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How To Easily Pack For a Picnic; Plus Homemade Pimento Cheese & Mediterranean Mason Jar Salads

My go-to's for an afternoon in the park
Filed Under > Appetizers & Sides

How to pack for a picnic, waitingonmartha.comPicnic outfit inspiration on waitingonmartha.comMason Jar Salads on a Picnic with @waitingonmarthaHow to plan a picnic in the park, waitingonmartha.comEasy pimento cheese recipe for a picnic, waitingonmartha.com How to make mason jar salads for a picnic, waitingonmartha.com Mason Jar Salads for a Picnic in the Park, Waiting on Martha How to pack for a picnic in the park, Waiting on Martha

Friday I shared a picnic-ready outfit, along with peek at my ideal day off: an afternoon visit to the farmers market, followed by a picnic in the park.  It’s one of my favorite things to do when I have a little free time with the Mr., and always a sign that spring is finally upon us. As promised, I’m sharing a few of my go-to picnic essentials, along with two super simple recipes that I like to pack in my picnic basket, neither that sacrifice flavor or a gourmet effect: my Homemade Pimento Cheese & Mediterranean-inspired Mason Jar Salads.

Whenever I’m packing for a picnic, I always make sure I have the following: a big blanket, a great picnic basket, portable tunes and easy food.  Nobody has time to deal with messy, high-maintenance bites when you’re camped out on your favorite blanket in the grass!  So today I’m dishing on the recipes for said easy food. 

First off, with your pimento cheese, and I’m just going to come out and say it: don’t ever use the pre-shredded cheese for your homemade pimento cheese. It’s just not ever going to taste as good as the stuff you buy by the block and shred yourself.  You’ll get a much creamier and more satisfying spread when you do it the right way. And I like my pimento cheese a bit chunkier, so I stay away from processing/blending it so that I can see the cheese and peppers with each bite.  Of course, if you like yours creamier (which is just as heavenly), take it a step further and throw the mixture into a food processor until you reach your desired consistency. I also love to use Vegenaise (vegan mayo) in place of traditional mayo, though I know all southerners will tell you that Duke’s is the only way to go. 

For the Mason Jar Salads, I went with a Mediterranean vibe; a tangy balsamic vinaigrette (I used store-bought, but you definitely can make your own) with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, cooked orzo, greens & more. The trick with any good Mason Jar Salad is to layer the ingredients in your jars (I love this set with clamp lids) so that the salad doesn’t’ get soggy or begin to wilt when in transit.  You do that by always, always putting the salad dressing at the bottom of the jar. Then, you’ll put whatever ingredients won’t get soggy from being in contact with the dressing (think tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, etc.)…bottom line is you don’t want the greens to be next to the dressing. 

You can have fun with Mason Jar Salads; the possibilities are truly endless!  Find my current go-to combination, along with my recipe for the best homemade pimento cheese below.  I’d love to know how you’re shaping up your picnic plans in the comments below!  Truly, MKR

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Homemade Pimento Cheese & Mediterranean Mason Jar Salad

Ingredients

  • Pimento Cheese
  • 1 block of yellow sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 block of white mont jack, shredded
  • 3 large spoonfuls of mayonnaise, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 chopped jalapeno (optional)
  • dash of cayenne (optional) 
  • Mediterranean Mason Jar Salad
  • balsamic vinaigrette, to taste
  • cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • red onions, sliced thinly
  • cucumbers, sliced thinly
  • edamame, cooked and shelled
  • almonds, raw and unsalted
  • cranberries
  • cooked orzo
  • lettuce (I used baby kale, mixed greens mix)
  • micro green mix

Instructions

  1. Pimento Cheese
  2. Add all ingredients in mixing bowl. When adding the jar of pimentos, eyeball this with how creamy/chunky you want it.
  3. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes, and serve!
  4. Mediterranean Mason Jar Salad
  5. Stack your ingredients inside the Mason jar in the following order:
  6. balsamic vinaigrette
  7. cherry tomatoes
  8. red onions
  9. cucumbers
  10. edamame
  11. almonds
  12. cranberries
  13. cooked orzo
  14. lettuce
  15. micro green mix
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  • Diana / 03.13.2017

    Beautiful post, where can I get that quilt?!! Love it.

  • Diana / 03.13.2017

    Where oh where can I get the quilt?

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  • Love the flatware! Where is it from?

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    Wondering on the quilt as well.. thanks in advance for sharing deets!

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