Light French MealThis first choice is a light, traditionally French picnic and is extremely easy to assemble, with ingredients including one baguette (crispy on the outside), brie, and red grapes. Being French, a bottle of red wine is recommended as well.
Everything else can be bought ahead of time, but try to get the baguette at your local bakery on the drive over for extra freshness. Also, a common question when it comes to brie is whether or not the rind should be eaten. True connoisseurs would answer "Of course!", many thinking it's the best part, but the real answer is to have a taste and if you don't care for it then just eat the soft inside portion.
This picnic is so easy it doesn't even require a cooler, simply throw everything in a basket or backpack and you're on your way. Remember a knife for the brie, corkscrew, cups, wet wipes, and water.
Tomato, Basil, and MozzarellaThis is another light menu with a bit of a Mediterranean flair. Sliced tomatoes with mozzarella and basil is a tasty dish that goes very well with olive oil and a crispy baguette. Add sides of olives, salami, or fresh fruit for a delicious, yet simple picnic.
You will need red, juicy, vine-ripened tomatoes, basil, mozzarella cheese, and extra virgin olive oil for the main dish. Cut the tomatoes into 1/4" slices and the mozzarella into 1/8" to 1/4" slices. Alternate the tomato and mozzarella slices in a Tupperware container and sprinkle chopped basil liberally. Keep the olive oil in a separate container; it should not be applied until shortly before eating else the dish will become soft.
Enjoy the tomato and mozzarella together or add between slices of bread with balsamic vinegar. Don't forget a knife for the salami, corkscrew & cups for wine, water, wet wipes, and napkins.
Classic Fried ChickenWhat's a picnic without the ever-popular fried chicken, corn-on-the-cob, potato salad, coleslaw, and watermelon? Not only do these make for an excellent picnic but their widespread popularity means that the dishes are more-than-likely already prepared and waiting at the local supermarket.
If you'd like to prepare them at home, here are some good videos on fried chicken, coleslaw, and potato salad. Corn-on-the-cob can be fixed easily before the picnic and kept warm in tin foil, or eaten cold. Good drinks to complement this picnic are lemonade or iced tea. Don't forget the napkins and wet wipes!
SushiWhile not thought of as a common picnic item, sushi is a light, easy meal that tastes great on a warm summer day. Try a standard California roll, a few orders of sashimi (tuna, salmon, eel), and a hand roll or two. Edamame is a good side dish for sushi along with some mixed fresh fruit. I'm not generally a big fan of the supermarket sushi and would recommend ordering it fresh from an Asian market or sushi restaurant to pick up on the way. You could also go all out and make your own sushi, check our Japanese NYSDM date idea for videos and instructions.
Put the sushi in a cooler for the drive over so that it doesn't get warm, along with some spring water and lemon wedges. Remember to get plastic cups or containers of some sort, along with wasabi and soy sauce for dipping.
Roast Beef and Bleu Cheese SandwichesCrisp, cool sandwiches are a terrific choice for picnics, and this dressed-up roast beef sandwich with blue cheese and horseradish sauce is a simple way to impress your date.
Pick up a few rolls, thin-sliced roast beef, red onion, red leaf lettuce, tomato, bleu cheese, and horseradish sauce. Slice the onion and place in a container, along with the washed lettuce and sliced tomato. Store the roast beef, bleu cheese and horseradish separately and place into a cooler. The plan is to assemble the sandwiches at the picnic site to avoid soggy bread. Once there, use a knife to apply bleu cheese to one half of the roll and horseradish to the other. Add meat and veggies.
Sides that complement this sandwich well are potato chips and fresh vegetables like red or orange bell pepper, radishes, and cucumber.