Outdoor Dining Without a Grill

SandwichIt’s human nature: When the weather is nice, we want to do everything outside, including cooking and eating. But we’re not all grill connoisseurs and sometimes, we’re simply out of charcoal. So here are some alternatives that make it possible to enjoy your meals in the outdoors—no grill required.

  • Use leftovers to make gourmet sandwiches for tomorrow’s picnic outing. Mix roasted chicken with barbecue sauce and have barbecue chicken sandwiches. Or slather bread with steak sauce, horseradish and juicy slices of last night’s steak.
  • Propane-powered slow cookers are perfect for camping, a tailgate, or anywhere without a power outlet. Whip up pulled pork, chili, or black bean soup, just about anything can be made in a slow cooker.
  • Go with a grain-based salad instead of lettuce, it will hold up in the heat and on the go, plus they are filling. Start with a healthy, whole grain like bulgur or quinoa and then load it with your favorite salad ingredients like tomatoes, olives, herbs and zucchini.
  • Cold soups are refreshing and utilize summer produce. Try a tomato-based gazpacho, chilled cucumber, or a southwestern corn and avocado soup. Divvy soup into Mason jars and pack them into your picnic basket for easy, no fuss serving.
  • Skewers can make any food outdoor friendly. Make sandwich kebabs by skewering chunks of bread, cheese, and lunch meat or fruit salad on a stick with berries, pineapple, and other summer fruits.

Final tip: The traditional red-and-white checked picnic basket got an upgrade. Go with an insulated backpack that has different sections for hot and cold food. That way the fried chicken stays warm and the lemonade stays cool.