The Best Picnic Menus

Summer is picnic time. But you can have a picnic any time of the year! Have a picnic in your backyard, at the beach, on a boat, or on the living room floor in front of the fireplace. Food at picnics must be two things: delicious, and easy to eat.

I love sandwiches for picnics, and pasta salads are great too. Potato chips are mandatory, and cookies make the best dessert. Unless you have a fire going; then S'mores are required. Pack marshmallows, graham crackers, chocolate bars, and lots of wet...MORE wipes and napkins because s'mores are a messy dessert., albeit delicious.

Make sure you know how to pack a picnic basket, cook food to a safe final temperature, and throw away leftovers. Remember that that basket can't chill food; it can only keep it cold. You should have lots of cold packs in the cooler or picnic basket, along with containers of frozen water to keep everything at a safe temperature. Bring along a big blanket, sturdy plates, and utensils.

Then enjoy the time with family and friends. And if you've planned a picnic and the weather isn't nice, try this: have a picnic on the floor of your family room! It can be just as fun as a picnic outside; with no bugs or wind to blow things around! The lessons here is to roll with the punches and enjoy your time with family and friends. As long as the food is great and you are together, what else matters?

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    My Mother's Potato Salad
    My Mother's Potato Salad. Linda Larsen

    I packed this menu when some of us drove up to Duluth to have a picnic on the shores of Lake Superior. It was steaming hot that day and Duluth was breezy and cool with a slight wind off the cold lake. This is the menu I think of whenever I plan a picnic. It really is perfect! The combination of My Mother's Potato Salad with sandwiches made from ciabatta rolls (that won't get soggy) and some fabulous oatmeal cookies for dessert is just perfect.

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    Elegant Picnic Menu

    Mini-Chicken-Croissant-Sandwiches.jpg
    Mini Chicken Croissant Sandwiches. Linda Larsen

    An elegant picnic can be the perfect way to entertain in the summer. If you're lucky enough to have a boat, this would be a fabulous menu for a candlelit dinner. If not, the park or your own backyard are both wonderful settings. Any one of my pasta salads, cold sandwiches, and bar cookie recipes would work in this menu. Pack some inexpensive china for this menu, along with sturdy goblets and some nice stainless flatware. This picnic is too nice to serve on flimsy paper plates!