Choose your recipes wisely: Look for meals that don’t require heavy assembly or ingredients that need to be cooked a la minute. Your goal here is ease of prep and transport, so something like the BBQ Sushi Tuna Satays are ideal – they’re conveniently served on skewer sticks, and the mango, citrus and roasted peanut salad they’re accompanied by can be tossed together and packed up in advance.
Think finger food: The best outdoor meals are ones that are easy to eat with your hands – finger food cuts down on the amount of gear to pack up to bring outside, reduces waste and captures the lighthearted spirit of the season. The filling in these Asian-inspired, mayo-free Chicken Lettuce Wraps can be made in advance and scooped into fresh lettuce cups just before eating, and these zippy Ancho Shrimp Tacos are a perpetual finger favorite.
Top gear: Of course, you’ll need to have some equipment to achieve al fresco dining success. A breezy blanket made from a washable fabric can serve as an easy tablecloth even if you’re not eating at a table, and disposable bamboo plates are a stylish and eco-friendly alternative to paper. A handsome picnic basket or insulated tote cooler makes transporting your feast a stylish affair; and don’t forget the shatterproof wine glasses and a bottle opener!
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