Less is more

Fancy meals have their place — but it’s not with friends and family. When you want to impress someone, that might be the time to put hours of effort into a frustrating and possibly failed meal.

Or you can put that effort into hanging out and actually enjoying your time with your friends. From experience, I’ve learned the latter is the way to go.

You see, the Italians already have had it figured out. Italian food can get a bad rep for being so simple. But it is the Italians that have the reputation for being so family-oriented.

Who wants to be so exhausted from cooking they can’t enjoy their family-friend time? Not me, that’s for sure.

I randomly decided at 2 in the afternoon last Friday I wanted to do a picnic in two hours. The weather was great,the sun shining. I figured, why not? So I gave myself two hours (including grocery shopping) to prepare some delicious, simple picnic food and here are the results:

Classic crackers and cheese. Winning combination no matter what and may I just say that Trader Joe’s has done it _again_ with their cranberry goat milk cheese log. The tangy cheese is perfect with the sweet, tart cranberries.

Cold pasta salad with mozzarella and tomatoes. Orzo pasta cooked to al dente with chunks of marinated mozzarella balls (also from Trader Joe’s and also fantastic) and halved grape tomatoes. The mozzarella came marinated in a herb infused olive oil that I was able to use to flavor the pasta and tomatoes also.

And you couldn’t have a picnic without an Italian soda or sparkling French lemonade and a French baguette.

There you have it: easy picnic food to share with friends!


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