How to make an amazing picnic lunch

Eat well while you walk the trail.

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Nothing makes a day at the trail like having a great picnic lunch with your friends. Here’s the full guide to impressing people with your picnic skills.

The basket

Major key: Carry your lunch in a cooler. Yes, the atypical basket is cuter and probably more aesthetically pleasing, but the key to a good summer picnic is not having your food spoiled. Use ice packs and pack lightly, or leave your car somewhere along the trail where you can keep your lunch.

The lunch

Cold foods are the best part of picnics, whether it’s National Trail Day or the Fourth of July. A good plan is to have a diverse lunch of spicy cold chicken, pasta salad and lemonade. To make the spicy cold chicken, take chicken legs and add Shake ‘N’ Bake powder to them. Follow the easy directions on the box to make the chicken, but then refrigerate overnight before you pack them in your picnic to make sure they’re the best cold temperature to be eaten amidst nature.

For the pasta salad, make an easy caprese salad with cooked bowtie pasta, diced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and a drizzled balsamic vinegar dressing. Refrigerate overnight and store in a bowl with a lid or individual bags for an easy distribution during the picnic day.

To make a refreshing lemonade, heat up your saucepan and add four cups of sugar and four cups of water until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let it cool down and then put it in a jug. Add two gallons of cold water, two sliced lemons and four cups of fresh lemon juice to make a perfect sour-sweet drink.

The dessert

Fruit pizza is a perfect summer dessert to bring on your picnic. To make the fruit pizza, use sugar cookie dough to make a large round pizza (or a few mini-pizzas if that’s your scene) and then spread cream cheese icing on the pizza for sauce. Chop up your favorite fruits and sprinkle them on top of the pizza to make a delicious and somewhat healthy dish.

Extras

Don’t forget a blanket or a tarp to protect your legs and food from the elements. It’s also probably a good idea to bring more drinks than you think you’ll need because a day of walking in the humid Missouri heat can be thirsty work. Besides that, be sure to bring paper utensils and plates so that your cleanup is minimal after a long day of walking.

Edited by George Roberson | groberson@themaneater.com

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