4th of July Picnic Ideas

Just in time for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, our Chef Laureen provides simple and delicious tips to help plan for a splendid summer picnic.

Nothing says summertime like a great picnic! Friends and family gathering together in the park, at a concert, on the deck or simply in the backyard is a great way to celebrate the fabulous foods of the season.

The main key to the perfect picnic is “No Muss No Fuss.” Keeping that in mind put your culinary skills at ease with a few quick, simple and delicious tips to planning a bit of summertime fun.

Gather the gang together, divvy up the menu list and embrace one of 2011’s top-10 trends: the year of the Pot Luck!

Spreads and Schmears – served with a variety of flatbreads, ciabatta and foccacia.

  • Pimento Cheese – a true southern classic. Recipe secret: combine sharp cheddar and white cheddar cheese with a dash of Cayenne pepper, diced pimentos and a subtle amount of mayo.
  • Jalapeno Egg Salad - chopped hard boiled eggs, Dijon mustard, thinly sliced celery, dried jalapenos, black pepper and celery salt to taste.
  • Creamy White Bean and Herb – cannellini beans with Vidalia onion, cream cheese, lemon juice, chives, oregano and thyme.
  • Ttzaki – Greek yogurt, lemon, cucumbers, garlic and dill says nothing but YUM!
  • Mortadella with Pistachio - Mortadella pulsed with mayonnaise, thyme, butter and balsamic vinegar makes this a picnic recipe must have.

Simply Sensational Snacks

  • Parmesan and Herb Almonds – All natural whole almonds tossed in dried herbs and grated Parmesan cheese, toasted in the oven.
  • Spicy Garbanzo Beans – Cayenne pepper and kosher salt dusted chickpeas roasted in the oven.

Seasonal Salads

  • Feta Slaw – shredded green cabbage, sliced green onions, crumbled Feta cheese, drizzled with a champagne vinaigrette.
  • Strawberries in Balsamic – quartered strawberries tossed with basil chiffonade, sliced almonds and balsamic vinegar.
  • Arborio Rice Salad - boiled arborio rice with lemon, olive oil, sliced cucumber and mint.
  • New Age Relish Tray - with marinated olives, sweet gherkins, pickled cucumber and red onion, spicy radish. 

Good for the licking Chicken

  • Grilled Chicken Kabobs – grilled chicken tenders skewered with mushrooms and a peanut dipping sauce.
  • Oven “Fried” Chicken - skin on buttermilk dipped chicken pieces rolled in cayenne pepper dusted flour and panko bread crumbs then oven baked for a crispy treat.
  • Lemon Pepper Crusted Chicken Wings – heavily seasoned, grilled and served with a spicy Key Lime dipping sauce.

Sweet Temptations

  • Blueberry Streusel Bars – fresh blueberries with lemon cream filling topped with cinnamon brown sugar streusel.
  • Rosemary Pine Nut Cookies – buttery shortbread cookies with flavorful rosemary and toasted pine nuts.

For the Love of the Perfect Picnic – keys to success

  • Keeping it real, fun and safe are the keys to your success. Add a few of these tips to your adventure and you are paving the way to the perfect picnic fun.
  • Gather up some fresh mint sprigs to keep the bees at bay.
  • Pack a bottle of bug spray to keep the critters from crawling up your sleeve.
  • Freeze several bottles of water to keep your food chilled and then drink when they melt.
  • When the sun is shining, pack the sunscreen.
  • Light some citronella candles for ambience as well as bug defense.
  • Pack a few trash bags and zip lock bags for easy clean up.
  • Don’t forget the all-important wine and beer bottle opener.
  • Stay dry with a weatherproof blanket to keep moisture from the ground off your guests.
  • Pack some paper towels for spills and clean up.
  • Nothing says safe like a bit of hand sanitizer.
  • Be earth friendly with some sustainable plate ware.
  • Always be the hostess with the mostest with pretty linen napkins.
  • Keep your picnic perfect with a ton of fun and always remember Peace Love Food!

For complete recipes, email yellowbanchef@gmail.com. You can also follow me on twitter @yellowbandchef and at foodandawheel.blogspot.com.


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