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Create New Picnic Main Dishes With Meats and Seafood

Picnic time isn't always the time to rely on old favorites to carry the day's meals. Fried chicken, sandwiches, and predictable side dishes might not draw the kind of excitement you're looking for from your picnic crowd. Try some of these fresh ideas for making the most of meats and seafood at your next picnic.

Main Dishes For Picnics, Made With Meats and Seafood, Not Sandwiches

It's time for a picnic, and you pull out your picnic basket, start washing plastic utensils, plates, and cups. Throw your checkered tablecloth and napkins in the washing machine and you're ready to go. Well, almost.

Haven't you forgotten about the food? You have two choices: make the same sandwiches you've been making for years, or give this picnic a whole new flavor. You can bring a main dish on a picnic, it doesn't have to be sandwiches, chips, and potato salad, and it doesn't have to be something difficult, either. Invent new ways to serve your picnic foods, and brings some poultry, meat, or seafood to your next picnic.


Have you considered making small shish-kabobs for an easy, tasty treat? Meat eaters will enjoy some lean cuts of pork or beef cut into small chunks, then marinated in a variety of herbs and spices for a savory main course. You can even grill the kabobs at home, then pack them up when you're ready to go.

One great thing about kabobs is you can marinade the meat in several different bowls to suit the tastes of different people. For those who enjoy Cajun, mix up some cayenne pepper, hot sauce, cumin, oil, and brown sugar. Others may prefer something a tangy, sweet, or spicy marinade all their own - the choices are yours to make together.

Poultry and seafood are other natural choices for some great kabobs. You can marinade pieces of turkey or chicken just as easily, or coat them in a crunchy topping. Add a little grated Parmesan cheese for a kid-friendly taste that will keep their attention. Create a Buffalo Wing sensation with a spicy hot sauce, and then bring some bleu cheese dip along to complete the flavorful experience.

Shrimp are shish-kabob naturals. In this case, you won't need much seasoning to draw a crowd around the grill. However, you can even marinade shrimp for a little different flavor. Grill them for a few minutes at home, then let them cool before wrapping them up for the trip.

Hors d'oeuvres

Some hearty appetizers might be the thing for your next picnic. You can create some beautiful pinwheels out of thinly sliced beef strips covered in cream cheese flavored with black pepper, shallots, cumin, and some shredded Cheddar cheese. Wrap some asparagus tips in strips of baby Swiss cheese and ham slices.

Ever had a Reuben pinwheel? Mix a little sauerkraut in cream cheese and Thousand Island dressing, then roll up with some thin-sliced corned beef or ham. Or, put a stack of pork or beef meatballs on toothpicks together. How about some of those little potluck weenies everyone loves? Heat them in barbecue sauce at home, and store them in a container with skewers or toothpicks for serving. Another hearty hors d'oeuvre is bratwurst or kielbasa chunks, cut diagonally, then simmered in sauce or grilled.

Another familiar way to serve hearty hors d'oeuvres is on toast points, sometimes called crostini. Top them with slivers of arugula, feta cheese, roast beef, and a drizzle of olive oil. Smoked salmon also makes a perfect topping, with a little cream cheese and thin slices of sweet onion.

Want more crostini ideas? How about some fresh tuna marinated in olive oil, lime juice, white wine vinegar, cilantro, and sesame oil served on toast points? Of course, a simple bowl of peel-and-eat shrimp with a few dipping sauces might be enough to satisfy your picnic guests on a hot summer day.

Salad Main Dishes

If you're looking for new ways to serve poultry, meats, and seafood at a picnic, then think salads. Hearty fresh greens make an excellent base for lots of different meat dishes.

A classic taco salad is a perfect example. All you do is add your own flavors to ground beef or shredded pork and go from there. Anything that typically goes in a taco can go in a salad. You'll want to pack the salad separately from the meat and other ingredients, of course, then combine before serving.

Shredded or diced turkey and chicken can also be combined in a variety of salads. Poultry seems to go particularly well with fruit. Start with a bed of greens, then add pineapple, grapes, apple, or grapefruit sections, along with some crunchy vegetables and nuts for a delicious poultry salad.

Another fun salad for picnics is flaked fish served over a bed of cabbage marinated in balsamic vinaigrette. The fish you use should have a good solid texture. Shrimp or crabmeat also makes a satisfying main course salad, using vegetables, fruit, or crunchy salad greens as a base.

Every picnic needs a main attraction, and it doesn't have to be a chicken drumstick or a big fat sandwich that makes the greatest impression. Re-think your main dishes for picnics and serve chicken, seafood, or meats in creative new ways that are as tasty as they are fun to try.


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