What better way to enjoy the fresh summer air than with flavorful foods especially suited to the great outdoors? Take advantage of the season with easy recipes that minimize kitchen duty and maximize time spent outside with family and friends. These menus, designed for fun in the sun, are cooked on the grill or easily transported to your favorite outdoor spot. Shave off extra prep time and round out each meal by heading to your local natural market to purchase our suggestions for healthy side dishes, desserts, and drinks. Whether it’s a picnic in the park, a day at the beach, or a backyard barbecue, this is eating out at its best.

Fourth of July Picnic

Menu
Oven-Fried Chicken
Cherry tomato and mozzarella salad
Corn bread or whole-grain biscuits
Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate-Chip Cookies
Lemonade

Take along

Biodegradable plates, napkins, cups, and cutlery
Wipes for messy fingers
Serving spoon
Ice for lemonade

Oven-Fried Chicken

Serves 8 / Prep tips: For best results, cook the chicken the same day you plan to eat it, but let cool completely before packing so the coating doesn’t get soggy. Use panko (coarse Japanese-style bread crumbs) for a crispy crust or plain bread crumbs for a “sandy” crust. View recipe.

Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate-Chip Cookies

Makes about 30 / Heart-healthy oats, coconut, and chocolate make these sweet treats a more sensible dessert—in moderation, of course. View recipe.

Lunch at the Beach

Menu
Spiced Chickpea and Feta Sandwiches
Cucumber-Melon Salad
Baked pita chips or veggie crisps
Bittersweet chocolate bars
Citrus-flavored sparkling water

Take along
Insulated cooler with reusable ice packs
Stackable drink tumblers
Biodegradable plates, napkins, and trash bag
Forks and a serving spoon

Spiced Chickpea and Feta Sandwiches

Serves 4–6 / For easy transport, wrap sandwiches in biodegradable waxed paper, or spear each half with a toothpick and pack in an airtight container. Prep tip: Purchase grated carrots from the salad bar for quick assembly. View recipe.

Cucumber-Melon Salad

Serves 4–6 / Ingredient tip: Look for ground chile pepper powder in the spice or Hispanic-foods section of your market. For sweet, mild flavor, use ground ancho chiles; for more heat, try caribe or smoky chipotle. Serving tips: Keep this well chilled while transporting. For best flavor and presentation, take ground chile in a separate container and sprinkle over salad just before serving. View recipe.

Backyard Barbecue

Menu
Wasabi peas or Japanese rice crackers
Grilled Ginger Pork with Nectarine Relish
Black-Eyed Pea, Corn, and Radish Salad
Steamed edamame and vegetables
Pale lager or ginger beer
Chilled watermelon slices

Have on hand
Long-handled grilling tongs
Flameproof basting brush
Cutting board and sharp chef’s knife
Bottle opener

Grilled Ginger Pork with Nectarine Relish

Serves 4 / Serving tip: The pork may be grilled ahead of time and served at room temperature, but slice just before serving to retain juices. View recipe.

Black-Eyed Pea, Corn, and Radish Salad

Serves 6 / Prep tips: To grill corn, pull back outer husks and remove inner silk; rewrap cobs in husks, set over a medium-hot grill and cook, turning occasionally, for 5–10 minutes. Remove kernels by standing cobs upright on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a towel (to prevent slipping and to protect the knife); use a sharp knife to cut down along the length of the cob. View recipe.