Picnics Made Easy

A picnic meal need not be a complicated event. Offering cold food items makes the menu easier to control. There will be less equipment to bring and fewer cleanups afterwards.

Sandwiches are a preferred picnic item. In the past a sandwich consisted of two pieces of bread and lunch meat. Sandwiches have been given an overhaul in recent years.

To add variety to ordinary sandwiches, choose from a variety of breads. Sandwiches are being made from pitas, flatbreads, and tortilla wraps. Cut the bread the night before and store in an airtight container.

Buy meats from the deli counter at the grocery store. Fresh turkey breast, ham, chicken breast, and salamis are options. Put the sliced deli meats in the freezer. The morning of the picnic, take them out so they can slowly thaw and stay cold until they are ready to be consumed.

You can run into trouble with condiments at a picnic, especially anything that is made from dairy products. Refrigerate mayonnaise based foods and dips until ready to pack the cooler for the picnic. To avoid having condiments containers sitting out without refrigeration, use condiment packets like the ones available at fast food restaurants.

Salads of all types are awesome cold picnic options. Macaroni or potato salad is best when served cold. If your get together is large, investing in single serving plastic cups with lids will avoid bringing too much to the picnic. When mayonnaise based salads come to room temperature they begin to get soupy and could spoil.

Rather than a fruit salad, bring along whole fruits. Fruit need not be refrigerated. It can be cleaned off before you leave the house and kept from the light in a paper bag. Choose a selection: apples, peaches, oranges, plums, and etcetera. Fruit makes a nutritious dessert alternative than ice cream or candy. Plus it has natural sweetness.

Individual pouches of chips and other snacks keep everyone's hands from reaching in the same bag, dirty and clean. There will be no opened bags of chips to transport home. This gives picnickers more variety without having to spend a fortune on snacks. It also allows everyone to choose the snacks or chips they prefer so everyone gets what they prefer most.

Nuts make an easy snack for a picnic. They need no refrigeration and can be easily transported. For easy handling by others, separate nuts into individual snack bags. Any bags that are not consumed can be emptied back into the can to be eaten later.

Cold food items equal a convenient and simple picnic menu. There is no need to use a grill. Packaging foods individual allows for less mess and easier serving.

For more excellent suggestions for the kitchen and recipes from Christine Steendahl, "The Menu Mom", go to http://www.themenumom.com.

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