7 Recipes That Will Totally Change How You Picnic

Food Network Kitchen’s Steak and Horseradish Pressed Sandwich for Summer Slow Cooker/Zucchini Fries/Picnic Brick-Pressed Sandwiches, as seen on Food Network.

FNK_SteakAndHorseradishPressedSandwich_H

Food Network Kitchen’s Steak and Horseradish Pressed Sandwich for Summer Slow Cooker/Zucchini Fries/Picnic Brick-Pressed Sandwiches, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Renee Comet ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Renee Comet, 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Food Network Kitchen’s Steak and Horseradish Pressed Sandwich for Summer Slow Cooker/Zucchini Fries/Picnic Brick-Pressed Sandwiches, as seen on Food Network.

Picnic food presents a unique challenge: You need a menu that is easily portable, can survive a bit of a journey and be flexible under less-than-ideal conditions (i.e., far from your air-conditioned kitchen). These recipes check all of those boxes but are far more surprising than turkey sandwiches and chips — we suggest you set your #picnicgoals way, way higher.

Your goal: Satisfy like a steakhouse.

This sandwich gets wrapped in parchment and pressed to melded-flavor perfection — making it perfect for an on-the-go meal. Plus, it’s super-hearty; all of your favorite steakhouse flavors fit within the loaf of rye bread.

Your goal: Bring a watermelon.

Lugging a giant melon (plus a knife big enough to slice it) to the park is no, um, picnic. But you can make the ultimate summer fruit more manageable by making ahead of time Bobby Flay’s salad, which gets extra crunch from jicama.

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

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

Your goal: Pack up the grill (without, you know, actually packing up the grill).

Layered salads are inherently packable, and this one maintains its smoky charred flavor even after it’s chilled. So you can do all the prep at home and skip the hassle of toting a mini grill to the park.

Photo by: Alice Gao ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Alice Gao, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Your goal: Layer on tons of flavor.

Make this: Picnic in a Jar

Melissa d’Arabian proves that even a well-rounded meal can fit in a jar. Rice, chickpeas, eggplant and a bunch of punchy spices fill handy single-serving containers, and you won’t need to crowd your basket with plates or a serving spoon.

Your goal: Keep things crunchy.

Photo by: Alice Gao ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Alice Gao, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

‘Tis the season for all the freshness nature can offer, but only sturdy veggies can stand up to being dressed well in advance of the meal. The frozen corn in Rachael Ray’s recipe even helps chill this salad as it defrosts.

Your goal: Pack a pie.

Make this: Cherry Hand Pies

Lugging an entire Thanksgiving-sized pie to your picnic spot is likely not practical. But this hand-held version is just as delicious, requires zero utensils to eat and is just plain fun.

Food Network Kitchen's Fried Chicken Sandwiches, as seen on Food Network.

Food Network Kitchen's Fried Chicken Sandwiches, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Food Network Kitchen's Fried Chicken Sandwiches, as seen on Food Network.

Your goal: Go bolder than cold cuts.

These insanely good (trust us) chicken sandwiches are far superior to any takeout option, even when wrapped in foil to eat outside.

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