12 New Ideas for Your BBQ and Picnic Menus

On a beautiful day, is there anything better than dining in the open air (or al fresco, as the fancy people call it)? Summer is the season for picnics and backyard barbecues. But sometimes, the predictable spread of hot dogs, hamburgers and macaroni salad can get a little boring.

Shaking up the menu a bit will surprise your family and your guests in a good way. Here are 6 picnic ideas and 6 barbecue recipes to freshen up al fresco dining.

The Pic-a-nic Basket

  1. Ham and Cheese Muffalettas

A muffaletta is the perfect picnic sandwich because resting time is important; the longer the sandwich sits, the better it tastes.

This particular recipe is awesome, with sweet slices of apple and cooked green beans in a Dijon mayo sauce layered in a hollowed-out Italian roll with the cheese and Land O’Frost Bistro Favorites Black Forest Ham. That’s a complete balanced meal in one sandwich!

  1. “Fried” Chicken Fingers

I don’t know about you, but when someone wants to talk to me about making homemade fried chicken, I back away slowly. I have to say, I’ve never made it because it sounds scary and complicated. But this “fried” chicken finger recipe is actually baked and easy to make. The kids will love it!

  1. Asian Deviled Eggs

Asian chili sauce, Greek yogurt and mayonnaise give this traditional picnic staple a tasty twist. Grab one of these lidded plastic deviled egg trays to avoid a messy transport situation, as well as a cooler to keep the eggs nice and cold!

  1. Kiwi Yogurt Cups

Just four ingredients and covered plastic cups make these yogurt cups a sweet and healthy picnic treat. All you’ll need to do is peel and slice the kiwi, mix with honey and lemon zest and layer with plain or vanilla Greek yogurt. Cover and let chill.

  1. Mac & Cheese Bites

I’ve fallen hard for this macaroni and cheese recipe. I mean, mac n’ cheese as a finger food? AMAZING. The recipe calls for garlic and herb soft cheese spread, which is one of my favorite cheese snacks. Served warm or chilled, they’re delicious either way!

  1. Sticky Oat and Pine Nut Bars

What’s a picnic without dessert? These sweet, power-packed bars can be made and kept in the refrigerator up to a week before your picnic. Don’t forget to pack some wet wipes for sticky fingers!

Backyard Barbecuin’

  1. Coffee and Brown Sugar Crusted Skirt Steak

This unusual but simple steak rub is easily made by mixing finely ground espresso (not instant) with brown sugar, ginger, cayenne pepper and cinnamon. Just drizzle the skirt steak with oil, massage the rub into the meat and grill 2-4 minutes per side. It’s also great on salmon, lamb and pork!

  1. Miso-Glazed Chicken Burgers with Cabbage-Apple Slaw

A healthy and flavorful alternative to a hamburger, these chicken burgers sound fancy but are super simple to make. Just mix together ground chicken, diced onion and celery, whole wheat breadcrumbs, egg whites and sesame oil to form the patties. Then whip up an easy miso glaze and serve with a pre-made cabbage slaw from your produce section to wrap up this tasty, low-fat, low-calorie recipe.

  1. Grilled Potato Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette

I don’t know about you, but I was sold on this recipe as soon as I saw the word “bacon.”

The recipe itself is so simple, you’ll be tempted to wow your family at a regular weekday dinner as well as your guests at your next BBQ party.

There’s a two-part process to cooking the potatoes (first boiling, then grilling), and the bacon drippings are used to make an amazing dressing for the potato salad. Grill and chop the scallions to mix in a little color and pop of flavor.

  1. Grilled Pork Chops with Zesty Apricots

It would never occur to me to sauté apricots, but this recipe sounds just delicious enough to try! Marinated and grilled pork chops pair wonderfully with the apricots sautéed in olive oil, lime juice, honey and diced red onions. Top with chopped cilantro and lime zest, and you’re done!

  1. Maple-Mustard Grilled Corn with Bacon

I love serving grilled corn at a barbecue, because it’s a low fuss, low muss side I don’t have to worry about serving piping hot. The maple-mustard glaze in this recipe gives the smoky corn a little kick. And it’s topped with crumbled bacon. Enough said.

For a smoky, slightly charred flavor to your corn, remove silks and husks, and then brush the corn with oil before grilling. If you like a softer kernel, strip away silks only and grill the ears inside their husks after a 20-minute soak in cold water.

  1. Caramel Delight Cookie Apple Salad

This is the perfect dessert for a large crowd. You can make it in large quantities, and it’s SO easy to whip up. Simply mix together whipped cream frosting, almond-flavored coffee creamer, milk, chopped samoa cookies and chopped apples. Then chill until it’s time for dessert!

Burgers and dogs are just fine, but if you’re searching for the “wow factor” for your next picnic or outdoor party, try swapping in one of these new dishes for one of your old standbys. You might just create a new al fresco tradition.

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