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picnic favorites

Picnic Favorites

Delicious ideas for summer’s great outdoor gatherings

Whether it’s a birthday celebration or a casual mid-week dinner, picnics are just what beautiful summer weather calls for. Make these meals extra memorable with delicious and portable mains, sides, and desserts. Here are three picnic recipes from fellow Neighbor’s Club members to get you inspired.

Greek Meatballs for a Crowd

By Jan Westhoff from Blaine, Wisconsin

“I made these as an appetizer for my niece’s outdoor wedding,” says Jan. “They disappeared in short order.”

Level: Intermediate

Time: 15 Minutes Prep

           25 Minutes Cook

Yield: 36 Meatballs


2 pounds ground turkey

1 pound ground seasoned sausage

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 medium red onion, small diced

4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

1 4-ounce can green olives, drained and chopped

1 4-ounce jar pimentos, drained

2 tablespoons horseradish

2 tablespoons honey mustard

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil


1.       In a large bowl, gently mix ground turkey and ground sausage by hand until combined. Gently mix in eggs, onion, feta, olives, pimentos, horseradish, honey mustard, paprika, salt, and pepper.

2.       Form roughly 36 1.5-inch meatballs.

3.       In a large nonstick skillet on medium heat, heat oil, then brown meatballs on all sides until cooked through, approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side.

4.       Serve meatballs alone, or with rice or pasta.

Cornbread with Dates

By Carol Bellefeuille from Eagle, Wisconsin

Carol’s tip: For a little more sweetness, serve this bread with maple syrup.

Level: Easy

Time:     10 Minutes Prep

               25 Minutes Bake

               20 Minutes Rest Time

Yield: 1 Loaf


1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup yellow corn meal

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 egg, beaten

½ cup chopped dates


1.       Heat oven to 400˚ F and grease a loaf pan.

2.       In a large bowl, using a stand or hand mixer, mix flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3.       Stir in buttermilk, oil, and egg until fully mixed. Fold in dates.

4.       Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into bread comes out clean.

5.       Remove from oven and let rest at least 20 minutes before serving or let cool entirely before packing up for your picnic.

Coconut Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies

By Sophia Schmidt from Ithaca, Nebraska

“Adding coconut oil instead of shortening adds a little [crispness],” says Sophia. “This cookie recipe makes a lot, but you just can’t get enough of them.”

Level: Easy

Time:     25 Minutes Prep

              10 Minutes Bake

               15 Minutes Rest Time

Yield: 120 Cookies


½ cup unsalted butter*

1 cup coconut oil, solid at room temperature

2 cups white granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 cups flour

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

4 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

4 cups chocolate chips


1.       Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease at least 2 cookie sheets (you’ll have to bake in batches).

2.       In a large bowl, mix butter, coconut oil, and white and brown sugar until fully combined. Beat in eggs.

3.       Mix in vanilla, flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.

4.       Gently stir chocolate chips into batter.

5.       Using a spoon, scoop tablespoon-sized balls of batter and place them roughly 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Press cookies down slightly (they will not expand much during baking).

6.       Bake 8 to 10 minutes per batch, until cookies’ edges are light golden.

7.       Remove cookies from oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes.