General Question

jtvoar16's avatar

What would you pack for a picnic dinner for a large group of people?

Asked by jtvoar16 (2133 points ) March 27th, 2014

I’m looking for cheap, home made dinner ideas\recipes for a large picnic (about 6 people) to the beach.

I’m hoping to bake\cook the stuff in the morning, and take it out during the evening, into the night.

Anything will help, as I have the food sense of a dirt-eating mole.

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40 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

Lots of potato salad. and chicken wings, hot dogs. Orange juice, pop, and water.

GloPro's avatar

Deviled eggs are always a hit. I make pesto eggs with a little sliver of sun-dried tomato on top, and avacado eggs with a dusting of cayenne pepper.

Other good ones are asparagus or watermelon/cantaloupe wrapped in prosciutto

ibstubro's avatar

We need to know if this is a picnic prepared on-site in the morning then served, or if you have to transport/store the food?

jtvoar16's avatar

@ibstubro Sorry. I forgot to mention that. It will be transported from a house.
So made at the house and then transported to the beach.

ibstubro's avatar

I had a great Pasta Salad idea, but it was lost to cyber in a glitch.

Day before, 1# firmly cooked pasta, well drained, mixed with raw and canned veggies of your choice. Stir in ⅔ bottle of Ranch and Italian dressing. Refrigerate. Before serving, stir in the rest of the dressing and top with Parmsan cheese.

(I like gemelli pasta the best, if you see it. Rotinni second.)

LuckyGuy's avatar

The most important ingredients are the company and the conversation. Don’t make the meal be so complicated it detracts from having fun.
Remember you are going to the beach and there will be sand around. Bring a roll of paper towels, a box of tissues, and several bottles of clean water so everyone can wash their hands.

If I were in charge I’d bring easy, non-sticky finger foods like: sandwiches, brownies, grapes, packaged cookies, crackers and cheddar cheese, potato chips, and some fruit cups and spoons. I would not spend time making something elegant. I’d bring bottled water that started out frozen and, if legal, some small, 187ml bottles of wine of semi dry Riesling.

Remember, the most important ingredients are the company and the conversation.

talljasperman's avatar

Sandwiches allways good.

ibstubro's avatar

@jtvoar16 what’s the time frame?

Carried from the house, or made at the house and transported miles away?

Coloma's avatar

Bake about 2 dozen drumsticks, which are always good cold, deviled eggs, cheap and yummy, maybe some potato salad or pasta salad, a big bag of red grapes, cole slaw…easy and cheap, unless you want to add my special ingredient, a can of halved cashew nuts. Supremely deeelicious!

All easily transported and will stay cold and be just right when you get to the picnic.
I love picnics!

jtvoar16's avatar

@ibstubro
About 45 mins. We have a hot and a cold bag. plus a cooler.

kritiper's avatar

Ham and cheese sandwiches, potato salad, cottage cheese, dill pickles, chips of some sort, cole slaw, chocolate chip cookies, Pepsi, water, salt and pepper, coffee, tea.

GloPro's avatar

Do you have to pack the whole damn picnic, or is it (hopefully) potluck style?

JLeslie's avatar

I would buy fried chicken, but it sounds like you want to make it from scratch.

If you want to try to eliminate the need for flatware I guess sandwiches are easiest as other people have suggested. If you make up the sandwiches ahead of time I suggest you don’t put the condiments on them if possible. I’d bring two types of chips, maybe plain potato chips and some other something. The bagged popcorn might go over well. Fresh veggies like carrots, green beens, mini peppers, and some sort of dip if you think it is necessary. I’d also bring a bunch of Clementines, people can easily peel them and no need for a fork. Other fruits like grapes and strawberries that people can eat easily.

Shrimp with cocktail sauce is also a possibility and would be a real treat. If we move into needing a fork you could do a Meditteranean theme with the shrimp and also do a cold orzo salad, pita chips with humus, and marinated veggies like an antipasti adding also olives and salami, and whatever other meats you prefer. Bread roals or bread sticks. A cheese plate might also go nicely with this and some wine.

Lastly, I would bring either chocolate cake, chocolate candies, or some sort of assorted cookies,

jtvoar16's avatar

@GloPro Have to pack the whole thing.

GloPro's avatar

Ok, then I stick with melon or asparagus wrapped in prosciutto. Amend the deviled eggs for egg salad sandwiches, pimento cheese sandwiches, and cucumber sandwiches. Cut the crusts to feed the ducks.
Brie or Camembert cheese with carrot sticks, apple slices, and crackers work well at outdoor picnics because the cheese will stay soft in the sun.
Brownie bites are perfect.

I would avoid salads that need utensils. I would avoid cakes with icing, too. Simple finger foods are the way to go at the beach. Also, consider goldfish crackers!

Coloma's avatar

Mmmm asparagus, that was my dinner, and an almond joy. hahaha

Coloma's avatar

@GloPro Curse you woman…I want EVERYTHING you just mentioned, right now!

pleiades's avatar

Chicken, Corn, Potato Salad, Mixed Greens Salad, Roasted Bell Pepper?

gailcalled's avatar

Do you have a picnic table and chairs or will people be sitting on blankets on the sand?

longgone's avatar

To add to the great ideas above: Meatballs, cherries, savoury muffins, those little balls of mozzarella mixed with cherry tomatoes, and a watermelon.

Take lots of water and napkins so people can wash their hands. Also: Don’t forget trash bags.

Smitha's avatar

Well-wrapped long sandwiches would be a great choice. You can try some Pasta Salad. Cut fruits are another good choice. Mix up a salty-spicy dip for it. I love combo of chili powder and salt for mangoes. Deviled eggs are also easy to prepare ahead of time. You can bring some BBQ chicken to the beach and grill it there. Skewers are also another good choice. Try skewering some cherry tomatoes and mozzarella bocconcini along with basil. leaves

jca's avatar

I agree with Lucky Guy- keep it simple and don’t forget the hand wipes!

Cruiser's avatar

I would do a variety of chicken, German potato salad, asparagus salad made with chopped tomato and lightly sautéed chopped carrots and garlic drizzled with olive oil, Jello mold and favorite beverages.

jca's avatar

Jello mold sounds great but unless it’s kept significantly cold, it’s going to melt.

cazzie's avatar

I love German potato salad and what I thought of. Cold chicken and pasta salad. Loads of water and ice tea. Bring the fruits and melon whole and cut it when you get there. Look for “The Hairy Bikers” online . They fix great food on the go.

ibstubro's avatar

How about pinwheel sandwiches – variety of meats, cheeses and veggies rolled in a flour tortilla (Flat Out) and sliced. Pasta salad. I’d be tempted to include some peel-and-eat shrimp if you’re going to be on the beach. Watermelon, pre-chunked. Fresh fruit or berry salad. Strawberries and a dip or two (cream cheese, chocolate or simply yogurt and powdered sugar). Brownie bites was a great suggestion.

jtvoar16's avatar

@gailcalled We’ll be using both chairs and blankets.

Also, I must say, thank you all for the input, this is helping tremendously!

chinchin31's avatar

hmm chicken wings

Stinley's avatar

I think the picnic might be over
how did it go? I love picnics. In France the picnic is a gastronomic delight. I once saw s French family bring out a whole roast chicken from their picnic basket. Such style!

kritiper's avatar

@Stinley A whole roasted chicken for the entire family, or one roasted chicken for each person?

Coloma's avatar

@kritiper Haha…..50lbs. of chicken, I wonder who the hell carried the basket, not I. lol

kritiper's avatar

@Coloma No kidding! But seriously, I can eat a whole chicken myself if that’s all that’s served. And some of those French chickens are pretty scrawny!

Coloma's avatar

@kritiper Do not even look at my beloved pet goose, all 15 fat pounds of him. lol

kritiper's avatar

@Coloma Ya know, I’ve never had goose…

Coloma's avatar

@kritiper Welll…find someone elses goose to roast. lol

kritiper's avatar

@Coloma OH, all right…

JLeslie's avatar

I would want the whole chicken already cut up on a picnic. I want it cut up at my house by the time it makes it to the table.

Stinley's avatar

It was a whole roast chicken. It was big. They had eaten loads of picnic already before the chicken came out. It was fantastic!

qwertzicle's avatar

now i’m HUNGRY

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