June 15, 2012 at 12:43 AM ET
I am not panicking that there are only three weeks left before September arrives. Nope. The fact that I haven’t flipped our calendar over from July to August is completely meaningless. Okay, I’m freaking out!
Even though September is one of the loveliest months where I live, it’s just not summer to me. So I’m determined to make the most of this last stretch – barbecues, dinners on the deck and most importantly, picnics.
I pack lunches to bring to the park all the time, but my preferred al fresco meal is the dinner picnic. In fact, it’s one of our favorite ways to get together with other families. You’re not worried about sunscreen re-application or who has to get home for a nap. Just lay out a blanket with sandwiches, salads, maybe a few homemade cookies. The kids can tear around and burn off their end-of-day sillies. And if something other than water ends up in one of the adult canteens, all the better!
Our top picnic standby, these scrumptious Fresh Corn and Basil Muffins, are great on their own or served with a schmear of soft goat cheese. They're super quick to make, and make the most of summer fresh corn! (These would also be great in the fall alongside a bowl of chili.)
Fresh Corn and Basil Muffins
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (plus a bit unmelted for the muffin tin)
2 cups flour (plus a sprinkle for the muffin tin)
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup corn kernels (I used two cobs)
1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour your muffin tin.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking sods, salt, sugar and chili. In another bowl, whisk buttermilk, egg and melted butter. Mix together the dry and wet ingredients. Gently fold in corn and basil, making sure there are bit or yellow and green all through the batter.
3. Use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to scoop batter into your prepared tins. Pop in the hot oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the muffins are golden. Allow the muffins to cool in the tin for a few minutes before popping them out of the tin.
And here are our other four picnic dinner favorites:
Tuna Nicoise Sandwich
This is a meal in a sandwich, and a delicious spin on a classic.
Picnic chicken Salad Sandwich
The ultimate Chicken Salad Sandwich is hearty and easy to transport!
Blueberry Spelt Muffin Cake Sandwiches
are a healthy twist on a park snack.
Salad on a Stick
Because sometimes packaging counts, and everything is cuter on a stick.
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A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.