Who doesn’t enjoy a lovely outside picnic? Spending time with family and friends in the great outdoors is one of America’s favorite pastimes. July provides even more reason to do so, as the entire month is designated as National Picnic Month. Dr. Willard’s wants you to have a great experience with these tips for the perfect picnic.
One of the best ways to enjoy time outside is to grill delicious meat and veggies. From hamburgers to hotdogs to corn, any of these popular picnic choices will fill the air with flavorful aromas and your stomach with tasty treats. However, grilling while picnicking requires you to prepare in advance, so follow these tips for a successful picnic.
Popular picnic spots tend to get busy, especially during holidays and weekends. Some locations allow you to reserve a spot in advance, while others just require you to get there early to grab a spot. Check online at least a week before to get to know the area and the rules.
If you are planning to grill in a park or by the beach, remember to make a list of all the items you will require. This is different than barbecuing in your backyard, as you won’t have the opportunity to run in and grab an ingredient you need. Therefore, make sure to be prepared and bring all the food staples, tablecloths, cutlery, plates, napkins, etc., you will need. Bring Tupperware and plastic bags to take leftovers home.
Also, do as much food preparation as you can at home. This means chopping any vegetables that you want to grill, or making a salad beforehand. Marinade the meat in your own kitchen as well, so when you come to the picnic, you can just throw it on the grill.
While most picnic areas have BBQ grills you can use, there are no other accessories that come with them. Be prepared by purchasing lighter fluid or charcoal to light the grill. Bring along tools, such as a grill brush, to clean the area before you put food on it, and a pair of kitchen tongs for putting things on and taking food off the grill. To make things less complicated, bring along metal skewers for veggies and meats, which allows you to flip and handle food much easier.
Delicious Picnic Recipes
Impress your friends and family during this year’s National Picnic Month by cooking up delicious new dishes. Check out these recipes for inspiration.
Mojito Watermelon – Country Living shares this recipe for a unique twist on a regular fruit salad.
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 strips lime zest, sliced, plus 2 tbsp. juice
- 1 tsp. sugar
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 small watermelon, rind discarded and sliced
- 1/3 c. torn mint
- Flaky sea salt
- Whisk together oil, limejuice, and sugar in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve watermelon topped with dressing, lime zest, mint, and sea salt.
Cream Cheese Jalapeno Hamburgers – AllRecipes.com gives us this creative hamburger upgrade.
- 2 cups seeded and chopped jalapeno pepper
- 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- Preheat a grill for medium heat. When hot, lightly oil the grate. In a medium bowl, stir together the jalapenos and cream cheese.
- Divide the ground beef into 16 portions and pat out each one to 1/4 inch thickness. Spoon some of the cream cheese mixture onto the center of 8 of the patties. Top with the remaining patties, pressing the edges together to seal.
- Grill for about 10 minutes per side, or until well done, taking care not to press down on the burgers as they cook. This will make the cheese ooze out. Serve on buns with your favorite toppings.
Couscous Salad Cups – Cooking Light provides a healthy and light version of a salad that is easy to eat.
- 2 cups organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson Certified Organic)
- 1 cup uncooked couscous
- 1 cup shredded carrot
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
- 1/2 cup diced English cucumber
- 1/2 cup diced plum tomato
- 1/2 cup Pomegranate-Orange Dressing
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 Boston lettuce leaves
- Bring the broth to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually stir in couscous. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork; cool.
- Combine cooled couscous, carrot, and remaining ingredients except lettuce leaves in a large bowl; toss well to combine. Spoon about 2/3 cup couscous mixture into each lettuce leaf.
Spend National Picnic Month with your loved ones enjoying good food. Prepare for a BBQ to make sure you get the spot you want, and serve delicious food everyone is sure to enjoy.