Summertime is Picnic time! Whether you grab a few leftovers from the refrigerator, throw them in the ice chest and go to the local park or beach, or decide to go gourmet and plan your meal and scenic destination, a picnic is always a fun change of pace. The beauty of a picnic basket is that you can fill it with all your favorite things. There are no wrong items as long as you know how to store them, within reason. Leave the ice cream for another day.
My Big Fat Greek Basket:
Greek Salad: Start with a grape tomato, cube of feta, a kalamata olive cut in half and a cube of cucumber and thread them onto a skewer. Make 2-3 for each person. In a squeeze bottle, pour pesto sauce and more olive oil until the consistency is thin enough to drizzle. When ready to serve, drizzle pesto oil lightly over the skewers and you have a Greek salad on a stick.
Fancy Tabbouleh: Toss a bunch of chopped parsley with a little cooked bulgur — about three to one of the parsley and bulgur. Add chopped seeded tomatoes, cucumbers, cubed feta cheese, quartered artichoke hearts, chopped kalamata olives, olive oil, salt, pepper and lots of lemon juice and zest. Chill.
Hummus & Pita: Place 2 cans garbanzo beans (reserve some liquid), 2 Tbs tahini, juice of one lemon, ½ tsp ground cumin, salt and 2 cloves of garlic in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth adding garbanzo bean liquid to thin out. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl. Drizzle olive oil over the garbanzo bean mixture. Sprinkle with paprika, toasted pine nuts and chopped parsley. Serve with pita bread triangles or pita crackers.
Chicken Drummetts & Wings: Purchase wings and drummetts in a Honey Barbecue sauce and grill several hours or night before the picnic. Chill the chicken and place in freezer bag for easy storage.
Fruit & Cookies: Use a melon baller to make equal size balls of watermelon, honey dew, cantaloupe or any other melon favorites. Drizzle 3 Tbs honey and squeeze lime juice over the fruit and sprinkle with lime zest, chopped mint leaves, and 3 Tbs grated ginger. Serve with crunchy cookies.
Wine or Lemonade: Wash down all your picnic treats with your favorite wine or tangy lemonade.
~ Make sure all items are chilled before you pack them. Ice will not chill down food fast enough to protect you from spoilage.
~ Choose foods that will last longer in warm weather such as salads without mayonnaise. Food that has been out of the cooler for two hours should be thrown away, less time if the weather is hot. Bacteria will grow quickly in warm environments.
~ The coldest part of a cooler is on the bottom. Remember, cold air falls and heat rises. Pack the most perishable foods, like meats and dairy, on the bottom. Scatter ice packs throughout the cooler and place ice in a heavy-duty resealable freezer bags for multiple usage. It will keep food cold and you can use it in cups for your drinks.
~ Pack a blanket,
plates, utensils, wine/bottle opener, napkins, serving spoons, plastic glasses, salt & pepper, paper towels, water free hand sanitizer, wet wipes, a garbage bags to aid in clean up, tooth picks and extra hand towels. Love these wine glass holders
~ And don’t forget the bugs. Pack the Bug repellent, sun block, Frisbee, ball and glove, camera and First Aid Kit.
Relax and enjoy your day with good friends, good food and great views!