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5 Easy Recipes for the Ultimate Picnic Feast

These are must-haves for the perfect day out.

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Photographs by Joel Goldberg (Prop Stylist: Brooke Deonarine; Food Stylist: Hadas Smirnoff)
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It's that time of year when we dust off the picnic baskets and coolers and pack the blankets for our outdoor gatherings and games. Living in Florida, I especially enjoy hosting lunch on the beach for my family with these delicious goodies. Whether your picnic is on a beach, in a park or in your backyard, these easy recipes are sure to please your guests and pave the way for summer!

Spinach and Artichoke Wonton Cups

Joel Goldberg

These delectable bites are always a family favorite and can easily be made in larger batches. You can also make the filling in advance and refrigerate until you're ready to cook the wonton shells. I store them in a tight container when I pack them for a picnic, and then keep them in a cooler.

Makes 12 wonton cups

12 wonton wrappers

1/2 cup artichoke hearts, chopped

1/2 of a 10-ounce package of chopped spinach, thawed (and water squeezed out of it)

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

2 ounces softened cream cheese

1/4 cup light mayo (or mayo made with olive oil)

2 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

1/8 teaspoon onion powder

*Optional: Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 350. Arrange wonton wrappers in a regular 12-cup muffin tin. Spray wontons lightly with olive oil spray and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. Mix all other ingredients in a bowl and divide even amounts into each cup. Return to the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until cups are golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Prosecco Picnic Punch

Joel Goldberg

If you're serving this refreshing punch for a picnic, pack the juice in a cooler with the bottle of Prosecco separate until you're ready to mix it into the cocktail. For a non-alcoholic version, skip the liqueur and Prosecco and use 2 liters of ginger ale or lemon-lime soda instead.

8 servings

2 cups cranberry juice

2 cups orange juice

1 cup pineapple juice

1/2 cup orange liqueur

1 bottle of Prosecco, chilled

Mix the three juices with the orange liqueur and chill for 2 hours. Pour the Prosecco into the punch right before serving it.

Caprese Sliders

Joel Goldberg

Looking for a unique and easy sandwich to pack for lunch? Try these colorful caprese sliders. Although they are vegetarian, meat lovers can incorporate extra protein into the sandwich by adding slices of salami, chicken, ham or turkey.

Makes 12 mini sandwiches

12 Hawaiian Rolls

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

12 thick slices of mozzarella

12 thick slices of tomato

12 large basil leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

2-3 tablespoons balsamic glaze

Set oven to broil. Slice 12 rolls in half lengthwise and place on a greased baking sheet. Brush all 24 halves with a little olive oil and garlic. Broil for 1-2 minutes until toasted. Remove the 12 top halves and set aside. To the 12 bottom halves, add one slice of cheese to each and run under the broiler again for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted and slightly browned. Remove from the oven and top each cheesy roll with a tomato slice. Salt and pepper them, then top with a basil leaf. Drizzle balsamic glaze over each and return all the tops to the rolls to complete the sandwich. These can be wrapped for a packed lunch and served at room temperature.

Fruit Salad With Honey Lime Dressing

Joel Goldberg

You can't go wrong with a chilled fruit salad for an outdoor meal. You can also change up the fruits with any of your favorites! I've made this salad with watermelon, pineapple, banana, apple, raspberries and mandarin oranges.

Serves 6

2 cups strawberries, sliced

2 kiwis, sliced

1 cup blueberries

1 cup green or red grapes, halved

2 cups cantaloupe, cut into bite-sized chunks

Juice of 1 lime

1 teaspoon lime zest

2-3 tablespoons honey

Pinch of sea salt

Whisk together honey, lime juice, lime zest and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Set aside. Place the prepared fruit in a larger bowl and mix. Drizzle dressing over all, mix, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Olive Oil Blondies

Joel Goldberg

Makes 16 squares

3/4 cup olive oil

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Optional: 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350. In a mixing bowl, whisk oil and sugar until there are no lumps. Add eggs and vanilla, mix, and set aside. In a larger bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt. Slowly add in the oil-sugar mixture until the batter is well blended. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts if you are using them. Pour into a 9 x 9 baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes until firm in the center.

What's your favorite dish to take on a picnic? Let us know in the comments below.

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