Now that the warmer months have arrived, a packable picnic is a fun way to spend some quality time with friends and family. I wanted to update my picnic basket a bit and give it more of a rustic feel, so I used mason jars as easily reusable containers for each dish, as well as my dad’s old wooden toolbox as a basket. Try adding your own personal touches to this picnic—it could be a really special treat for dad on Father’s Day. Most importantly, relax, unwind and enjoy this updated picnic with the ones you love most!

Caprese Salad


  • 1 tub of mixed yellow and cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tub of fresh mozzarella balls
  • A few sprigs of fresh basil
  • ¼ cup of Italian dressing
  • Salt and pepper

Slice each tomato and mozzarella ball in half. Chop the basil leaves and throw them on top of the cheese and tomatoes, then pour the dressing over the salad and season with salt and pepper. Store in mason jars and pack in your picnic basket.



  • 1 cucumber, halved and seeded
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cored and seeded
  • 1 orange bell pepper, cored and seeded
  • 5 plum tomatoes
  • 1 shallot
  • ¼ cup black olives
  • ¼ cup green olives
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • ½ tablespoon kosher salt
  • Handful of chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Fill a pot halfway full of water, set over high heat and bring to a boil.

Make an “X” with a knife on the bottom of the tomatoes. Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water for 1 minute, remove and transfer to an ice bath and allow to cool. Peel the skin and seed the tomatoes. Throw in a blender and process until thick.

Chop all the other ingredients and in batches, blend the veggies and add to a bowl. Mix all ingredients together once all it’ blended and season with salt and pepper. Store in mason jars and enjoy!

Summer Orzo Salad


  • 12 oz. orzo pasta
  • 6 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 can of artichoke hearts, chopped
  • ¾ cups of sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons of chopped garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil
  • 1 cup of chopped asparagus
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • ½ cup of Italian dressing

Bring broth to boil in large heavy saucepan. Stir in orzo, cover partially, and boil until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Transfer to a bowl and pour half of the Italian dressing to the orzo and toss. This will help prevent the orzo from sticking.

Chop and sauté garlic, olives, asparagus and sun dried tomatoes over medium heat in some olive oil. Once the asparagus is tender, mix in with the orzo and toss. Pour the remaining dressing over the salad and season with salt and pepper. Mix in chopped fresh basil and serve.