Easy picnic lunch?

I dont’ know… maybe this is an IMHO, but anyway:

My girlfreind and I are going to have a picnic lunch this upcoming weekend, provided it’s nice out, and I was wondering what kind of food I could make that would be scrumptous, but would be easy to prepare out in the wild. Last time we went on one, I made Grilled Chicken Breats (marinated) and grilled potatoes, and had some cookies for dessert. What would be something origonal that I could do this time? I am a fairly decent cook, so suggest away!

In celebration of the Queen of England’s fiftieth year on the throne, the royal cooks suggest Jubilee Chicken, “a cold-served dish of succulent chicken breast in a creme fraiche sauce spiced with lime, nutmeg, parsley and ginger”. See http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=573&ncid=757&e=10&u=/nm/20020507/od_nm/britain_recipe_dc_1 for more details.

Off to IMHO.

Lil’ help? 2 days and counting

I’m a big fan of cold salads for picnics. Add in some good flatbread, cheese, fruit, chocolate and a wonderful bottle of wine and it’s simplicity and elegance at once. To me the point of the picnic is to enjoy the food and company, not to sweat over the menu.

Bulgar Pilaf is great to me. Just saute some onion and garlic in olive oil, add the bulgar and coat it in the oil. Throw it in a saucepan with some chicken stock, salt and cayenne and let it simmer and steam until the bulgar is separated and light. Stir in some parsley and lemon juice and serve it cold or hot with yogurt. Yummy stuff.

Or Tabbouleh is great, too. Bulgar, scallions, tomato, mint…no cooking at all. Just soak the bulgar for about 15 minutes and add the rest of the ingredients in. Scoop it up with a lettuce leaf and enjoy.

Or, you could give us some parameters. :slight_smile:

I’m 18, so alcoholic stuff is out of the question. She’s semi-picky about her food , but is a big fan of salads and Italian-type foods. Chinese and Seafood are bad, and she doesn’t like onions. Ideally, I would like something that I could prepare in full before leaving the house, that I would just be able to pull out of a basket/cooler, unwrap it, and eat it, without to much setting up or preparation at the picnic site. Does that help at all?

Nymysys is a smart Picnic Lady. You should pay attention when she talks.

Some of the best and easiest picnics I’ve endured have included cold salads. The tabbouleh is an excellent suggestion. Another good idea is a Greek salad of sliced cucumber, tomatoes, and feta, with oil and vinegar and oregano…you can leave out the red onions if she hates them so. Definitely pack along good bread, pita can be stuffed with the salad, or an ordinary yeast loaf.

Cold chicken, sauteed or roasted the previous day and chilled overnight, if you want more protein. Season it to complement your salad choice.

Pasta salads are great, too. Canned tuna tossed with green fettucine and tomatoes and garlic is the first to mind.

Ike, are we to infer from your use of the word “endured” that dining alfresco isn’t your favorite?

The last one picnic I packed for included some smoked salmon, rye bread, capers, dry white wine, fruit, and cookies for dessert. Throw in a copy of a good book that you can read to each other and you’ve got yourself a good time.

Well, I got beaten to the punch with the Greek salad in a pita idea, but here are a few other suggestions:

A tribute to summer picnics: Southers fried chicken, homemade potato salad and/or coleslaw, a coupla dill pickles; for dessert, some watermelon (previously cut up, or it’s just too messy unless you’re near a source of water for washing up) or maybe pecan squares… Homemade iced tea or lemonade to dringk. Yum!


Quiche! Everybody likes quiche, and it’s portable. You can make it with whatever the GF likes, since she’s picky. Accompany with a nice green salad and fruit for dessert - maybe grapes, or perhaps oranges cut up w/kiwi & strawberries? Very nice with a cookie, such as Pepperidge Farm Bordeaux or even vanilla wafers.

Or else…

You could try a Caesar salad* with sliced grilled chicken on top; also good in a pita or with crusty Italian bread. Dessert: chocolate chunk brownies, of course.

*No, it’s Ok that it has all that garlic in it. If you both eat it, you won’t notice the aroma when you… well, you know. Smooch ‘n’ stuff.


Since she does like salads, the possibilities are practically limitless.

Have fun, kids!

That’s “drink,” darnit.


If the Good Lord meant us to eat outside, he wouldn’t have given us roofs, that’s what I always say.

I don’t cook at all, basically, but I put together a dandy picnic for a date once.

It had smoked salmon, french bread, brie cheese, macadamia nuts, fresh-picked blackberries, and a bottle of homemade mead. Mmmm! And no cooking required (well, except for the mead, but that had been “cooked” months previously).

Another fine point.

Some of the most reasonably enjoyable picnics consist of well-chosen Ploughman’s-Lunch-type basics: a piece of smoked sausage or some sliced prosciutto from the deli, a hunk of good cheese, an onion or some scallions, a tomato, an apple, a loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou.

Well folks, it rained pretty much all afternoon yesterday, so the picnic has been postponed till next saturday. Keep the suggestions coming!

Well start here:


I would recommend a good “shooter’s sandwich” - basically hollow out a good loaf of bread, stuff it with tasty stuff, and squish it down, wrap it up and go, I will try to find a recipe, but there are a thousand variations.

Then add a salad or two, maybe from the pasta salads group on that link, and as recommended, a bit of fruit and cheese for dessert.

Or if you want something interesting, from your post, I take it chicken is preferred over beef, and in reading the other posts, I have a bit of an thought, based on 12hazel’s suggestions. Try making a salad of mostly diced tomato, some red onion, bit o garlic, much basil(fresh), bit of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and some diced mozzarella cheese, mix it all together, and let it chill for a half hour minimum, add to a pita or crusty bread with some chilled roasted chicken.

Try that out first though, I usually serve it with toasted garlic bread, but the pita/crusty italian bread got me thinking.

My favorite picnic sandwich is fresh mozzerella (the kind that comes packed in water, tomato, basil, and avocado on french bread with a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinigar and a dash of freshly ground pepper.

You can try making chips out of pita bread by cutting it into triangles, brushing them with olive oil and a tiny bit of soy sauce (trust me, it’s good!) and baking them until they are crisp. Serve with a tub of store bought hummus (or homemade hummus if you are really dedicated).

By all means get fruit. If you have a good way to keep it cool, make a fruit salad out of whatever is fresh tossed with honey and yogurt and a tiny bit of cinnamon. Or strawberries soaked in fresh cream.

Get something special to drink. A bottle of sparkling apple cider is always a treat. Or home made lemonade and iced tea.

But the best picnics have the simplest food. A couple kinds of good cheese, good bread, marinated mushrooms or olives from the deli, good chocolate…Most of my picnics are spur of the moment and involve going to a good deli/foreign food market and picking out small portions of whatever looks interesting. If you stick to a tiny bit of each thing (miniature chocolate bars, sample sized cheeses) you can keep the costs pretty reasonable. Half the fun is picking out fancy food that you’ve never tried before.

Italian Sub:

Ham, pepperoni, salami
Sliced provolone and/or mozzarella
Lettuce, tomato, bell pepper, possibly peppercini
(I would say onions but you already indicated those are out)
Excellent French or Italian loaf bread

Either Italian salad dressing, or oil, (red wine) vinegar, salt and pepper to dress it. You may also sprinkle it with Parmesan cheese. Bologna is NOT allowed on this sandwich, unless you get the really good stuff. Don’t put the dressing on until you’re about to eat it.

Daddy Bodoni’s Tomatoes:

Sliced homegrown tomatoes, or the best tomatoes you can buy

Drizzle with olive oil and salad vinegar, sprinkle with some basil and/or oregano. I think they’re fine as they are, but some people like to add some salt and pepper to them.

The Bodonis Had Too Many* Cuke Plants:

Scrub the cucumbers, slice off one end, sprinkle salt on the cut end, and rub the slice against the cut end over the sink. This takes out the “evil eye”. I’m not sure HOW cucumbers have evil eyes, but my Grandma Bodoni always swore by this method. Anyway, take a fork and score the skin of the cucumber (this way you don’t have to peel them). Slice into about 1/4 inch sections, spread into a bowl, and pour salad vinegar over the slices. You can add sliced onions, too, for anyone who likes them. Let this set for a few hours in the fridge. This is a VERY refreshing dish in the heat of summer, it’s not too heavy, and it can fit into just about any diet. If you take it on a picnic, you don’t have to take the vinegar marinade, but do be sure to keep it very cold.

*Three vigorous cucumber plants produced enough cukes for us to eat this dish several times a week, PLUS we put up a lot of pickles that year. Be warned when planting.