Really Easy (and Cheap!) Picnic Foods

Too many of us live life in the fast lane. We want things fast, and sometimes we give up the frills and fancies in our day to day life just to get things quickly.

Picnics by nature, embrace the slowness of the day. Spring afternoons with the biggest worry being a Frisbee is the order of the day in Picnic Land!

So when you ponder a picnic, of course you ponder food. The 18 hour-a-day you says run through McDonalds and grab “to go” food and rush to go relax. In the simple nature of the day, I would be remiss to say I did not at least once do exactly that, but remembering all the same that a picnic brings a little bit of “lazy luxury” to the day. Your picnic food should do the same.

“Lazy Luxury” with picnic baskets is all about attitude. Think ole George W is too good to eat a McDonald’s hamburger? Hell no–but I’m sure it’s served on very cultured china plates! Don’t make your picnic harder when it comes to picnic foods, just make it a bit more luxurious. Try combining a hamburger with a great bottle of wine or fried chicken with what looks like a high end veggie tray. Embrace the unusual, but don’t kill yourself preparing picnic foods for it!

Here’s what I mean, try these picnic foods:

McDonald’s quarter-pounder with cheese plus a great bottle of your favorite Merlot and a scrumptious tray of cheese and crackers.

Note: don’t freak out over the cheese and crackers–cheese cubes come pre-cut at your local grocery and have you looked at the wide cracker assortment lately?

Taco Bell Quesadillas, chilled margaritas, and fresh salsa assortments

“Fresh salsa” scare you? It’s easy! For this picnic food, dice up 3 tomatoes, grab a can of green chilies, throw in some fresh parsley, a small diced onion (red onions are my favorite!), and a package of taco seasoning. Great stuff. Don’t forget a staple picnic food–chips!

Chilled margaritas–did you know they come pre-mixed? They are often in six packs. Backpack Coolers are ideal to keep those beverages just the right temperature for your afternoon relaxation.

Chili’s Lettuce Wraps and mixed nuts (White Wine for this one!). Low carb lifestyle? No problem–lots of restaurants have low carb choices, and this one is one of my favorites. There is a bit of meat, some veggies, all grilled just a little, and I wrap them in lettuce.

Chili’s gives you the ingredients, you build them–how fun! Throw in some mixed nuts and you have a perfect Atkins compliant meal!
A bucket of the colonel’s chicken with a lovely veggie tray

Here’s where you do what one of my college roommates was great at–you get take out food, take it out of the “take out” container, and put it on your china or picnic ware! Grab that pre-fab veggie tray from the produce section of the market, display it right, and it looks like you spent hours!

So to summarize, what is my advice about picnic foods? Eat what you like, but do it in style, make it memorable, go high-end with the presentation (a gourmet picnic backpack helps!), but not necessarily with the food. Eating picnic foods is not about how much you spend, but how much you enjoy the experience. Make it an event. With a picnic food, go to the end of the daring scale, combine the unexpected! Pair a $ 100 bottle of wine with a $ 3 hamburger! Your special someone for that intimate picnic (or guests) will rave about it for years! BOLA TANGKAS
Nasty Food Jenga

Today we play Giant Jenga with a nasty twist. GMM #1128!
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