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A portable feast of delectable refreshments

Picnics are synonymous with the warm, relaxed days of summer. It's fun to eat outside - whether in the backyard, at the beach, or on the banks of a cool river - and it's an activity the whole family will enjoy.

If you've decided to make a picnic a proper excursion, plan your menu and get as much of the food as possible ready the night before. This helps to cut down on the hustle-bustle of getting ready the next day. My family usually prefers crudites, a salad, fried chicken, fruit salad, and a dessert of brownies or other cookie/cake squares.

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One of the most versatile drinks to take on a picnic is lemonade: Both children and adults like it, and it's cool and refreshing. Pink lemonade mixed with a bottle of ginger ale makes a sparkling change from regular lemonade.

Here are the recipes for an easy-to make salad and one of my family's favorites: rich, delicious brownies. They travel quite well and should be intact when you arrive at your picnic site. Zucchini Salad

4 small zucchini, thinly sliced

1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions

1/3 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

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1 clove garlic, finely minced

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

Mix together zucchini and scallions. In a jar with a tightly fitting lid, mix together remaining ingredients, shaking vigorously. Pour dressing over vegetables and marinate at room temperature for one hour. Serves 6. Fresh Fruit Salad

1 cup plain yogurt

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 pine strawberries, sliced

1 pint blueberries

3 bananas, sliced

3 peaches, sliced

Lemon juice

Mix together yogurt, honey, lemon juice, and vanilla. Chill for at least 1 hour.

Mix fruit together. Sprinkle lemon juice over top and mix gently. This will help keep the bananas from discoloring.

Just before serving, combine fruit and yogurt dressing; mix together carefuly. Serves 6. Chocolate Butterscoth Brownies

Butterscoth Mixture

1 cup butter

2 cups brown sugar

6 ounces butterscotch chips, melted and cooled slightly

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons vanilla

Cream butter until fluffy; beat in sugar. Add melted chips and beat until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat thoroughly after each addition. Stir in flour, baking powder, and vanilla. Mix well. Pour half of the mixture into a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Set aside remaining mixture.

Chocolate filling

8 ounces cream cheese

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

1/4 cup butter

2 eggs

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon vanilla

Beat cream cheese, melted chocolate, and butter together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, then add remaining ingredients; mix well. Carefully spread chocolate filling over top of butterscotch mixture in pan. Then spread remaining butterscotch mixture over chocolate layer. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes in a preheated 350-degree F. oven. Cool and cut into squares. Makes about 15.

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