ENJOY YOUR FAVOURITE HOMEMADE SUMMER DISHES OUTSIDE
In the heat of summer if you spot a picnic area you’ll likely uncover a trendy food truck with delicious and unique foods that are hard to resist even if the costs are more than you budgeted for.
Grocery shopping hungry can be costly and so can having fun on the beach, camping or visiting various summer attractions without any picnic food. Fresh smells of summer foods are everywhere so you either pay for your meals on the go or save money and pack simple picnic food to get you by for the day.
Although I’m a fan of food truck creations some of the best picnic food dishes will be homemade and fit nicely into your grocery budget. The purpose of picnic food and enjoying a day away from home is to bring the indoors out and have fun under the sun. You don’t have to bring big pots and burners to make pasta, lobster and other posh foods. Picnic food should be simple and delicious comfort food.
If I asked you what your favourite picnic food was I’m sure chicken recipes for picnics such as chicken salad, fried chicken, chicken fingers, chicken fried rice and so on would flash through your mind. I know because that’s exactly what happened to me just now only because I grew up eating lots of chicken and fish especially by the sea where we had frequent family picnics.
Chicken has long since been the go-to picnic food because it’s inexpensive compared to beef and it’s delicious eaten hot or cold. You can also stretch chicken to make large portion recipes of picnic food for large groups by adding pastas, vegetables and cheeses. I’m not a big fan of cold steak myself as I find it gets tough and chewy and not appetizing at all. Good picnic food will be perfect to eat hot or cold and handles well in a cooler packed with ice for hours.
CBB fans say…
Christine W– I just take salads like potato and macaroni in a cooler with ice packs…cookies of some sort. Lots of drinks in the heat!!
Pat C– I like veggies and dip, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, pickles, crackers, sunflower/pumpkin seeds and fruit. Lots of flavored water. My favorite is cucumber mint.
Family Beach Time
My wife recalls going on many trips with her family to the beach in the summer and they’d always eat picnic food. She says, “It was a cheap staycation away from home in the same city for all of us to just relax”. Her father was in charge of the flame so he would load the charcoal BBQ on the back of the truck, bag of briquets and starter fluid along with any other outdoor necessities.
Related: This is cool.. learn How to make charcoal and how it works. It’s all about the Science.
Her mother would be busy in the kitchen washing out the big blue Coleman cooler and preparing juicy steaks in marinade, tasty sandwiches, salads, snacks, beverages and other cultural side-dishes. They would make the beach trip a full day event which meant she needed a picnic lunch and a picnic dinner.
Into the truck went the fold-out lawn chairs, picnic blanket, beach ball, swimming gear, towels and other necessities for the beach. It was an exciting time for her family as they didn’t have a pool in their backyard and camping was never part of their family getaways. This was like a trip away from home even though the beach was just down the road from their house.
There were no technology distractions just family fun whether it be swimming, finding sea shells, building sand castles, burying each other, looking for beach treasures or making new friends and family memories.
Of all the picnic food ideas I will share with you today there is one that probably wouldn’t stand the test of time nor the cooler and that’s ice-cream. If my wife’s parents splurged at the beach food counter it would always be for ice-cream or fresh-cut chips with white vinegar sprayed all over them.
You can still enjoy the food vibes of the beach when you are having a picnic but unless you want to spend the day eating food from vendors and trucks packing your own picnic food is ideal and economical.
As the sun went down and the family got ready to retire for the day a large bag of marshmallows came out and long skewers to roast on the grill with what was left of the sparkling charcoal. “It was always a memorable time for us and I smile just thinking about it”, says Mrs.CBB who wants to create the same memories for our little family.
Picnic Food Recipes 101
Depending on whether your family or group party has a picnic theme you can ask guests to bring certain foods of that theme to cut costs. What lots of people do is create a picnic food pot-luck which is a great idea.
Apart from food you’ll need something to drink. Most people stock their cooler with juice, water, pop with beer and wine if permitted. If you are into other funky drinks pack them along but they are costly so stick to the cheaper drinks and you’ll keep costs lower.
Today I’m going to keep it simple and share with you some of the best picnic food to pack so you’re not paying a fortune to eat out every time someone says they are hungry.
Buckle up…here we go!
Right from the start I’m going to say no picnic is ever complete without fudgy brownies. Yes, you must pack homemade brownies for everyone. They are rich, creamy and perfect to end a meal or snack on.
Other picnic desserts that might grab your attention;
Picnic food for kids
Not all kids like to eat steak, pork chops and seafood when at a picnic so it’s important to pack picnic food for kids that appeal to them. Most often parents are safe with hotdogs, corn dog mini muffins, and burgers along with cut up vegetables and dip, fresh fruit and snacks. Make sure to have plenty of juice boxes, water and even yogurt tubes and cheese strings.
If your kids like cultural foods that you make at home by all means pack those foods as well provided they will fare well outside of the kitchen. In the UK the scotch egg is very popular because it’s easy to make and we grew up on them. Packing some scotch eggs would certainly be something we would have gotten from my mum back home when we went to the sea for the day.
Healthy picnic food
Of course you can eat healthy picnic food because not every picnic has to end with having to be rolled home. The important thing to remember is balance. Besides all the gorgeous picnic salads you can also pack an anti-pasto tray with luncheon meats, olives, cheese, peppers and other pickled goodies.
That’s a secret fruit salad but I’m not telling what the secret is all about. It sure looks delicious.
Packing your cooler with pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, peaches, oranges, apples, strawberries, cherries and any other fruit you fancy will be refreshing.
Every picnic should have cut up vegetables such as carrots, fennel, tomato, cucumber, peppers, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli and dips. Don’t forget the dips!! Skip the rich desserts and pack homemade granola bars for a picnic dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth.
If you are on a special diet regime then bring along the foods that you an enjoy. This means make them ahead of time, label them and ensure they are ready when you are.
My wife being on a low-carb diet can eat meat until she’s blue in the face but her meals are specific without certain ingredients so it would be important for her to plan her picnic fiesta so she’s not left out from all the good snacks.
Two of her favourite low-carb recipes:
- Oopsie Bread which can be made into pizza or sandwiches
- Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups for a sweet treat
Just about everyone loads up on junk food snacks when they head to a picnic but aside from chips, chocolate bars, granola bars, popcorn, pretzels and cookies there are other snacks you can make at home ahead of time to bring.
- 5 ingredient peanut butter chocolate chip cookies
- Mixed Nuts, Raisins, Yogurt Drops, Craisins
- Zucchini Chips
- Date Squares
- Key Lime Pie Dip with Graham Crackers – Shaken Together Life
Picnic snacks can also be yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese slices, crackers, peanut butter, hard-boiled eggs and even cold pizza buns.
Lots of people like to make a Mexican layered taco dip, hummus and other dips to enjoy with their tortilla chips, pita chips or other dipping crisps.
Personally, when time permits I like making homemade pita then cutting it into triangles and baking it a second time.
Picnic finger foods
Other great finger foods that I found on Pinterest
Best picnic salads and side-dishes
The great thing about bringing salads to a picnic is that you can eat them cold and everyone loves them especially if they are loaded with summer fresh vegetables. Tuna macaroni salad and other pasta salads are very popular as well a traditional potato salad and creamy coleslaw.
- Pineapple rice
- Caprese Salad Party Dish
- Potato Waffles
- Spanish Potato Tortilla
- Pasta Sausage Fritata
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Layer Salad – Melissa’s Southern Style Kitchen
These days garden greens, beet and carrot salad, green bean salad, asparagus salad, chickpeas salads, cucumber salad and tomato salad are just a few newbies to enter the picnic food scene.
It’s not that they haven’t been there but more people are choosing to eat healthier foods and making better choices.
With salads you can also pack the dressing separately and if you plan to make your own dressing pack it in a mason jar, shake and dress the salad before you want to serve it.
Picnic sandwich recipes
Popcorn chicken salad lettuce wraps are easy to make and transport on the go. We love bringing sandwich triangles to a picnic to snack on in between swimming, kicking the soccer ball around, playing volleyball, lawn bowling, hide and seek and running around the playground.
Keeping active when you are at picnic or at the beach is a great way to build up your appetite, keep fit and have fun with your friends and family.
Some of our favourite picnic sandwiches are tuna sandwiches, ham and cheese sandwiches, Genoa salami and provolone sandwich, Prosciutto and mozzarella with roasted red pepper sandwich, egg salad sandwiches and peanut butter and cheese slices for the kids.
Check out this Pressed Picnic Italian Sandwich from, “What the “Forks” for Dinner?” I could eat a couple of these right now.
Be Picnic Ready
Take some time to plan your picnic by preparing a menu, grocery shopping and making sure you have all the picnic essentials. The Pioneer Settler has some awesome tips for the perfect picnic including DIY picnic baskets. Don’t buy into those expensive baskets when you can make your own and it’s just as beautiful.
A quick trip to the dollar store will net you just about anything you need for a picnic party or picnic food on the road. You won’t miss a thing if you stick to good homemade eats.
What picnic food do you like? Any other cool tips you’d like to share?
June Grocery Game Challenge posts 2016
Join in the 2016 Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) fun and post your grocery shop in the comment section of each GGC blog post. Here are the rules to get you started and where you’ll also find a link for the updated 2016 GGC schedule. Please feel free to download, save and even print the schedule so it’s handy.
New monthly prize: $10 President’s Choice Gift Card for Canadian residents only BUT If you want to play from outside of Canada and have PayPal and you win I will pay you $10 Canadian. I use a random online generator to pick the winning ballot every month.
If you missed any grocery game posts for the month I will post the line-up each week below for you so you don’t have to go looking for past GGC posts for the month. Alternatively, just click on the “Grocery Game Challenge” tab on the blog side-bar to see past posts.
June Grocery Game Posts
- How Cooking Classes Can Save You Big Bucks
- How To Include Fresh Produce When The Prices Are High
- Why You Must Say Yes To Your Grocery Receipt
- Why Free Food Offers Are Attractive Temptations for Shoppers
Free Money Saving Tools 2016
I know I blast you every which way I can on this blog about my free money saving tools and that’s because I want you to take advantage of them being FREE. So many people pay for budgets and tools on the internet to help them save money and honestly you don’t need to. Even a paper and pen will do the trick.
Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!
This is the budget that brought us to debt freedom back in 2013 and now I’m offering to all of you for FREE. We still use this budget every month as it helps us to see our overall financial picture.
You can download the FREE Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel…Grab it while you can… It’s FREE! We use it to budget and in large part a reason we could pay our mortgage off in 5 years, check it out!
Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists that were created to get us on track to work towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.
Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE.
CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet. So many free resources at your fingertips.
Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide 2016
The Ultimate Grocery Shopping guide is ongoing with new informative money-saving posts added every month.
Even if you don’t live in Canada there are some amazing budget saving tips that will help put you on the path to more savings at the supermarket.
Share this guide with your friends and tell them about Canadian Budget Binder especially if they are struggling with their grocery budget.
The time is NOW to get started saving money on groceries so please enjoy the many money-saving posts in the The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.
2016 Grocery Shop Results
Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2016: $2820
(The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $300/year or $25/month.
Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)
- Total Grocery Budget for the Month:$235.00-$52.57=$182.43
- Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $182.43
- Total Gift Cards used to date: $50
- Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
- Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
- PC Points Plus Earned to date: 223,000
- Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP)to date $0
- Shoppers Optimum: Over 700,000 points (I will update this twice a year)
Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
- Zweet to cash out : $18.25
- Checkout51 to cash out : $17.00
Our Grocery Shop This Week
This is a no-shop week for our family. OH my, did I actually just say that? Finally!!!
- Total to spend this month : $182.43
- Stockpile budget 2016 : $25.00
- Stockpile budget used this month: $23.28
- Total coupons used this week: $0
- Total coupons used to date: $15.36
- Total in-store discounts this week:$0
- Total in-store discounts to date: $335.30
- Total spent this week: $0
- Total spent so far this month: $213.96
- Total over/Under spend this shop: n/a
- Total over/Under spend for the month: over $31.53
- Total left to spend for the month: -$31.53
- Total Spent To Date 2016: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $252.95+ Feb $249.46+March $211.11+April $248.11+May $279.07+June $231.96
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
Although we are over by $31 we ended our month as a no-shop week which is pretty awesome. We are heading out for a few days so we’ll be eating at the relatives and making picnic food to take with us to the Canada Day Festivities so this was a timely post to write for us. Bring on July!!!
Coupons and Coupon Apps 2016
Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons! These are your latest Checkout 51 offers which you can use to help save money. We’re finding less and less coupons in the stores these days. What are your thoughts? Are coupon apps taking over the paper coupons?
Sign up for the Nielsen Canada Home Scan Program and you can earn rewards points fast to redeem for awesome products or gift cards. I did this in the UK and loved it!!
Plus check out these other hidden areas online to get more coupons!!
- Healthy Essentials Printable Coupons (Johnson and Johnson)
- Clorox Coupons Sign up to print coupons in the Clorox family which include Greenworks, Glad etc.
- Kraft Canada Sign up and receive recipes and coupons by email
- MySavings.com Printable Smart Source Coupons
- Walmart Canada Printable Coupons
- Proctor and Gamble PandG Sign up for printable coupons
- Hidden Coupon Portals You Should know about – I found this over at Save a Loonie and you’ll want to sign up for notifications and check out the site so you get notified every time a hidden coupon is available from Save.ca, Brandsaver, Smart Source etc.
Grocery Game Challenge 2016 FAQ’s
- Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible. The rules have been updated for the 2016 challenge year.
- Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
- What is the monthly prize and who can claim it?- The monthly prize is a $10 PC Loblaws Gift Card and for our out of country friends it’s $10 CDN via Paypal if they win. As more people join I will add more money to the gift card or I will split it up and offer 2 prizes every month.
- When does the Grocery Game close each month?: The Grocery Game Challenge closes at midnight of the last Sunday of the last post for the month but you will still get a ballot when you post your shops even if they are late but I encourage you to stay on schedule. If you choose to post monthly or bi-weekly you will only get 1 ballot for that shop. It’s a proven fact the minute we stop doing something that is scheduled that we end up forgetting to do it altogether. Don’t let that be you! You can post your shops all month-long.
- Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?: No, our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014-2015 we no longer include such items in our grocery budget so we can see actual food numbers at the end of the year in order to plan accordingly our budget.
- Do you stockpile food? We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any longer as we found we weren’t eating it fast enough. Stockpiling is still great and just one way to help cut your budget to save money if you do find items that you can buy in bulk at a sale price.
- Canadian Coupons:Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest Checkout 51 offers that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge. There are many great Canadian Couponing websites online that share weekly coupon match-ups so you can plan your grocery list.
- Best Coupon Apps: Coupons are slowly fading with mobile coupon apps being the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site Save.ca that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile Save.ca app joining forces with the many other coupon apps available. If you find an app that I don’t talk about please let me know as they are always being added and I’d like to review them.
- What is the Best Flyer App- We use Flipp on our Iphone so if you wan to have all your flyers in one spot download Flipp from the Apple Store or get it on Google Play.
- What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon.
- What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
- How Do I Know what stores accept coupons?: If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
- How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.
Nobody is perfect, heck we struggle with this part of our budget like many people do. This is why the grocery game challenge was created back in 2012 and is one of the most popular hang out spots for people who want to save money on groceries in Canada.
If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 get ready to look at your grocery budget by learning…
- Where you are spending money
- How much money you are spending
- How much money you are saving every month
If you want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide! It’s FREE!
If you know a topic that should be discussed send me an email. If I use your topic I will put your name in a draw for a prize at the end of the year.
You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!
Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2016!
Please Note: Some of the links in the body of the blog post are affiliate links which means I may get paid if you buy something from Amazon. The items I’ve chosen are products we use at home or similar to.
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