A picnic spread need not be a complicated affair. Offering cold food items makes the menu easier to control. There will be fewer things to bring and fewer cleanups afterward.
A favorite picnic item is sandwiches. In the not-so-distant past, a sandwich consisted of two slices of bread with a slice of lunch meat sandwiched between them. Sandwiches have been given a facelift in recent years.
To add variety to ordinary sandwiches, choose from different breads. Sandwiches are being made from pitas, flatbreads, and tortilla wraps. Cut the bread the night before and store it in an airtight container.
Select meats from the deli counter at the grocery store. Fresh turkey breast, ham, chicken breast, and salamis are available. Store the sliced deli meats in the freezer. The morning of the picnic, take them out, so they can slowly thaw and stay cold until they are ready to be devoured.
Condiments can spell trouble for picnic-goers Refrigerate mayonnaise-derived foods and dips until ready to pack the cooler for the picnic. To eliminate having condiment containers sitting out without refrigeration, use condiment packets like the ones they give out at fast-food restaurants.
Salads of all types are great cold picnic options. Macaroni or potato salad is best when served cold. If your gathering is large, investing in single-serving plastic cups with lids will avoid bringing too much to the picnic. When mayonnaise-based salads come to room temperature they begin to get soupy and could spoil.
Instead of a fruit salad, bring along whole fruits. Fruit need not be refrigerated. It can be cleaned off before you leave home and kept from the light in a paper bag. Choose a variety: apples, peaches, oranges, plums, etc. Fruit makes a health-conscious dessert option than ice cream or candy. Plus it has a natural sweetness.
Individual bags of chips and other snacks eliminate lots of hands from dipping in the same bag, dirty and clean. It also eliminates open bags of chips that need to be transported home. Picnickers get more variety this way without spending a fortune on snacks. It also allows everyone to choose the snacks or chips they prefer, so everyone gets what they prefer most.
Nuts make an easy snack for a picnic. They do not need refrigeration and can be transported easily. For easy handling by others, separate nuts into individual snack bags. Any bags that are not eaten can be poured back into the can to be eaten later.
Cold food items equal an easy and simple picnic menu. There is no need to use a barbecue. The majority of foods can be packaged separately for less mess and convenience of serving even with large family picnics.