Concerts in the park are a great source of cheap family entertainment in the summer. Choices range from the local high school band concerts to full scale professional artists performing on local outdoor venues. In our area a local winery hosts great outdoor concerts that are enjoyable for all ages. Check your community newspaper and event pages for local events, times and schedules. Plan some easy dinner recipes and pack up a delicious family feast. It’s a great way to reconnect with neighbors and friends you don’t see that often and the music and entertainment are great too. They are great concerts to take the kids to, because they can play on the grass if they get bored. Try to station yourself near the playground equipment so you can keep an eye on the kids and an ear on the concert at the same time.
In this picnic, I’ve planned a pan bagnat, a French tuna sandwich that is delicious and perfect for picnics and outings. This easy dinner recipe comes together in minutes, but will hold for hours in a cooler and only gets better as the flavors meld. Bring some crostini and olive tapenade or hummus for spreading as a great easy appetizer. Cold crunchy pickles or green olives or kalamatas would be delicious too.
What to bring:
1) Folding chairs
3) Beverages! A chardonnay would be lovely the pan bagnat, or if you prefer a red, try a merlot or a pinot noir. Bring juices for the kids and plenty of water, especially if it is a sunny day.
4) Sunscreen – a must for summertime whether it is sunny or not. Sometimes those cooler days can surprise you with a sun burn.
5) Bug spray – after the sun begins to set, the mosquitoes may come looking for you.
6) A plastic tarp in case it rains or the ground is wet.
This is a French style tuna sandwich. I love it for a quick summer dinner. It is also great to make ahead – it only gets better. It is wonderful to take to a picnic, because there is no mayonnaise.
1 lb French bread loaf about 14 inches long
2 Can Tuna – 6 oz – preferably in oil
1/4 C Olive oil
1/2 C Basil – fresh
2 ea Tomatoes, chopped
1/2 C Kalamata olives, chopped
1/4 C Capers, rinsed
Slice the bread in half horizontally. Brush the bread with olive oil and layer with basil leaves. Open the tuna, but do not drain it. (If using tuna in water instead of oil, drain and add 2 TB olive oil). Combine remaining ingredients and layer into the sandwich. Wrap very well in plastic wrap and press down hard with a skillet. This gets the juicy goodness into the bread. Some have suggested sitting on the sandwich, but we will not go there. Now if you are taking this sandwich somewhere it is ready to go, remember to pack a knife to cut it. Otherwise, you can unwrap and slice to serve immediately. This sandwich is great made in the morning for a quick grab on your way out to the ballpark. Enjoy!
Easy Three Bean Salad
Great accompaniment to any meal. Will stay in the refrigerator for up to one week in a tight lidded container.
1 Can Kidney beans – 15 oz, rinsed and drained
1 Can Black beans – 15 oz, drained and rinsed
1 Can Chickpeas – 15 oz, drained and rinsed
1/2 C Parsley – fresh, chopped
1/4 C Olive oil
1/4 C Balsamic vinegar
Combine all ingredients and toss. Cover and chill.
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