Picnics: The Original Team Building Exercises

We had some of my husband’s co-workers and their families over this weekend.   We figure no one wants to hire a babysitter to hang out with co-workers so we started mid-afternoon and brought out the bouncy castle (for the kids and a select few from the office).

We served filet sandwiches, chicken satays with peanut sauce, orzo salad, tortellini salad, and peel and eat shrimp.  For dessert, I had a tray of black and white cookies and root beer floats; both were fair game for adults and kids.  We got a keg of root beer for the floats.  There is really nothing as funny as seeing kids chatting around a keg while they fill their Solo cups.

The tenderloin was served with Challah rolls and horseradish sauce.  I started slicing it, but let everyone slice their own after that:

The chicken satays were grilled and then sliced and put on skewers.  I make these anytime we have a lot of people coming over;  they’re a crowd pleaser for adults and kids.  Some things just taste better on a stick.  The peanut satay sauce recipe makes much more than you need for the chicken, so we’ll be having that again this week with noodles.

The orzo salad is a recipe I’ve been making for years.  I don’t change this recipe at all.  It’s perfect the way it is and tastes like summer.

The tortellini salad is another crowd pleaser.  The salad is on top of a bed of arugula and sliced fresh mozzarella.  (The cocktail sauce in the lotus bowl is for the shrimp, just out of the picture.)  I know you’re thinking that two pasta salads is redundant, but they’re completely different tastes and I really wanted options for any potential vegetarians or kids who may be picky eaters.

I also had potato chips and hot dogs for the kids.  If you’re six years old and tired of bouncing in the bouncy castle and need something to go with your root beer, chicken on a stick is probably not what you’re looking for.

(Please don’t judge our lawn; this house is a rental.)

Everyone seemed to enjoy the food and after the initial let down that the keg did not have beer in it, everyone loved the floats.  I’ve made these recipes again and again and think they work wonderfully for a crowd.  After everyone left, we had root beer and bourbon cocktails.  They were so good, we’ll start keeping root beer on hand.  If only there were a way to buy smaller portions of root beer for everyday use….

– Catherine

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