We can’t wait to get outdoors and celebrate Memorial Day Weekend. The weather has been great and the humidity hasn’t settled in, so we know we need to take our celebration to the park where we can kick back, relax, people and puppy watch and enjoy some tasty bites throughout the afternoon. We’re sharing some go-to picnic essentials and some delicious and easy-to-pack recipes featuring Tillamook Cheddar for your next outdoor feast.
How to Pack for a Picnic
When it comes to packing for a picnic, don’t overthink it. All you need is a big picnic blanket (or in this case an old quilt), a great picnic basket, some entertainment materials (like music or a good book) and some easy food. Keep the food simple, portable, and tasty. You don’t want to have to deal with assembling a high maintenance dish while balancing on a picnic blanket. To transport everything, I used my favorite collapsible wagon to carry it from the car to the park.
Let’s talk about easy Memorial Day recipes for a picnic.
Easy food for a picnic doesn’t have to be flavorless and boring! Anytime I get a chance to make Tillamook cheese a star of my dish, it makes me a happy camper. For our picnic I made some BLTTC (Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Tillamook Cheese) sandwiches featuring one of my favorite products from Tillamook, their Farmstyle Thick Cut Swiss Sliced Cheese. Tillamook’s Farmstyle Thick Cut Sliced Cheese is perfect for building a sturdy sandwich and adding the perfect punch of Tillamook’s quality cheddar to any Memorial Day Meal you may have planned.
This sandwich gets a little spicy oil rubbed on the exterior before you toast it and then we slather the interior with basil mayonnaise. Top the mayo with a little lettuce, a thick slice of heirloom tomatoes and then layer on 2-3 slices of Tillamook Swiss!
Each bite is filled with the rich flavors of Tillamook Swiss, cool and creamy, herby, savory and a touch of spice. It’s dare I say, the perfect sandwich.
I like adding a little layer of sprouts at the bottom to catch any runoff pesto and to add a little earthy-ness to the pasta. I topped it with some fresh pickled red onions, but any sort of acidic pickled veg would be nice (I highly recommend capers or cornichons).
Then all you have to do is assemble and tote it to the park! We had a fun time reading, relaxing and nibbling on all the delicious things we brought to the park.
To recreate this at home click here to see what Tillamook products are available near you and find our recipes below.
Photos by Dasha Crawford
The classic BLT gets an upgrade with the addition of Tillamook Farmstyle Thick Cut Swiss Sliced Cheese. We added a bit of heat with a chili pepper oil and a touch of herby creaminess with some homemade basil mayonnaise.
- 1 Loaf of Fresh Bread I used Sourdough
- 2 TBSP of Olive Oil
- ½ tsp of red pepper chili flakes
- 12 ounces of bacon cooked in the oven
- 2 heirloom tomatoes sliced thickly
- 10 slices of Tillamook Farmstyle Thick Cut Swiss Sliced Cheese
- 4 TBSP of mayonnaise
- ½ cup of basil diced
Preheat oven to 400°F and line two non-rimmed cookie sheets with aluminum foil.
Layer on your bacon, and cook for 15 minutes. Removing from the grease to drain on a paper towel.
While the bacon is cooking, mix your olive oil with the red pepper chili flakes. Slice your loaf of sourdough and using a pastry brush, brush on the olive oil mix and set aside on an aluminum foil cookie sheet.
In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and basil.
When the bacon is done cooking, place the bread in the oven and toast for 5 minutes.
When the bread has crisped, remove from the oven, slather on mayonnaise on one side, layer on bacon, tomato, Tillamook Swiss cheese, lettuce, and top with the other slice of bread.
Wrap in parchment paper and tie with cooking twine and stash in your picnic basket.
- 1 pound of Orecchiette pasta
- 2 TBSP of Olive Oil
- 2/3 cup of fresh pesto
- 1 cup of pasta water reserved
- ¾ cup of grape tomatoes sliced in half
- 6 ounces of Tillamook White Cheddar diced
- ¼ cup of sprouts
- Pickled watermelon radish, capers, cornichons to garnish.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and reserve a cup of starchy pasta water.
Let pasta cool and stir in olive oil to keep pasta from sticking together.
When pasta has cooled, mix in fresh pesto and 1 TBSP of starchy pasta water until the pesto stirs in easily and the pasta is well lubricated.
In a mixing bowl, add grape tomatoes, and diced Tillamook white cheddar.
In a resealable glass container, layer in a few sprouts, then spoon in pasta salad. Top with more sprouts and pickled watermelon radish (or capers, or cornichons).
Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.