How to Make the Perfect Picnic Date



BY LAUREN SEPHTON

From the whistling birds to soaking up the warmth of the sun, enjoy this simple guide to unplug and pack the perfect picnic to spark up that romantic time with your special someone.

Tips for Planning

A handy tip in planning your picnic meal is to think of it as planning a normal dinner for two. Then, substitute the main dish with a savory and satisfying appetizer. The remaining side dishes and desserts need only a bit of tailoring to become more simplified and easier for snacking.

Another sweet tip is to consider your fondest classic picnics as a child, then complement their simplicity by featuring higher quality ingredients that may usually be reserved for special occasions. For instance, replace those sweet apples with a more romantic fruit option like fresh cherries and figs. For the main appetizer, consider packing a crusty French baguette to make crostini with prosciutto, extra virgin olive oil, and Manchego cheese instead of a classic turkey sandwich. Similarly, you can shape the entire picnic around a charcuterie board that highlights a variety of cured meats, cheeses, fancy dark chocolate, olives, honey, and a fresh, herby salad.

To keep the stress of planning at bay, consider making one of these scrumptious recipes to maximize your downtime from being in the kitchen to getting outside to enjoy nature.

 

Vibrant Green Pea Pesto Pasta

Servings: 2

Ingredients:

3/4 c. Fresh Basil, packed

1/4 c. Fresh Italian Parsley, packed

1 Lemon, juice & zest

1/2 c. Green Peas

2 tbsp. Parmesan Cheese

2 tbsp. Walnuts, roasted

2 tbsp. Olive Oil

(optional) 2 Garlic Cloves

Salt & Black Pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a food processor, add the basil, parsley, lemon juice and zest, green peas, Parmesan cheese, walnuts, and garlic cloves. (Tip: If using frozen peas, run under hot water to thaw, then firmly press out any excess water.) Pulse 2-3 times to combine, then gradually pour in the olive oil while blending on a low speed.
  2. Once the pesto is creamy, toss together with 5 ounces of cooked and drained pasta. For added flavor, toss with chopped sundried tomatoes and baby arugula before packing in separate containers.

 

Citrus Fennel & Grapefruit Salad

Servings: 2

Ingredients:

1/2 Fennel Bulb, thinly sliced

1 c. Spring Mix

1 c. Baby Spinach

2 tbsp. Fresh Mint, roughly chopped

2 tbsp. Grated Parmesan

1/2 Grapefruit, peeled and segmented

1/2 Avocado, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

Dressing:

1/4 c. Grapefruit Juice, freshly squeezed

2 tbsp. Olive Oil

2 tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar or White Balsamic Vinegar

1 tsp. Brown Mustard

Salt & Black Pepper, to taste

 

 

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients. Pack in an air-tight container to drizzle on salads at the picnic.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together all salad ingredients, then separate into two containers. (Tip: For best results, prepare the salad itself maximum 30 min. prior to eating.)

 

Peach, Basil, & Turkey Sandwiches

Servings: 2

Ingredients:

4 slices of Multigrain Bread, toasted

5 ounces Turkey Breast, thinly sliced

2 ounces Manchego Cheese, thinly sliced

1 Peach, slightly firm, pitted and thinly sliced

1 tbsp. Dijon or Honey Mustard

handful of Green Lettuce Leaves

small handful of Basil Leaves

(optional) 1 Shallot, thinly sliced

Salt & Black Pepper, to taste

 

Instructions:

  1. Spread the mustard on two slices of bread, then divide the turkey, cheese, lettuce, peach slices, basil, and shallot among the bread slices. Place the remaining slices of bread on top, cut each sandwich in half, then wrap individually in parchment paper.

 

Other Easy-to-Pack Meal Ideas

 

  • Ricotta, Roasted Cherries, and Thyme Crostini
  • Prosciutto & Fig Panini
  • Chickpea Avocado Salad Sandwiches (try adding lemon zest and fresh dill)
  • Red Wine Dark Chocolate Truffles
  • White Chocolate & Dark Chocolate Love Bark topped with Dried Rose Petals
  • Sugar Cookies with Grapefruit Glaze

 

Whether it be in your backyard or your favorite park, grab a cozy blanket, your deliciously prepared meal, and your best friend for a relaxing break under a shady tree.


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