Over 30 Easy Recipes for Delicious Picnic Food

Did you know that April 23 happens to be National Picnic Day? It seems fitting that it would fall just a week after Easter when we’re all quite ready to get outside and enjoy a bit of warm sunshine and a slower pace. I’m not sure what your picnic traditions include, or if you even have any but, there’s just something special about a picnic. It’s not that the food is fancier than most days, it’s the change of scenery and being in the middle of the budding and blooming color all around us. Just to make it easier for you to celebrate, I’ve gathered up over 30 recipes for delicious (and easy!) picnic food for you to try with your family.

To get you started, you’ll find 6 Tips and Menu Ideas for a Day at the Zoo or Park that may include several picnic opportunities. If you are traveling and need some ideas for picnicking on the road, this post could help, too!  Some of these sandwiches are often served hot, but I think they’d be fine cold, or the meat could be put in a thermal container to keep it warm. Others could be made at home and wrapped up to take with you, like the Hawaiian BBQ or Chicken Bacon Ranch Sandwiches.

Pita Pockets Make Perfect Picnic Food

One of the best perks of these recipes is that the meats can be cooked in the crock pot and they all freeze well, which means if you make up an extra large batch now, you’ll be ready for weeks of impromptu picnics. And let’s face it, there are literally endless ways to fill pita pockets

  • Greek Chicken Pitas from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.
  • These Greek Pita Sandwiches start with meatballs and just get better and better from there.
  • Chicken Gyros from Kate’s Recipe Box.
  • Beef Gyros are a great way to serve steak on a picnic.
  • We enjoy serving our Beef Shwarma with a cucumber-yogurt sauce instead of the traditional tahini sauce.
  • You can prep and freeze the meat for these Chicken Broccoli Picnic Pitas and add all the veggies to be served in the pita as a chicken salad. A perfectly tasty and tidy picnic option.

Shredded Meat Sandwiches are easy to make ahead and so filling

Chicken Salads & Sandwiches are always a hit

  • My Peach Chutney Chicken Salad Sandwich uses cooked chicken and a delightful combination of ingredients that taste great and come together quickly.

Summer Picnic Classics never fail to impress

  • Slow Cooker Beer Brats are a classic summer grill idea with only 2 ingredients that can actually be made in the slow cooker.
  • 70s Fried Baloney Sandwich and other such sandwiches are sure to make the kids happy with their classic simplicity.
  • Gina’s Club Sandwiches were named for my sister, and as you would imagine, it’s a tasty club sandwich for any day of the week, especially if a picnic is involved.
  • Tomato Sandwiches are perfect when those fresh tomatoes start showing up in the garden or your local farmer’s market. Nothing says summer like a thick sliced juicy fresh tomato.
  • The secret to these PBJ on Depression Era Bread is the tasty Depression Era Bread. It just takes the classic PBJ up a notch or two.
  • These Egg Salad Sandwiches are a classic recipe that includes how to boil the eggs, and a great little item to have the kids help whip up.

  • Loaded Hot Dogs can be made with 3-ingredient “Cheater Chili” and a little slaw.

Classics with a Twist keep things fun and interesting

Roulades, Frittata Bites & Chicken Legs are too good to pass up

  • These Ham & Swiss Roulades from Carmella at Assortment Blog are made using handmade or store-bought pizza dough and can be filled with a variety of meats and cheeses based on what sort of mood you’re in.
  • This Bacon Spinach Frittata Bites recipe from Jessica at Life as a Mom would be perfect for a breakfast picnic with some fresh fruit because picnics aren’t just for lunch and dinner!
  • Chili Sauce Chicken Legs are a tasty warm option that is easy to eat and slightly messy in a good way, making them perfect picnic food.

And there you have it, over 30 recipes for celebrating National Picnic Day on April 23 or any day you like!

Do you have a favorite picnic food? What about a favorite picnic spot, whether it’s one you go to now or one you enjoyed as a child?

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Quick Mediterranean Pasta Skillet

When we were first living together, my husband and I started making “clean out the veggie drawer pasta” once a week. It’s exactly what it sounds like: once a week, anything that was left in the drawer went into our dinner. Some weeks it was unexpectedly awesome – some weeks not so much. Over time, it evolved into a few different go-to dinners.

MedPastaSkillet

This variation of the pasta is my personal favorite. I’ll still make substitutions depending on what we have on hand – chicken instead of ham or peas instead of tomatoes make frequent appearances – but these are always what I hope to find in the drawer when we start prepping dinner.

MedPastaIngredients

I love how fast this comes together. I usually start my chopping right after I dump the pasta into the water and then by the time I’m ready to add the pasta to the skillet, it’s done cooking. Paired with a salad and a loaf of crusty bread, it’s an awesome, quick meal.

Quick Mediterranean Pasta Skillet

Serves: 4 Servings

Ingredients
  • 1 lb. penne pasta
  • 3-4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large ham steak, diced
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • ⅓ cup kalamata olives, sliced
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh basil, julienned
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat 2 Tbsp. of oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and ham and cook until onion is translucent and ham is browned, about 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 30 seconds more, until fragrant. Add in the tomatoes and sliced olives and cook another 1-2 minutes, until the tomatoes start to give up their juice.
  3. Add the cooked pasta to the pan and toss to combine. Add more olive oil as needed to coat. Stir in Parmesan cheese, top with basil and serve.

Kate is a home cook and new mom  from New Jersey. In addition to sharing recipes with Eat at Home readers, she blogs her cooking adventures at Kate’s Recipe Box. When she’s not in the kitchen, you can find her reading or tending to her garden.

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Slow Cooker Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwiches

This was almost the dinner that wasn’t. I had picked up the ingredients with the intention of making chicken Cordon Bleu for dinner – and then realized that I wouldn’t be home in enough time to do the prepping and cooking necessary. Slow cooker to the rescue!

These are obviously less fancy than “real” chicken Cordon Bleu, but the flavor profile is the same and using the slow cooker makes it immensely easier for a busy night – a win-win! We gobbled these sandwiches up.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

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Slow Cooker Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwiches
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ lb. deli ham, diced
  • 8 oz. Swiss cheese, shredded
  • 2 tsp. Herbes de Provence (or a mixture of rosemary, thyme and oregano)
  • 11/2 cups honey mustard dressing, divided
Instructions
  1. Place the chicken on the bottom of the slow cooker. Top with ham and spices. Pour 1 cup of the dressing over. Cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 4-5.
  2. Remove chicken, shred and return to the slow cooker. Stir in shreded cheese and additional dressing. Cook for an additional 15 minutes. Serve on rolls.

P.S. One of our Weekly Meal Plan members share that she saves at least 2 hours each week by using the meal plans.  She also saves a minimum of $60 each week on food!  Find out how you can become a member by clicking here.

Kate is a home cook and new mom  from New Jersey. In addition to sharing recipes with Eat at Home readers, she blogs her cooking adventures at Kate’s Recipe Box. When she’s not in the kitchen, you can find her reading or tending to her garden.

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Pineapple Chicken

Pineapple Chicken EAH

I absolutely love Asian inspired dishes, and have been experimenting with several different recipes lately. I recently made a spicy bourbon chicken that I thought was amazing…but the rest of my crowd, not so much. My family does not do spicy! So, the next time I had a craving for Chinese, I decided to skip the spice and see if I could create something my kids would eat. I had some pineapple in the fridge, which gave me inspiration for this Pineapple Chicken. It is sweet with the brown sugar and pineapple, but deliciously flavorful with hints of ginger and the saltiness of the tamari (gluten free soy sauce).

Pineapple Chicken and sides EAHI topped mine with sesame seeds, green onions, and red pepper flakes, and served it over brown rice. We had an Asian chopped salad as a side, which is quickly made from a bagged salad kit (which I have found WalMart and Sam’s Club).

I am pleased to report that my girls loved it!! (My son is 5 and only eats chicken in the form of a nugget! I’m praying for the day he outgrows this.) I am super excited that I can add this to our regular rotation so I can get my Chinese food fix, and it is easy to spice up my individual portion so everyone is happy!

Pineapple Chicken
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. boneless chicken breasts - cut into bite size chunks
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Approx. 1 cup pineapple, tidbits or small chunks
  • ½ cup water
  • ⅓ cup Tamari
  • ⅓ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup pineapple juice
  • 2 T. ketchup
  • 1 T. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • ½ tsp. powdered ginger
  • Crushed red pepper flakes or sriracha (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet.
  2. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned.
  3. Remove chicken from pan and add remaining ingredients, heating over medium heat until well blended and dissolved.
  4. Add chicken back into pan with sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes uncovered.

KimM is a contributing writer for Eat at Home. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, three children, and 2 fur babies. She blogs about her kitchen adventures at Makin’ it Mo’Betta. You can also follow on PinterestFacebook and Twitter.

Slow Cooker Pasta Sauce with Sausage and Eggplant

75 Days of Summer Slow Cooker Meals EatAtHomeCooks

SausageEggplantPasta2

My husband likes his pasta sauce with meat. I prefer mine to be packed with veggies. This is our compromise.

After hours in the slow cooker, the eggplant becomes melt-in-your-mouth buttery. If you didn’t know it was in there, you might not notice it. It’s a great way to sneak in extra veggies!  For the sausage, I prefer to use pre-cooked sausage because it’s easier to slice up, but any Italian sausage would work for this.

This makes a pretty big batch for the two of us, but it freezes nicely for future use.

Here’s what you’ll need:

SausageEggplantPasta1

Slow Cooker Pasta Sauce with Sausage and Eggplant

Serves: 8

Ingredients
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (16 oz.) jar pasta sauce
  • 1 T. Italian seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage
  • 1 large eggplant
Instructions
  1. In the slow cooker, combine the crushed tomatoes, pasta sauce, Italian seasoning and minced garlic.
  2. Coin slice the sausage. Peel and dice the eggplant. Add both to the slow cooker. Stir well to combine.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. Serve over pasta, topped with parmesan cheese.

Kate is a home cook living and working in New Jersey. In addition to sharing recipes with Eat at Home readers, she blogs her cooking adventures at Kate’s Recipe Box. When she’s not in the kitchen, you can find her reading or tending to her garden.

3 Ingredient Main Dish Recipes – aka Super Simple Suppers

I love keeping things simple in my home.  Especially, when it comes to weeknight dinner prep.  One way to cut down on cooking time and to streamline dinner prep is to use just a few, basic ingredients in your recipes.  It’s not always possible, but there are many main dishes that can be made with as few as just 3 ingredients!
If you are worried that cutting down on ingredients means cutting down on flavor, never fear! These recipes may be incredibly simple, but the flavors they carry are delicious and family approved. I consider them some of our favorites!

(Click here to see a post where I share more dinner recipes that use just 5 ingredients or less!)

For these, I didn’t count salt and pepper as ingredients.  That was too nit-picky.  I also counted the rice in the first recipe as a side, not an ingredient for the dish.

If you need dinner in a hurry, or have limited ingredients to work with, check these out and let me know which one is your favorite!

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Three Ingredient Main Dish Recipes

slow cooker teriyaki beef with pineapple

Slow Cooker Beef Teriyaki with Pineapple

BBQ Ham Steak on the Grill – Really any kind of meat you put on the grill could count as a 3 ingredient or less main dish, as long as you keep the rub or sauce simple.

Chicken Tacos

Honey Mustard Chicken in the Crockpot

Honey Mustard Grilled Pork Chops

Pesto and Crushed Tomato Shells

Pesto Tomato Ravioli

Slow Cooker BBQ Peach Pulled Pork

Tangy Sweet Pork Chops in the Slow Cooker

Teriyaki BBQ Chicken Legs in the Slow Cooker

toasted apple and brie sandwiches on cinnamon bread done

 

Toasted Apple and Brie Sandwiches on Cinnamon Swirl Bread – most any type of grilled cheese sandwich would count for a 3 ingredient meal.

Tony’s Tilapia

Potato Soup

 

Easy Grilled Pizza

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Grilled pizza is one of my favorite summer meals. It’s easy, involves almost no planning and it’s super quick. The first time I tried this I was thinking, there’s no way this is going to work! But it works and it works really well.

The ingredients for grilled pizza are the same as you’d use for a traditional pizza:

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I like to prep everything inside and lay it out on a cutting board to take outside.  This seems to keep things contained a little better, and it’s easier than carrying a million things back and forth to the kitchen. It’s also a great idea to have everything prepped before you start – these cook quickly!

GrilledPizza4

In a nutshell, you plop your dough onto the preheated grill. When the bottom is firm and has grill lines (after about a minute on the grill), you flip it over.    [Read more…]