By Amanda Webb, Contributing Blogger
Are you ready to make something other than a macaroni salad or veggie platter for your next camping trip or picnic? Some foods are picnic staples for good reasons. They are easy to put together and maintain their deliciousness while being packed in a cooler or basket. Some of you may be ready to amp up your picnic menu and here are a few recipes to help you do just that.
These three recipes have easily accessible ingredients and require a few basic cooking skills. They're full of flavor, color, and textures that will certainly wow the crowd at the next picnic you attend.
Serves: 4 people
This BLT frittata has healthy greens, flavorful leeks, and crunchy bacon. Frittatas are incredibly easy to make and versatile. You can probably put one together with things you have in your fridge right now.
½ cup cream cheese, room temperature
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 pinch of nutmeg (optional)
1 handful chopped greens (arugula, spinach or kale work well)
5 strips of bacon, sliced
2 leeks, white part only, sliced thin
1 large tomato, sliced
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- When slicing your tomatoes, place them on a folded paper towel while you prep the other ingredients. This will remove any extra moisture.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, softened cream cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg (if you choose to use it).
- Fold in the greens.
- Heat a well-seasoned 10 inch cast iron skillet on medium high heat. First, cook the bacon in the skillet.
- When the bacon is done and crispy, add the leeks and toss gently with the bacon.
- Let the leeks cook for about 1-2 minutes.
- Pour in the egg mixture.
- Lay the tomato slices on top of the frittata.
- Place the skillet in the preheated oven and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the eggs are set.
- Let the frittata sit at room temperature before slicing. It’s best served when it’s cooled off.
- Frittatas make really great leftovers. Have some for dinner and save the rest for your picnic the next day.
- If you are dairy free, you can easily omit the cream cheese.
Steak Flatbread with Chimichurri Mayo
Serves: 2-4 people
Skip the standard turkey sandwich during your next picnic and try this steak flatbread with chimichurri mayo. It may sound like it’s from a fancy cafe, but it’s actually really straightforward. There may be a few extra steps, but they don’t require complicated cooking skills and will be well worth it in the end.
1 small red onion
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
½ cup mayonnaise
1 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped mint
1 small lime
8 ounce New York strip steak (or another tender, boneless steak)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon granulated garlic
4 slices of ciabatta
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper
2 cups fresh arugula
- First, you’re going to make simple sweet pickled onions. Peel the onion and slice into thin strips. Place them in a small mason jar or glass container.
- Add the vinegar, water, and sugar into a small sauce pot. Bring the liquid to a boil. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove the pan from the heat and pour the liquid over the onions.
- Close the jar and let the onions “pickle” at room temperature while you prepare the other ingredients. You can make ahead and store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
- Next, make the chimichurri mayo. Combine the mayonnaise, minced garlic, chopped herbs, and juice from one lime in a small bowl. Mix everything together. Store the chimichurri mayonnaise in a small mason jar in the refrigerator until you are ready to use.
- To grill the steak, preheat your grill to high heat. (You can also cook the steak in a cast-iron skillet.)
- Season the steak with salt, pepper, and granulated garlic.
- Grill the steak on one side for 3-4 minutes. Flip the steak over and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Add more time if you would like the steak to be medium, medium-well, or well done.
- The next step is very important. Remove the steak from the grill and allow it to rest for at least 5-10 minutes. This allows the juices to be redistributed all over the steak and prevents it from leaking juices when you store it for the picnic.
- Once the steak has rested, you can slice it into thin strips at home or wait to slice it while you’re at your picnic. Store the steak in an air-tight container.
- The final step is toasting the ciabatta slices. Drizzle each slice with the olive oil and season with a small pinch of salt and pepper. You can then use your hot pan from the steak to quickly toast each side of the bread. (The bread will not stay warm for your picnic, but that’s ok! We want the bread to get crunchy by toasting it.)
- You should now have all of your fixings for the flatbread - pickled onions, chimichurri mayo, sliced steak, crunchy toast, and fresh arugula. You can pack all of these in a small cooler so that you can build the flatbreads while you’re on your picnic.
- To build the flatbreads, spread the chimichurri mayonnaise on the ciabatta and then top with the steak, arugula, and pickled onions. Finish with a little extra salt and pepper, if you’d like.
- It’s best to wrap the toasted ciabatta in a clean towel when packing it up for the picnic. If you use a plastic bag or container, it might get soggy and lose its crunch.
- This recipe would make a great “build-your-own” board at a picnic. Simply slice the steak and place on a large platter or board and place the toppings around the steak. People can build their own toppings and enjoy each flatbread fresh.
Street Corn Salad
Serves: 2-4 people
This street corn salad is great on its own, or you can serve it with grilled steak or chicken breasts. It’s a perfect salad to make ahead and pack for a picnic.
4 ears of corn, shucked and corn removed
1 tablespoon butter
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ cup mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, minced
2 green onions, sliced thin
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 ounces cotija cheese, crumbled
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Heat the butter in a large skillet. Add the corn kernels and season with salt. Toss the corn kernels around a few times so that they become slightly toasted.
- Remove the corn from the heat and place into a large bowl.
- Add all the other ingredients and gently toss together.
- Store the salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you are ready to go on your picnic. This salad will be good for up to two days in the refrigerator.
- Add in diced jalapenos to bring some heat to the salad.
- This salad can be served at room temperature, which makes it a great option for a picnic.