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We may have a limited budget, but nothing says we can’t get out in a natural setting and enjoy a lovely picnic.

A change of scenery may be just the pick-me-up you and your family need right now.

Start with a hearty entrée and dress it up with some tasty side dishes. Do some of the preparation work at home and then sit back and enjoy a great meal “al fresco.”

Hot Dogs or Brauts and Sides

Pair your tasty dogs with Cowboy Caviar made of corn, black-eyed peas, avocado, cilantro and fresh lime to be dipped with tortilla chips. Add some homemade brownies and your favourite drinks for a fun out of doors meal. Don’t forget to take along some outdoor fun such as a Frisbee or a whiffle ball and bat. Work off some of that good food and have a great time with the family.

Salmon and Sides

If your picnic is planned with an all-adult guest list, you may want to bake or poach some beautiful salmon steaks to serve cold. Buy a crusty loaf of French bread, then add tasty sides such as a Lemon Orzo Salad. Include a crisp white wine and a fruit dessert: sliced peaches and cream or macerated strawberries. Truly yummy.

Street Tacos and Sides

You’ll need to picnic with a grill for this yummy meal. Prepare a soy sauce marinade and place lean strips of beef in a zip lock bag. Allow to marinate one to four hours. Take along mini flour tortillas, chopped onion, cilantro and lime wedges. Cook the steak on your grill and warm the tortillas alongside. If desired, serve refried beans and rice to round out your meal. Cinnamon-topped sugar cookies would make a great dessert for this meal.

Pulled Pork and Sides

If your man has a grill and loves to cook brisket, you’ll enjoy planning a pulled pork picnic meal. To the delicious pulled pork, add a side such as Grilled Leek Potato Salad. Pack an assortment of fresh finger veggies such as grape tomatoes, carrot sticks and cucumber slices. Take along some homemade spice or carrot cake cupcakes to round out this feast.

Baguette Chicken Sandwiches

These crisp and crunchy chicken sandwiches work well for a picnic because the baguette is split and toasted ahead of time. Grill or bake chicken breasts and slice into slices. Add red onion, baby spinach combined with an olive oil/red vinegar mix. Put the sandwiches together onsite and prepare to enjoy a taste treat. Add chips and fresh fruit plus a tempting fruit cobbler and your family will praise your efforts.

Be sure to do a little research ahead of time and find that perfect picnic spot. Take along camp chairs and blankets to make your outing comfortable. Allow time to explore the area and perhaps take a short hike. Enjoy the natural setting and get ready to enjoy an outdoor meal while the sun shines.