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A Father’s Day Picnic

Featuring Brie Lover’s Picnic Sandwiches and Carol Ann’s Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

How are you honoring that special father in your life this coming Sunday? It took some coaxing to get my husband to tell me how he wanted to spend Father’s Day. He hemmed and hawed for several days and finally decided, “I want to go on a picnic in the mountains.” I was so happy that was his “final answer.” Years ago, my son gave me a lovely picnic basket for Christmas, and there is nothing I enjoy more than pulling it out, filling it with goodies, and heading up to the beautiful Colorado mountains.

What’s on our menu? For an appetizer, we’re having his favorite cheeses and crackers and an assortment of fresh veggies and dips. The main course—Brie Lover’s Picnic Sandwiches. For a side dish I’m making a quinoa tabbouleh salad; and for dessert—an assortment of fresh fruit. In this blog, I share some of my favorite picnic recipes. I always miss my own father on Father’s Day. He was from Kansas; and his favorite flower was, of course, the sunflower—the state flower of Kansas. To honor my own father, I’m including a bouquet of sunflowers as a centerpiece.

Brie Lover’s Picnic Sandwich Makes 12 sandwiches

8 tablespoons mayonnaise 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard 2 (24-inch long) sourdough baguettes 14 ounces Brie, sliced, room temperature 1 pound mesquite-smoked turkey, thinly sliced 3 large tomatoes, thinly sliced 2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced 1 head leaf lettuce, washed, dried, and torn into small pieces 12 pepperoncini, halved lengthwise Salt to taste Black pepper to taste

In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise and Dijon mustard. Cut each baguette in half lengthwise. Spread the mayonnaise mixture on the cut sides of baguettes. Gently spread Brie on the bottom half of each sandwich. Cover Brie with slices of turkey, tomatoes, avocados, lettuce leaves and pepperoncini. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with tops of baguettes. Cut each baguette diagonally into 6 sandwiches. Tips on ripening tomatoes: To ripen tomatoes so they are perfect, place in a paper bag stem-side down. When the stem end smells like a tomato, it is ripe. Tips on transporting sandwiches: This recipe can be made up to 6 hours ahead. Wrap the sandwiches tightly in aluminum foil and refrigerate. If you are making sandwiches to be eaten later, pack the tomatoes, lettuce, and pepperoncini separately and add just before eating. Take the avocado along whole, slice just before eating, and add. To take on a picnic, transport the sandwiches in a cooler.

Tips on buying Brie: Brie has its best flavor when perfectly ripe. Look for one that is plump and resilient to the touch. Its rind may show some pale brown edges. Ripened Brie has a short life and should be eaten within a few days.

Carol Ann’s Quinoa Tabbouleh with Feta Cheese Serves 8

1 cup quinoa 2 teaspoons salt, divided ¼ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 1 cup green onion, thinly sliced 1 cucumber, seeded and diced (I leave the peel on) 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved through the stem 1 cup fresh parsley, snipped 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 2 cups (8-ounces) feta cheese In a medium saucepan, place 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Add quinoa and 1 teaspoon salt, lower the heat, and simmer covered for 15 minutes, or until the grains are tender and open. Drain quinoa, place in a bowl, and add lemon juice, olive oil, and 1 teaspoon salt.

In a large bowl, add green onions, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, parsley, and black pepper. Add quinoa and mix well. Carefully fold in the feta and season to taste with additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate and serve cold.

Carol Ann

Carol Ann Kates is the award-winning author of cookbook, Secret Recipes from the Corner Market and Insider Grocery Shopping Secrets. She’s an expert in how to shop, select, and store produce for maximizing home cooking outcomes and minimizing time and money spent. As a former supermarket and deli operator, Carol Ann shares grocery-insider wisdom—the same expertise you used to receive when patronizing a mom-and-pop establishment. Contact her at and explore her website,

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