Eating out is one of America’s favorite pastimes, but something that can be even more fun than eating out is eating outside.
Aug. 31 was National Eat Outside Day. Unfortunately, I was working all day and didn't participate, but I decided it's better late than never to celebrate such an excellent holiday.
Even if you missed Eat Outside Day like me, that doesn't mean you can't eat outside and enjoy the outdoors by yourself or with friends.
I think almost any meal is made better when eaten outside. I'm going to give you a few recipes that were made to eat outside in order to help celebrate Eat Outside Day.
I think the key to a good outdoors-edible food is something easy to make that you can eat with your hands, and something that might be a little messy, because if you're going to eat outside, you might as well take advantage of the situation and be as messy as you want (but never litter, of course).
Here are some of my favorite outdoors-edible recipes:
Salami and cream cheese roll-ups
You will need: tortillas, cream cheese and salami
How you make it: Lay out the tortilla and spread cream cheese onto it. Then take slices of hard salami and cover the cream cheese, but be sure to leave some cream cheese visible on the edges to act as “glue” for the wrap. Roll it all up, and then slice it into sushi-like pieces or just eat it like a burrito.
Portability notes: These rolls are pretty thin, so they are easy to travel with. I can fit about six in one of my small reusable plastic containers.
For longer travel times, place them in the plastic container and then place them in an insulated bag with an ice pack.
Chips with dip
You will need: one small container of sour cream, one packet of ranch dressing powder and a bag of chips for dipping
How you make it: Mix the ranch dressing powder packet directly into the sour cream container.
For more ranch flavor, add another packet of ranch dressing powder. Serve with the chips and enjoy.
Portability notes: The great thing about this is that you can store the dip in the sour cream container, so there’s no need for additional containers.
You will need: one tube of sugar cookie dough, cream cheese, your choice of fresh fruits, a pizza pan and an oven
How you make it: Spread the cookie dough on the pizza pan and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until it's lightly golden.
Let the cookie cool, then spread cream cheese over the cookie like pizza sauce. Finally, place fresh fruit like strawberries, blueberries or whatever your favorite kind is in the cream cheese like pizza toppings.
Cut and enjoy or refrigerate for a cool treat.
Portability notes: Pack a slice or two in a small reusable container to take it with you. Use the insulated bag trick from the roll-ups recipe for longer trips. You might want to bring a couple of napkins as well.
A nice easy addition to any outdoor meal is whole fresh fruit. It's easy because there's no prep — just buy it and wash it.
My favorite is watermelon because it’s very messy, which makes it perfect for outdoor consumption.
Remember, you don’t have to drive to a park or somewhere far away to eat outside; you can eat in your yard, on your porch, even on your driveway.
If you have recipes that you think make good outdoors-edible food, email them to me at email@example.com and I’ll share any that I get in future columns.