Meal Prep Monday: Portable Picnic Pleasures

Meal Prep Monday: Portable Picnic Pleasures

Get ready to kick your picnic game up a notch with this week's lineup of dinner recipes. From mouthwatering mini sandwiches to skewers bursting with flavors, we've got you covered. To complete your picnic spread, consider pairing these delightful meals with a variety of sides like a refreshing mixed green salad, a medley of fresh-cut vegetables with hummus dip, or even some crispy kettle chips for that satisfying crunch. So, let's grab our picnic blanket, unleash the flavor frenzy, and make dinner the highlight of your week!

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Mini Sandwiches

Mini Hawaiin Roll Turkey Club Sandwiches


  • 12 mini Hawaiin rolls
  • Sliced turkey
  • Bacon slices, cooked
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Tomato slices
  • Mayonnaise


  1. Slice the mini Hawaiin rolls horizontally.
  2. Spread mayonnaise on the bottom halves of the rolls.
  3. Layer sliced turkey, bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, and tomato slices on each roll.
  4. Place the top halves of the rolls over the fillings.
  5. Secure each sandwich with a toothpick if desired.
  6. Serve and enjoy these delightful Mini Hawaiin Roll Turkey Club Sandwiches.

Sliced Bread Ham and Swiss Sandwiches


  • 6 slices of your favorite sliced bread (white, whole wheat, or multigrain)
  • Sliced ham
  • Swiss cheese
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Mustard


  1. Spread mustard on one side of each bread slice.
  2. Layer sliced ham, Swiss cheese, and lettuce on half of the bread slices.
  3. Top with the remaining bread slices.
  4. Cut each sandwich into smaller portions if desired.
  5. Serve and relish these delicious Sliced Bread Ham and Swiss Sandwiches.

Mini Croissant Chicken Salad Sandwiches


  • 6 mini croissants
  • Cooked chicken breast, shredded or diced
  • Greek yogurt (or mayonnaise)
  • Celery, finely chopped
  • Red grapes, halved
  • Green onions, thinly sliced
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lettuce leaves (optional)


  1. Slice the mini croissants in half horizontally.
  2. In a bowl, combine the cooked chicken, Greek yogurt (or mayonnaise), celery, red grapes, green onions, parsley, and a squeeze of lemon juice.
  3. Mix well until all the ingredients are evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Place a lettuce leaf on the bottom half of each croissant, if desired.
  5. Spoon the chicken salad mixture onto the lettuce leaf or directly onto the croissant.
  6. Top with the other half of the croissant.
  7. Optionally, secure each sandwich with a toothpick to hold it together.
  8. Serve these improved Mini Croissant Chicken Salad Sandwiches as a flavorful and satisfying picnic option.

Cool Cucumber Tea Sandwiches


  • 12 slices of bread (white or whole wheat)
  • Cream cheese
  • English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • Fresh dill, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Trim the crusts off the bread slices for a neater presentation, if desired.
  2. Spread a layer of cream cheese on one side of each bread slice.
  3. Place a few cucumber slices on half of the bread slices, overlapping them slightly.
  4. Sprinkle fresh dill, salt, and pepper over the cucumber slices.
  5. Top with the remaining bread slices, cream cheese side down, to form sandwiches.
  6. Cut the sandwiches into smaller, bite-sized squares or triangles.
  7. Serve these refreshing Cool Cucumber Tea Sandwiches as a light and cooling option for your picnic.

Skewers Two Ways

Antipasto Skewers


  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Bocconcini (small mozzarella balls)
  • Assorted olives (Kalamata, green, or stuffed)
  • Slices of salami or prosciutto
  • Fresh basil leaves


  1. In a small saucepan, combine the balsamic vinegar and honey. Heat over medium-low heat until the mixture comes to a simmer.
  2. Reduce the heat to low and continue simmering for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and reduces by half. Stir occasionally.
  3. Remove the balsamic glaze from heat and let it cool completely. It will thicken further as it cools.
  4. Prepare your skewers by threading a cherry tomato, a bocconcini ball, folded salami slice, olive, and a basil leaf onto each skewer. Repeat this sequence once more.
  5. Repeat the threading process for the remaining skewers until all the ingredients are used.
  6. Arrange the antipasto skewers in a portable food container.
  7. Drizzle the balsamic glaze generously over the skewers.

Fruit Skewers with Honey-Lime Dip


  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
  • Strawberries, hulled and halved
  • Pineapple chunks
  • Red and green grapes
  • Watermelon cubes
  • Cantaloupe cubes
  • Honeydew Melon cubes


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together Greek yogurt, honey, lime juice, and lime zest until well combined to make the honey-lime dip.
  2. Prepare your skewers by threading the fruit onto them, alternating the different fruits in an appealing pattern.
  3. Arrange the fruit skewers in a portable food container.
  4. Serve the fruit skewers alongside the honey-lime dip, or drizzle the dip over the skewers before serving.

Pizza Pinwheels


  • 1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
  • 1/3 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced pepperoni
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Fresh basil leaves, for garnish (optional)
  • Marinara sauce, for dipping (optional)


  1. Preheat your oven to the temperature recommended on the puff pastry package (usually around 400°F or 200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the thawed puff pastry sheet into a rectangle, approximately 10x12 inches.
  3. Spread the tomato sauce evenly over the entire surface of the puff pastry, leaving a small border around the edges.
  4. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese evenly over the tomato sauce.
  5. Layer the pepperoni slices on top of the cheese.
  6. Sprinkle the dried oregano, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes (if desired) over the toppings for added flavor.
  7. Starting from one long side, tightly roll the puff pastry sheet into a log, similar to a jelly roll.
  8. Using a sharp knife, cut the log into 1/2-inch thick slices to create pinwheels.
  9. Place the pinwheels cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them slightly apart.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes, or until the pinwheels are puffed and golden brown.
  11. Remove from the oven and let them cool slightly.
  12. Optional: Garnish with fresh basil leaves for added freshness and aroma.


A Snacklebox is like a charcuterie board's cool and organized cousin in a tacklebox disguise! It's a portable container with separate compartments that hold a fun assortment of cured meats, cheeses, crackers, fruits, nuts, and dips. Perfect for picnics, it keeps everything fresh, lets you mix and match to create your own flavor adventures, and guarantees a snacking experience that's as exciting as it is delicious!


  • Assorted sliced cured meats (such as salami, prosciutto, or pepperoni)
  • Assorted cheeses (such as cheddar, Gouda, or Brie), cubed or sliced
  • Assorted crackers or breadsticks
  • Grapes or other bite-sized fruits
  • Dried fruit (such as apricots or cranberries)
  • Assorted nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, or cashews)
  • Olives or pickles
  • Assorted dips or spreads (such as hummus or tapenade)
  • Fresh herbs (such as rosemary or thyme) for garnish (optional)


  • Tacklebox or container with individual compartments


  1. Start by selecting a tacklebox or container with multiple compartments that will keep the snacks separated. Ensure that the compartments are clean and dry before proceeding.

  2. Begin filling the compartments with the different components of your Snacklebox. Here's a suggested arrangement, but feel free to adjust and customize it based on your preferences:

    • Place a variety of sliced cured meats, such as salami or prosciutto, in one or more compartments.
    • Fill another compartment with an assortment of cubed or sliced cheeses, offering different flavors and textures.
    • Add compartments for crackers or breadsticks, allowing a variety of options for dipping and spreading.
    • Include a compartment with bite-sized fruits like grapes or berries for a refreshing touch.
    • Add dried fruits, such as apricots or cranberries, to another compartment.
    • Fill another compartment with an assortment of nuts, providing different options for crunch and flavor.
    • Place olives or pickles in a separate compartment for a briny addition.
    • Include additional compartments for dips or spreads like hummus or tapenade.
  3. As you fill each compartment, arrange the snacks attractively and make sure they are separated to prevent cross-contamination of flavors.

  4. Optional: Garnish the Snacklebox with fresh herbs, such as rosemary or thyme sprigs, for added visual appeal and aroma.

  5. Close the tacklebox securely to keep the snacks fresh and transportable.

  6. When ready to serve, open the Snacklebox and invite everyone to enjoy the variety of treats. Guests can mix and match the different components or create their own flavor combinations.

Onigiri, Japanese Rice Balls

Onigiri, or Japanese rice balls, are here to rock your picnic! These compact and tasty rice balls are like edible pockets of joy that can be customized with your favorite fillings. From juicy grilled chicken to tangy pickled plums, onigiri brings versatility, fun, and a touch of Japanese flavor to your dinnertime adventure!


  • 2 cups Japanese short-grain rice
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • Filling options (choose one or more):
    • Salted salmon flakes
    • Umeboshi (pickled plum)
    • Grilled chicken or tuna
    • Teriyaki beef or tofu
    • Sauteed vegetables
  • Optional garnishes and seasonings:
    • Nori (seaweed) sheets, cut into thin strips
    • Furikake (Japanese rice seasoning)
    • Sesame seeds
    • Soy sauce or tamari, for dipping


  1. Rinse the rice in a fine-mesh strainer until the water runs clear. Drain well.
  2. In a rice cooker or pot, combine the rinsed rice and water. Cook according to the manufacturer's instructions or bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low, covering the pot tightly with a lid. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the rice is tender and all the water is absorbed.
  3. Once the rice is cooked, let it rest for 10 minutes before fluffing it gently with a rice paddle or fork.
  4. Allow the rice to cool slightly until it is comfortable to handle.
  5. Wet your hands with water to prevent sticking, then take a small handful of rice (about 1/3 cup) and shape it into a triangle, ball, or cylindrical shape.
  6. If desired, create a small indentation in the center of the rice ball and fill it with your chosen filling, such as salted salmon flakes, umeboshi, grilled chicken or tuna, teriyaki beef or tofu, or sauteed vegetables.
  7. Cover the filling with a little more rice and shape it into a firm ball or triangle, ensuring that the filling is fully enclosed within the rice.
  8. Repeat the process with the remaining rice and fillings until you have made the desired number of onigiri.
  9. If desired, sprinkle furikake, sesame seeds, or thin strips of nori on the outside of the onigiri for added flavor and visual appeal.
  10. Serve the onigiri at room temperature or slightly chilled. They can be enjoyed as is or wrapped individually in plastic wrap for easy transportation.
  11. Optionally, serve with soy sauce or tamari on the side for dipping.

Embrace the tradition of hand-molded onigiri by shaping them into classic circles or triangles, or venture into the world of onigiri molds available online, allowing you to create a playful assortment of shapes and adorable characters that will bring a smile to your face with every bite. Get ready to explore the artistry of onigiri-making and enjoy the endless possibilities!

Hand Pies


  • Prepared pie crust dough (store-bought or homemade)
  • Filling of your choice
  • Egg wash (1 egg beaten with a splash of water, for brushing)


  1. Preheat your oven to the temperature indicated on the pie crust package or your homemade pie crust recipe.
  2. Roll out the pie crust dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about 1/8 inch.
  3. Using a round cookie cutter or a glass, cut out circles of dough, approximately 4-5 inches in diameter.
  4. Place a spoonful of your desired filling in the center of each dough circle.
  5. Fold the dough over the filling to create a half-moon shape.
  6. Use a fork to crimp the edges of the dough together, sealing the filling inside.
  7. Repeat the process with the remaining dough circles and filling.
  8. Transfer the hand pies to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  9. Brush the tops of the hand pies with the egg wash, which will give them a golden and shiny appearance when baked.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until the hand pies are golden brown and crispy.
  11. Remove from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack before serving.
  12. Enjoy these delicious hand pies as a sweet or savory treat, perfect for snacks, desserts, or even a portable meal!

Recipe Variations:

  1. Apple Cinnamon Hand Pies:

    • Filling: Mix diced apples with cinnamon, sugar, and a squeeze of lemon juice. For a softer filling, use canned apples or apple pie filling.
    • Optional: Add a drizzle of caramel sauce on top of the filling.
  2. Chicken and Vegetable Hand Pies:

    • Filling: Cooked and shredded chicken mixed with sautéed vegetables (carrots, peas, corn, onions, etc.) mixed with a white gravy or a can of condensed cream of chicken soup.
  3. Spinach and Feta Hand Pies:

    • Filling: Sauté spinach with garlic, then combine with crumbled feta cheese, chopped dill, and a squeeze of lemon juice.
    • Optional: Add pine nuts or sunflower seeds for a nice crunch!
  4. Cherry Almond Hand Pies:

    • Filling: Combine pitted cherries with sugar, almond extract, and a pinch of cornstarch to thicken the filling.
    • Optional: Sprinkle slivered almonds on top of the filling before sealing the hand pies.
  5. BBQ Pulled Pork Hand Pies:

    • Filling: Shredded slow-cooked pork mixed with barbecue sauce, caramelized onions, and a touch of smoky spices.

Feel free to experiment with different fillings, both sweet and savory, to create your own unique hand pie creations. Enjoy the versatility and deliciousness of these delightful handheld treats!

Mediterranean Pasta Salad


  • 8 ounces orzo pasta
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup cucumber, diced
  • 1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Protein Options (Choose One):
    • Grilled chicken, sliced
    • Cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
    • Canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed


  1. Cook the orzo pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and rinse the cooked orzo under cold water to cool it down.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cooked orzo pasta, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, Kalamata olives, crumbled feta cheese, red onion, roasted red peppers, chopped parsley, chopped mint leaves, and toasted pine nuts.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, minced garlic, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper until well blended.
  4. Pour the dressing over the pasta salad and toss gently to coat all the ingredients evenly.
  5. If using protein, add your choice of grilled chicken, cooked shrimp, or canned chickpeas to the salad and toss to incorporate.
  6. Taste the salad and adjust the seasoning if needed.
  7. Let the pasta salad sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  8. Just before serving, give the salad a final toss and check the seasoning.
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