Best Recipes for a Summer Picnic

Best Recipes for a Summer Picnic

Dreau Michael

July 15th 2021

I love hearing and of new things to make for friends and family. Especially when a recipe makes you say “what, really?” Those are the things I love to make, try and usually become a staple at my dinner gatherings. Think outside the box, make things your own. That's the best thing about cooking, you can do what you want. Ingredients, presentation, and most of all heart. So, here are some amazing recipes that make you think outside the box that will be perfect for your next summer picnic!

1. Watermelon Gazpacho

  • 1.5 pounds cubed fresh watermelon (put in blender and puree)

  • 3 large roma tomatoes, halved and cored*

  • 1 small (1/2 pound) cucumber, peeled and seeded

  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cored

  • 1/2 small red onion, peeled

  • 2 small garlic cloves, peeled

  • 1/3 cup packed fresh mint leaves

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

2. Oreo Balls

  • Use the whole Oreo cookie, crisp chocolate cookie and white filling.

  • Place the cookies in a food processor and pulse until you have small cookie crumbs. Make sure there are no big cookie pieces.

  • Make sure your cream cheese is soft. If it is too cold, it won’t mix into the Oreo crumbs easily.

  • Use a mixer to combine the Oreo crumbs and cream cheese. I like to use my stand mixer, but a hand mixer works well too.

  • Roll the Oreo cream cheese mixture into small balls and place on a baking sheet or tray that has been lined with parchment paper or wax paper. Freeze the balls for 15 minutes. You MUST freeze them so you can dip them in chocolate. If you don’t, you will have a mess.

  • Melt the chocolate wafers in the microwave in a small microwave safe bowl. Follow the instructions on the package. You can also melt the chocolate using a double boiler on the stovetop. You can use candy coating or almond bark too. Chocolate chips don’t work as well because you want a thicker coating to cover the Oreo balls. I like to do a mix of chocolate and white chocolate. You can do just one chocolate if you wish.

  • Dip the balls into the melted chocolate, making sure the balls are completely covered. I like to use a fork to lift them out of the chocolate, then I shake from side to side to remove the excess chocolate.

  • Place the Oreo balls back on the lined baking sheet or tray. You can decorate the tops with a drizzle of extra chocolate, crushed Oreos, sprinkles, crushed peppermint, or chopped nuts. Or you can leave them plain!

  • When they are all dipped and decorated, place the baking sheet or tray in the refrigerator and chill for at least an hour.

3. Strawberry Spinach Salad

For the Strawberry Spinach Salad:

  • 3/4 cup raw pecans

  • 1/2 small red onion very thinly sliced

  • 10 ounces fresh baby spinach I also love a 50/50 arugula and spinach blend

  • 1 quart strawberries hulled and quartered (about 1 pound)

  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese buy the block-style feta, not pre-crumbled; the texture is much better

For the Poppy seed Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey

  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper


1. Toast the pecans

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  • Spread the pecans in a single layer on an uncreased baking sheet.

  • Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the pecans smell fragrant and the center of the pecan is tan when the pecan is broken in half

  • Transfer to cutting board and roughly chop

2. Place the sliced onions in a bowl and cover with cold water. Let sit while you prepare the rest of the salad (this keeps their flavor but removes the harsh onion bite).

3. Prepare the dressing: In a small mixing bowl or large liquid measuring cup, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients—vinegar, oil, poppy seeds, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper—until well combined. (Alternatively, you can shake the ingredients together in a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid).

4. Assemble the salad:

  • Place the spinach in a great big serving bowl.

  • Add the strawberries.

  • Drain the red onion and add it as well.

  • Drizzle about half of the dressing over the salad and toss to coat the leaves.

  • Assess the amount of dressing.

  • You want the spinach leaves to be nicely moistened but not swimming in dressing.

  • Add a little more if needed to suit your preferences.

  • Add the feta and pecans.

  • Toss lightly to combine.

  • Serve immediately, with extra dressing on the side as desired.

  • Dress the salad as shortly before serving as you can. If you don’t plan to eat it all right away, dress only what you plan to eat right away, then store the leftover, undressed salad in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Refrigerate leftover dressing in an airtight container (a jar is perfect) for up to 5 days, then shake before serving.

Nutrition is an estimate and has been calculated with two-thirds of the dressing, as you likely will not need all of it for the salad.

4. Raspberry Chipotle BBQ Ribs