Picnic Picks for Dad's Special Day

Put a spin on timeless, picnic-ready recipes that Dad is sure to love.
By: Emily Lee
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WE_Cooking_Opener_056.tif

Photo by: David Malosh

David Malosh

Don't be late to the game: Father's Day is right around the corner, so it's time to start planning a thoughtful meal to impress your favorite guy. If he'd rather be outside and your home lacks outdoor space, then pack up the spread and take it to the park for a picnic. You're guaranteed to win him over with a hearty main, a classic drink and an indulgent dessert. Find out how to put a picnic-friendly spin on some timeless recipes that Dad is sure to love.

Barbecue Pulled Pork (pictured above)

Spending Father's Day in a hot kitchen is no picnic, so choose a main dish that's quick and easy. This aromatic batch of pulled pork requires only 20 minutes of prep work, and your Dutch oven (or slow cooker) will take care of the rest. Treat the pork to a variety of sweet and spicy seasonings, like brown sugar and chili powder, then let it cook up in a flavorful bath of chicken broth and tangy apple cider vinegar. When building the sandwiches, throw in a crunchy element by topping each with Dad's favorite slaw.

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KS_FN_TmtoGrldChsSld_108.TIF

Save delicate, lettuce-based recipes for at-home celebrations and opt for a heartier salad when planning your Father's Day menu. This colorful mix of heirloom cherry tomatoes, crunchy croutons and baked Gruyère crisps delivers on all fronts of fresh, crunchy and cheesy. Make the croutons and cheese crisps a day ahead, then pack them up separately once they're cool. If Dad prefers a firmer crunch from his salad, wait until the last minute to combine the croutons and cheese crisps with the dressed tomatoes.

Photo by: Nicole Mlakar / NicoleMlakar.com ©Nicole Mlakar / nicolemlakar.com

Nicole Mlakar / NicoleMlakar.com, Nicole Mlakar / nicolemlakar.com

Don't forget to pack a fun and celebratory drink that the whole family can enjoy. Lemonade is a thirst-quenching classic, but pureed fresh blueberries add a sweet, super-seasonal twist.

This white bean dip has a thick, hummus-like texture that will leave everyone feeling sated after a day of outdoor activities. Unlike guacamole and other avocado-based dips, this white bean recipe won't turn brown after a few hours outdoors.

FNK HEALTHY NOBAKE PEANUT BUTTER CHEESECAKE BARS, Food Network Kitchen, Semisweet Chocolate, Unsalted Butter, Graham Crackers, Unflavored Powdered Gelatin, LowFat Cream Cheese, Buttermilk, Peanut Butter, Light Brown Sugar, Vanilla Extract, HoneyRoasted Peanuts

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Cap off a celebratory Father's Day with these sweet-and-salty bars, which are so much easier to slice and pack for a picnic than a regular cheesecake. No one will believe this is a reduced-fat recipe either, thanks to the buttery chocolate crust and the layer of smooth, peanut butter cheesecake. Rest assured that low-fat cream cheese stands in perfectly well for the full-fat stuff. Try supplementing the cream cheese with some low-fat buttermilk, which adds just the right tang.

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