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Picnic recipes that are easy and delicious but will help you make the most of your excursion

If you're heading out to enjoy the perfect picnic with a special someone or a group of people, you'll want to take delicious but easy snack items with you.

It's picnic season and here are snack suggestions to enjoy the great outdoors. 

Whether you're headed to a sandy spot on the beach or a private location somewhere at a park, you'll need some delicious foods for your basket.

Because some of the following foods include dairy and meats, avoid taking these items when the sun is shining brightly and the weather is very hot. These times are most likely in the early morning or afternoon. 

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It's best to wait until an hour or two before the sunset to enjoy these items.

Charcuterie boards seem to be as popular as ever. There are an abundance of snack pairings, dips and sauces to include on your board. 

Nearly any food could be part of a Charcuterie board if you plan and pair correctly. But because this is for a picnic, keeping it sweet, salty and simple is ideal.

A combination of the following items can be assorted on a cutting or Charcuterie board

Recommended Charcuterie items for a picnic:

Sandwiches are a summer staple grab-and-go item; they also filling and enjoyable. 

If you’re taking the kids out for a picnic, a sliced ham and cheese sandwich is easy and filling. Yet if you’re enjoying a picnic with a group of friends or preparing for a date, you might be looking for something a little more elegant. 

This stacked sandwich is delicious and dainty enough to steer clear of a mess in your lap.

Slice the baguette in half and line the inside of both halves with pesto. Layer the prosciutto across the bottom half. 

Top the meat with thinly sliced Roma tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Spread fresh baby arugula over the meat and cheese.

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Squeeze juice from a lemon across the ingredients and sprinkle a little salt and pepper to taste. Add the top half of the bread back and slice sandwiches on an angle.

Wrap each sandwich in parchment or waxed paper and tie with burlap or cooking twine for an extra touch.

Fruit salad can be anything and everything you want it to be. The perfect fruit salad is as unique to every individual as it is based on which juicy fruits you love most. 

Yet for a fruit dip with a main ingredient of cream cheese, you might want to be a little pickier with your choices.

The best fruit pairings for a cream cheese based fruit dip are strawberries, melon types like cantaloupe and melon, pineapple and grapes.

Begin by beating softened cream cheese in a mixer. 

Add in marshmallow fluff and vanilla. Mix until combined and serve cold. It really is that simple.

Cucumber is a delicious, light vegetable to be used a number of ways throughout the summer. 

Mix up mint and cucumber cocktails, include it in nearly any salad or use it as a topping on your toast.

For this quick recipe, cucumber acts as a no-carb cracker.

First, leave the cream cheese out on the counter to allow it to soften. If you’re hoping to put a lot of effort into this picnic snack, use a piping bag and fill it with the cream cheese once it’s soft enough to squeeze.

Slice cucumbers with the skin still on into about one-inch slices. Carve out the seeds of the cucumber halfway through. (You'll want to ensure only halfway, so the rest of the seeds act as a base for the cream cheese.)

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With a small spoon or a piping bag, fill the inside with the cucumber with cream cheese. Sprinkle Everything Bagel seasoning over half of them and chopped, fresh dill over the other half. Refrigerate until you’re ready to leave for the picnic.

For a French or Italian picnic vibe, include a bread basket in your list of items to bring. For this display, you can use any type of basket you have or find a wicker bread basket at your local home goods store. 

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Drape a napkin or two, depending on size, over the inside of the basket. Fill it with all kinds of local or homemade artisan bread types, crackers, sliced and whole.

Pasta salad is obviously not a finger food, but it’s a great addition to a picnic if you’re bringing forks, small plates or bowls, or if you're packing food in individual containers for a self-serving meal.

You’ll want to prepare pasta salad in advance, as the pasta itself will need time to cool and chill in the refrigerator after it comes out of boiling water.

Begin by cooking your pasta in a pot of boiling water with salt. 

While your pasta cooks, dice the onion and cucumber into bite-size pieces. Slice the cherry tomatoes and black olives into halves.

If you have one big ball of mozzarella, slice it into bite-size pieces. If you have small mozzarella balls, slice them in half. For the spinach, remove the stems and cut the lettuce into long, thin slices. You can also do this with kitchen scissors. Repeat the same process for the fresh basil.

If you intend on including the pepperoni, slice it the same way at this time. Set all ingredients aside in a large bowl.

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When the pasta has cooked, chill it in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes to ensure it has completely chilled and started to become cold. 

This is very important to avoid melting the cheese and other ingredients when everything is combined.

After the pasta has chilled, add it to the bowl with the rest of your ingredients. Begin topping the entire bowl with the Italian dressing. Do so gradually and stir as you go. You want to coat each ingredient but also, avoid overpowering the pasta with spoonfuls of just Italian dressing.

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Cover the whole bowl with a lid or sandwich wrap and chill together. Stir before serving as the dressing will likely be sat at the bottom of the bowl.

If you’re planning a picnic in a location that allows for alcohol, feel free to try this lemonade cocktail recipe. Pack a small cooler of ice to bring and a couple mason jars to drink out of. If you prefer this recipe as a mocktail, exclude the liquor and substitute more water.

First, wash the berries and remove their stems. In a blender, mix the water and strawberries.

Once the berries have become smooth, include the lemon juice, vodka and sugar and blend until mixed. 

Serve over ice and garnish with a strawberry or lemon slice. 

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