Picnics are synonymous with the warm, relaxed days of summer. It's fun to eat outside - whether in the backyard, at the beach, or on the banks of a cool river - and it's an activity the whole family will enjoy.
If you've decided to make a picnic a proper excursion, plan your menu and get as much of the food as possible ready the night before. This helps to cut down on the hustle-bustle of getting ready the next day. My family usually prefers crudites, a salad, fried chicken, fruit salad, and a dessert of brownies or other cookie/cake squares.
One of the most versatile drinks to take on a picnic is lemonade: Both children and adults like it, and it's cool and refreshing. Pink lemonade mixed with a bottle of ginger ale makes a sparkling change from regular lemonade.
Here are the recipes for an easy-to make salad and one of my family's favorites: rich, delicious brownies. They travel quite well and should be intact when you arrive at your picnic site. Zucchini Salad
4 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
Mix together zucchini and scallions. In a jar with a tightly fitting lid, mix together remaining ingredients, shaking vigorously. Pour dressing over vegetables and marinate at room temperature for one hour. Serves 6. Fresh Fruit Salad
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 pine strawberries, sliced
1 pint blueberries
3 bananas, sliced
3 peaches, sliced
Mix together yogurt, honey, lemon juice, and vanilla. Chill for at least 1 hour.
Mix fruit together. Sprinkle lemon juice over top and mix gently. This will help keep the bananas from discoloring.
Just before serving, combine fruit and yogurt dressing; mix together carefuly. Serves 6. Chocolate Butterscoth Brownies
1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
6 ounces butterscotch chips, melted and cooled slightly
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
Cream butter until fluffy; beat in sugar. Add melted chips and beat until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat thoroughly after each addition. Stir in flour, baking powder, and vanilla. Mix well. Pour half of the mixture into a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Set aside remaining mixture.
8 ounces cream cheese
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon vanilla
Beat cream cheese, melted chocolate, and butter together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, then add remaining ingredients; mix well. Carefully spread chocolate filling over top of butterscotch mixture in pan. Then spread remaining butterscotch mixture over chocolate layer. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes in a preheated 350-degree F. oven. Cool and cut into squares. Makes about 15.