Do you prefer to make your own picnic food but are always stretched for time? We show you how to put together a healthy, yummy spread in a jiffy. None of these dishes takes more than 5-10 minutes to cook or assemble (especially if you have the ingredients on hand), and we’ve kept the use of oil to a minimum. Surprise your family with a ‘picnic getaway’ today!
1. Curried egg and potato salad/sandwiches
Egg salad doesn’t have to be plain egg, mayo and potatoes. Add a teaspoon of curry powder and some mustard to low-fat mayonnaise, plus a squeeze of lime juice for extra zing. Eggs can be boiled the morning or night before your picnic, and you can cook potatoes in their skins the quick and no-fuss way in the microwave oven. For those who must have their egg sandwiches, pack bread, boiled eggs, salad greens, cucumber and tomato, plus a spread of curry mayonnaise, so that they can DIY at the picnic itself. A slab of fried tempeh (fermented soya beans) can add a savoury twist.
2. Chickpea and corn nibbles
Stir together a can each of corn kernels and cooked chickpeas with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, paprika and spring onion – a spicy way to add fibre to your picnic!
3. Teriyaki chicken roll-ups
As an alternative to chicken mayo sandwiches, how about brushing some thinly sliced chicken breasts with a little oil and teriyaki sauce, sprinkled with dried herbs? This cooks in just a few minutes in the oven or frying pan. Roll them up in flour wraps with plenty of lettuce and tomato, or just bring along a bag of washed greens to munch on the side.
4. Tang Hoon and veggie crunch
If you’ve always loved tang hoon (mung bean vermicelli) in soup or stir-fries, now you can bring it along to your picnic! Cook some tang hoon in hot water or chicken stock, drain and toss with a handful of crunchy vegetables than have been blanched for a minute (frozen mixed vegetables, French beans, carrots or whatever is in your fridge), and add soya sauce, a bit of sugar, dried garlic seasoning and chilli flakes. You can add just about anything to this dish – leftover strips of chicken, fish, sliced frankfurters etc.
5. Chocolate and banana toast squares
Run out of chocolate and hazelnut spread? You can do wonders with bread/cream crackers, chocolate bars and some sliced bananas. Assemble and toast briefly until the chocolate melts, then pack it away for a chocolatey dessert.
6. Barbecue Chicken rice balls
Although this dish takes more preplanning than others, we included this as an easy-to-eat picnic rice dish. Cook some chicken rice either using a pre-packaged chicken rice mix, or using chicken stock. Brush some chicken pieces with hoisin or sambal, drizzle with oil and grill. When the rice has cooled, roll a bite-sized chunk of chicken in 2 tablespoons of rice, and form into a ball. This dish can be prepared the night before and reheated briefly in the microwave the next day. The oil from the grilled chicken will keep the rice moist and add flavour.
7. Fruit Fantasy
If you’re really strapped for time, this is one dish that you can prepare at the picnic venue itself! Pack a cooler with ice and bring a bag of washed, colourful fruits such as kiwi, apple, pear, star fruit and a wedge of watermelon. Pack a melon baller, a sharp knife and colourful cocktail sticks as well. While the kids are at play, make a fruit salad by cutting up the fruit into small chunk and fun shapes.
8. Fondue in the park
If you’ve got some good quality dark chocolate, crackers and baguette, you can set up a chocolate fondue! Melt the chocolate first in the microwave or over a water bath, and add a generous spoonful of butter. When this has melted, put it in container with a sturdy lid or better still, a small cup-sized thermos. Bring along wholemeal crackers, sliced bananas, chunks of bread for an indulgent outdoor treat.