, uncles and cousins, for a family picnic by the lake. Sometimes we would barbecue hot dogs and hamburgers to go with the salads and cool desserts my mother had packed. Other times it was a cold supper, with cold meats and fried chicken pieces to eat alongside those wonderful salads.
Before supper we would play in the water, play games and get our appetites ready for delicious picnic food. After supper, we would relax, maybe play some cards and watch as the beautiful sunset amazed us yet again.
Times have changed and it seems we don't always take the time to create those memories with our families. It's an easy thing to do though.
Here are three easy recipes that will help to create a memorable picnic experience for your family. They are all easy to pack up in plastic containers with lockable lids. Just pop them into a cooler with some ice, take along some cold drinks and maybe a watermelon, the perennial hot weather refresher, and you have a fun day that family and friends will remember for a long time to come.
PEANUT CRUNCH SLAW RECIPE
Makes 4 servings.
• 2 cups shredded cabbage
• 1/2 cup finely cut celery
• 1/4 cup sour cream
• 1/4 cup mayonnaise
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
• 2 tablespoons chopped green pepper
• 1/4 cup chopped cucumber
• 1/4 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
Toss the cabbage and celery together and chill.
Mix the sour cream, mayonnaise, salt, onion, green pepper and cucumber. Chill that mixture too.
Just before serving, toss chilled vegetables with the dressing.
Sprinkle the chopped nuts on top.
SWEET POTATO SALAD RECIPE
• 4 orange sweet potatoes
• 1 small red pepper, seeded and diced
• 1/4 cup mayonnaise
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 4 ribs celery, thinly sliced
• 2 green onions, sliced
• 1 - 8 ounce can pineapple chunks, drained
• salt and pepper to taste
• 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
Wrap each sweet potato in foil and bake for 1 hour at 400ºF until tender, or poke with a knife, wrap each potato in a paper towel and cook in the microwave for 5-6 minutes until soft.
Peel the sweet potatoes, then cut them into 3/4 inch chunks. Combine the mayonnaise and mustard in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the sweet potatoes, celery, red pepper, pineapple and green onions. Toss gently. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.
Chill, covered, for 1 to 10 hours.
Just before serving fold in the pecans. The salad can be sprinkled with chopped chives for presentation if desired.
THREE FRUIT FLUFF RECIPE
Serves 6 to 8
• 1 cup crushed pineapple, undrained
• 1 cup canned mandarin oranges, undrained
• 8 ounces strawberry yogurt
• 8 ounces whipped topping
• 1 small package white chocolate instant pudding mix
• maraschino cherries or fresh strawberries (optional)
Combine the undrained pineapple and mandarin oranges, yogurt, whipped topping and dry pudding mix in a large bowl.
Mix well. Chill, covered, until ready to serve.
Top each serving with a few maraschino cherries or a fresh strawberry.
Of course all of these recipes can be enjoyed anywhere and any time. I hope though that they pique your interest in packing up and finding a great spot for a family picnic.
Don't forget the frisbee!!
Karen Ciancio is a cook and lover of all things food and cooking related. Her website http://www.cookingnook.com contains hundreds of recipes, cooking tips, measurement conversions, kitchen ideas and diet and nutritional information.
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