While it has been brilliant to see lots of families and individuals become more interested in cooking and baking at home during the pandemic, I am sure an evening will (or has already!) come in most household where nobody wants to cook or spend time in the kitchen.
It's nothing to feel guilty about, we all need a break from it sometimes.
The problem is, usually we would get a takeaway or head out for a meal- and now our options are VERY limited. That's where the picnic dinner swoops in for the win!
The picnic dinner can take a variety of forms, depending on what you have in your fridge/freezer/cupboard, but the basic premise is that you put out everything you have on the dinner table, along with plates, and everyone takes what they want. Job done.
Fridge clear out- put out bread or crackers and whatever whatever is hanging about in the fridge, E.G. cheeses, cooked meat, chutney, pate, salads, jam.
Love your leftovers- heat up all the bits and pieces from the last few dinners, E.G. pasta, curry, stew, potatoes, lasagne etc. You can add a salad or side dish if needed.
Freezer fakeaway- chuck the frozen pizza, nuggets, garlic bread, chicken wings etc into the oven and make a big platter for everyone to choose from. If you haven't much in, you can always bulk it out with some potato wedges, salad, baked beans, frozen corn on the cob etc.
Household potluck- everyone in the house cooks & presents a dish of their choosing. You could decide on a theme (E.G. Indian, someones makes a chicken curry, another a dahl etc) or keep it random!
There are lots of benefits to this picnic style dinner:
Helps reduce food waste, by encouraging you to use what you already have before buying more.
It is a great way to stretch food to feed more people.
More variety=more nutrients!
There will be something everyone in the household likes.
It takes the pressure off making one perfect dish every night of the week.
Can help to get everyone involved in dinner.
It keeps things interesting!
As I mentioned, you can do this in whatever form that suits your family and with whatever you have food-wise and that is the beauty of it! Picnic dinners are fun too- I always used to love when my Mam suggested a picnic dinner, there is a joy & adventure to it.
Picnic dinners also allow you to get creative, like setting a theme, trying new combinations, recreating different styles of food at home and making something out of nearly nothing!
Have you tried a picnic dinner before? What are your favourite combos?!