Recipe Box: Picnic Recipes

Plan the perfect picnic with this menu from Claire of the Kitchy Kitchen

Hi everyone! It’s Claire here with another installment of my food-inspired-by-film series…

Inspired by a combination of one of my favorite plays/movies with my new favorite vintage cookbook, I’ve put together the perfect ‘60s inspired Barefoot in the Park picnic basket. If you haven’t seen the film Barefoot in the Park before, it stars two of the prettiest people on planet earth at peak prettiness—Jane Fonda and Robert Redford—as an opposites-attract newlywed couple navigating life in New York City. She’s Corie, a swinging downtown hipster, and he’s Paul, a straight-laced uptown businessman. Their opposing world views drive them apart in their tiny apartment over the course of four days, with Corie longing for Paul to loosen up, asking him why he won’t walk barefoot in the park with her on a winter’s day. Inspired by Corie’s happy-go-lucky attitude, I turned to a vintage cookbook I recently fell in love with, The Picnic Book by Nika Hazelton, 1969. Filled with psychedelic illustrations against a jet set backdrop, it’s hard not to be swept away by Hazelton’s world of daytime luncheons across the world’s great cities. So this menu is a very 1960s picnic for a very 1960s crowd—and hopefully it will inspire you to go barefoot in the park this summer. Enjoy!

See this easy picnic menu for any summer picnic

Two Ingredient Roast Chicken

(Well, four if you include the chicken and salt, but you get the idea!)

A perfectly roast chicken is one of life’s simplest pleasures. If I’m in my kitchen alone, I’ll devour a roast chicken with my bare hands, and plenty of extra salt and whole grain mustard. I would go for a glass of white wine, but with my hands, face, and kitchen table glistening, it’s probably for the best if I drink it from the bottle. This chicken is especially good served cold the next day, with butter and mustard on sourdough bread. Enjoy!


  • 5-3 pounds chicken, rinsed and patted dry
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons French Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil


1. Pre Heat oven to 400F.

2. Rub chicken with salt and truss with kitchen string.

3. Why truss? It keeps the chicken compact, which means more even cooking, and it makes the chicken look really cute, so, there’s that. If you haven’t trussed before, lay the chicken breast side up on a piece of kitchen twine, about 2 feet long. The twine should run horizontally across the chicken’s neck, just above the wings.

4. Next, tuck the wings towards the chicken’s breasts with your hands, and pull the string over the wings, binding them to the chicken.

5. Cross the twine underneath the front tip of the breastbone, pulling to tighten. Crisscross the base of the legs and use the remainder of string to secure the chicken legs.

6. Rub with mustard all over the chicken, and then rub in the olive oil. Roast at 400F for 10 minutes, and then lower the oven to 350F. Roast the chicken for another 45 to 60 minutes.

7. Once a thermometer pushed into the upper thigh of the chicken reads 165F, the chicken is done. Take it out of the oven, cover with aluminum foil, and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving. This is to let the juices settle rather than pouring out when you slice.

This chicken is delicious cold the next day, served with extra mustard.

Picnic menu: marinated chickpeas

Marinated Chickpeas

As you know, I’m not much of a leafy greens salad girl, so when it comes to eating my vegetables, I prefer them more in the “deli salad” milieu. This salad concept is so wonderfully easy, you could do this with basically any vegetable. Replace the chickpeas with any other dried bean or legume; or swap them out entirely for blanched haricot vert or snap peas—the simple lemon dressing is delicious on anything, and the perfect thing to whip up once and keep in your fridge for a few weeks. Enjoy!


For the chickpeas:

  • 2 cups dried chickpeas
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 chile de arbol
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 6 cups water

For the lemon dressing:

  • 3/4 cups olive oil
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large garlic clove, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon dried coriander or basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 dash Tabasco
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar


1. To prepare the chickpeas, combine all of the ingredients over high heat and bring up to a boil. Turn heat down to a simmer and cover.

2. Cook for about 2 hours until the chickpeas are tender. Strain and keep the liquid for another purpose.

3. To finish, mix all of the dressing ingredients together, and combine with chickpeas. Let marinate for a few hours, then serve.

Picnic menu from Claire of The Kitchy Kitchen

Beet-Pickled Deviled Eggs

It’s no secret that I love deviled eggs. To me, they’re the perfect hors d’oeuvres—small, savory, not too filling, and if done properly, bright and flavorful enough to awaken your taste buds without overloading them. I also find them fabulously retro, but in a much more attractive way than Jell-O salad or ambrosia. Adding a hot pink tint and a subtle smack of brine only makes these delicious snacks more eye popping. You can play around with the brining ingredients too, to give the eggs a different flavor profile. Enjoy!


Makes 12

  • 6 large eggs
1 16-ounce can or jar pickled beets
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 chile de arbol

For the filling:

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chopped chives, for garnish


1. Hard boil your eggs and remove the shells. The best way to do this is to use older eggs (the shell comes off easier) and place them in a pot of cold water. Bring the water up to a boil and turn off the heat. Let the eggs sit for 8 minutes, then immediately transfer to an ice bath. Drain, peel, and set the eggs aside for later use. This way you get perfectly yellow yolks with no weird gray line.

2. To prepare the brine, pour a can of pickled beets into a large mason jar or bowl. Add apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, peppercorns, salt, cinnamon stick and chile de arbol. Stir mixture. Carefully (that beet juice will stain!) lower the peeled eggs into the brine.

3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, or up to 3 days. The longer you leave them in the brine, the more sour and pink they’ll end up. I personally think they’re best brined overnight.

4. When brining time is finished, cut each egg in half and scoop out yolks. Place the yolks in a medium-sized bowl, along with remaining filling ingredients.

5. Mix together until smooth. Add a little bit of water to the mixture if it’s too stiff. Salt and pepper to taste.

6. Using a pastry bag or a plastic bag with the corner cut off, pipe the yolk mixture back into the pink eggs.

7. Sprinkle with chopped chives to garnish.

Picnic menu: Mom's lemon bars

Mom’s Lemon Bars

Every so often, a recipe becomes so entrenched in our family’s history, it’s a tradition all by itself. My mum’s lemon squares are just that kind of recipe. These were her first choice for every school event, church function, and sweet to have under the glass dome in the kitchen. Their simplicity makes them one of my favorites.


For the crust:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 8 ounces butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

For the filling:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or the scrapings of a vanilla bean
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • powdered sugar for dusting
  • rosemary for garnish


For the crust:

1. Pre Heat oven to 350F.

2. For the crust, work together the flour, butter, and powdered sugar until it forms a dough.

3. Spread it on the bottom of a greased 9×13″ baking dish (I used a glass one) and pat down so it’s evenly distributed.

4. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden brown, and set aside.

For the filling:

1. Whisk together the eggs and sugar until fully combined and a pale yellow hue.

2. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla and whisk to combine.

3. Add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt) and whisk until just combined.

4. Pour over the still hot crust and bake at 350F for 20 minutes. If you baked the crust ahead of time, and it has cooled, bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

5. Cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Garnish with little sprigs of rosemary if you like. Enjoy!

Strawberry Rose Pink Lemonade: Claire's picnic menu on

Strawberry Rose Pink Lemonade

Pink lemonade is one of the happiest things I can imagine filling a glass with. I immediately think of summer picnics or fancy tea parties as a little girl. In this version, I made my pink lemonade just a little more special, with fresh strawberries and a touch of rosewater. This combination is so refreshing and fun, you can’t help but smile after a sip.


Makes 5 cups

  • 1 cup Meyer lemon juice (about 3 Meyer lemons), fresh squeezed
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1/3 cup strawberry rose syrup (recipe below)


1. Juice the Meyer lemons (or regular lemons if you can’t find Meyer lemons).

2. Put all of the used halves into a bowl and cover with 2 cups of hot water. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. The hot water pulls all of the natural oils out of the Meyer lemon skins and adds so much flavor.

3. Strain into a pitcher and add the lemon juice, cold water, and strawberry rose syrup. Stir and chill in the fridge until ready to serve.


For the rose syrup:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup smashed strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon rosewater


1. In a small pot, stir together the water and sugar.

2. Heat the mixture on medium for about 10 minutes, until the sugar is dissolves and the liquid is clear.

3. Remove from heat, stir in the strawberries, lemon juice, and rosewater, and set aside until room temp (about an hour).

4. Press the syrup through a sieve, and keep in the fridge until ready to use.

Check out this picnic menu from Claire of The Kitchy Kitchen on

You now have a complete picnic menu for your next summer afternoon!

Will you be giving any of these recipes a try?

Let me know if you do in the comments!

X Claire

The Kitchy Kitchen

Photos: The Kitchy Kichen