This menu is ideal for a picnic, as it offers a lot of variety without you needing to pack up a huge amount of food. The Cajun chicken pecan salad can be used in four different ways, offering a do-it-yourself lunch:
- It makes a great hors d'oeuvre spread on crackers or French bread
- Use it as a hearty sandwich filling
- Stuff it into fresh tomatoes (cut off tops, scoop out, dry with paper towel)
- Or place a scoopful on a plate of fresh, crisp salad greens.
It seems that most people choose at least a couple (if not all) of the options. Some creative folks make a huge sandwich with chicken salad, lettuce, and fresh sliced tomatoes, or an entrée salad placing a scoopful on greens with a garnish of sliced fresh tomatoes and some crackers on which to spread some of the chicken salad. With the wonderful tomatoes this time of year, we suggest bringing extras to slice and serve along with the rest of the menu.
So make a big batch of the chicken salad, bring some crackers, French rolls for sandwiches, some tomato shells, and a bag of washed crispy lettuce. Dad’s creamy marinated cucumbers are an ideal accompaniment—but be warned that you’ll need more than you think, as this salad is very popular.
This menu constitutes a full meal, with your protein, starch, two vegetables and, most importantly, a dessert. Don’t forget gallons of iced tea, and beer if that is your choice of beverage (iced tea is not a choice—it’s a must).
Considering the summer heat, we’d suggest purchasing a seasonal fruit pie, or another favorite dessert.
Picnic Safety Tips
As the heat rises, unwanted and unknown organisms might also be enjoying your food. With a little pre-planning, you can make sure your warm-weather food will be safe.
Commercial mayonnaise is safer than homemade as it contains preservatives and acid, which inhibit the growth of salmonella.
Keep all cold foods chilled in an ice chest, as bacteria thrive at lukewarm temperatures.
Prepare the food carefully, avoiding cross-contamination (using the same cutting board for raw chicken and cooked chicken without thoroughly washing first).
Keep food chilled and covered until you're ready to eat.