Cooking Tips and Advice - Print - Planning a Picnic and Recipe Suggestions

Planning a Picnic and Recipe Suggestions - Cooking Tips

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Planning and hosting a picnic for family and friends is a great way to bring everyone together for outdoor food and fun. All you need is a little planning, packing and sunshine to create a day of memories.

To get started, choose a location that offers something or everyone. A picnic is a wonderful adventure for children, make sure there is a park or recreational area nearby for them to run and play. Also, remember to have a shaded area available as a place to retreat from the high noon sun.

Choose a menu that is easy to make, easy to pack and easy to clean up. Sandwiches are usually on everyones picnic menu, but with a little planning you can jazz them up to create a sandwich that is a bit more than peanut butter and jelly. Try one of these recipes. Click on the image or recipe name for the complete recipe.


Packing the sandwiches and other food items is an important step in preparing for your picnic. Sandwiches will travel best in small plastic containers or individually placed into plastic bags before being packed into a basket for travel.

Side dishes such as potato salad or cole slaw should also be placed into plastic containers with tight fitting covers to eliminate any spilling during travel. Below are a few suggestions for side dishes to serve to your picnicing guests. Click on the image or recipe name for complete recipe.

Easy Fruit Salad

There are several options when it comes to packing for a picnic. The obvious is a picnic basket, but other items can be used as well. Consider a strong canvas tote, or even a box with handles. Any item that is sturdy will work fine for transporting your food. There are many different types of baskets on the market to serve many different picnicing needs:

Oval Wicker Picnic Basket
Canvas Picnic Backpack

Whichever you choose, there is an art to packing it correctly. Below is an illustrated example of how to pack the perfect picnic basket.

Place a small towel or hand towel at the bottom of the basket to help with any spills that may occur.

Place heavy items in the bottom of the basket and lighter ones on the top so that nothing gets crushed in the transport.

Most picnic baskets now can be purchased with their own set of plates and silverware, but if not, make sure to pack utensils, plates, cups and napkins for everyone attending.

To help keep food items cool, fill empty water and soda bottles with fresh water and freeze overnight. Simply place them along side items in the picnic basket. Not only does it keep the food cool, it also provides extra drinking water as it melts.

Tip: Empty ground coffee containers work great for transporting salads or anything that might get crushed when traveling.

Top the basket off with a blanket for ground cover and a plastic table cloth to cover the picnic table.

It is probably best to bring along a cooler with ice to keep all beverages and condiments cold. Depending on how long the picnic is scheduled for, you may need more than one beverage per person. A cooler allows you to bring what is needed without cramping room in the picnic basket. Remember to keep mayonnaise, dressings and any salads made from these items cold at all times to ensure food safety.

Bring along paper towels, water free hand sanitizer, wet wipes, a garbage bags to aid in clean up, tooth picks and extra hand towels.
These items are always in demand.

Extra items that you might want to consider bringing along:

  • Bug repellent
  • Sun Block
  • Frizbee
  • Ball and Glove
  • Camera
  • Band Aides