Tips for a Great Outdoor Meal & Grocery Outlet Giveaway

Simple decor for an outdoor meal - A Well Crafted Party

The warmer days of Spring are here and Summer is just around the corner. For me this means that it is time to bring dinner OUTDOORS! Spring and Summer holidays and special occasions (Mother’s Day is Sunday!) are the perfect opportunity to bring a meal outdoors. The change of scenery can help make any meal feel like a special meal. But, not every meal makes for a great outdoor meal. You’ll want a meal that can hold up to the weather, be easy to serve and not too complicated to pack up and bring to wherever you are having your outdoor meal. When Grocery Outlet asked if I wanted to work with them on a post I immediately thought of all the fun outdoor items that they get this time of year, and wanted to throw a little outdoor party in honor of Mother’s Day. Below are some of my tips for creating a great outdoor meal. Check in tomorrow for a few recipes that anyone can make that are great for an outdoor meal!

Quick, Easy Outdoor Meal Anyone Can Make - A Well Crafted Party

What makes a great outdoor meal?

I think that there are a few factors that make for an outdoor meal, including simplicity. Part of eating outdoors should be that the whole meal has a more relaxed feel to it. Even if you are going super fancy and formal, the meal itself can be made simple and easy to eat while still being elegant. Last year I went to a wonderful outdoor farm to table meal that completely hit all my favorite notes of an outdoor meal! Here are my tips for what makes a great outdoor meal:

1. Keep it Simple – The meal does not need to be complicated nor have a lot of steps. The perfect outdoor meal can either be cooked outdoors, or packed up and easy carried outdoors. When planning an outdoor meal you’ll want to keep your ingredient list down (at least the items that are going to the table, if you want to prep a complicated many ingredient meal at home that still carries nicely and is easy to serve then by all means, go for it!), keep the garnishes to a minimum and let the meal really be the centerpiece of the experience.

2. Make sure it holds up to the weather- Besides food safety, considering the weather is important for the overall meal experience. If the meal you are serving really tastes best piping hot then you’ll need to figure out a way to cook or at least reheat outdoors so that the wind doesn’t take down the temp. Or, you can choose a meal that can be served at room temperature or cooled. If it is really hot then you might need to think about whether your desserts or meal items are going to just melt while waiting to be served. Of course, don’t forget about food safety as no one likes food poisoning. Items that are sitting out need to be properly cooled or heated to keep the items out of the danger zone.

3. A pretty setting – Eating outdoors can be a wonderful experience that can make any meal feel like a special occasion. Of course, if that meal is served in a not-so-ideal space and handed out wrapped in plastic it can feel more like a fast food experience than a special occasion. Take a few moments to make the meal special by taking care on how it is served. Even dressing up your picnic items a bit can make an ordinary meal feel extraordinary. When throwing parties in my back yard I often opt to cut flowers from my yard and use my basic dishware from the house. I leave my really nice dishware inside, but the basics can still feel dressed up when surrounded by nature! When I picnic I try to make things nicer by wrapping them in parchment paper and twine rather than just plastic baggies, or serving items on bamboo plates or reusable outdoor plastic plates instead of opting for paper.There are also a lot of great brands of really beautiful paper plates out there that can be perfect for making an outdoor meal feel special.

4. Think about pests – Nothing can ruin a meal faster than a few pests. Supply bug spray, plant bug repellent plants around your yard, or use some citronella candles to ward off pesky mosquitoes and flies. I found these adorable yellow tins with citronella candles at Grocery Outlet for less than $2 and bought a whole bunch of them for my outdoor parties. Not only do they look cute on the table, but they help ward off unwanted bugs!

Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for some super easy recipes that ANYONE can make for a great outdoor meal!

Enter to win a giveaway to Grocery Outlet

Grocery Outlet wants to help you serve a great outdoor (or indoor) meal and are sharing a $25 Gift Card with one lucky reader. Grocery Outlet operates 210+ stores in California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington. Check out the Grocery Outlet website to find a store near you!

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This post was created in collaboration with Grocery Outlet. All opinions are my own. Thank you for reading and sharing posts that are created in partnership with brands that help support this blog. 

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Jenni is a freelance writer and media assistant based in Portland, OR. A Well Crafted Party is a blog about all the little things to celebrate in life. Follow Jenni or A Well Crafted Party with BlogLovin, RSS feed, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.
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  1. Reply

    Holding up to the weather and being easily transportable is usually the hardest part in picking out what I can take to an outdoor meal- it really filters down a lot of the recipes I have pinned when I think of what to take! I also love the tip about a pretty setting – just eating out of tupperware and plastic bags can easily upgraded to something more special and thoughtful with just a few details!
    Pech recently posted…Recap of Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2015My Profile

  2. Reply

    I adore eating outside and typically choose either something cold or a BBQ so it doesn’t have to be reheated. 🙂
    Susannah recently posted…Do You Have a Blog Mission Statement?My Profile

  3. Beautiful photos! I LOVE picnics, but sometimes the food can be tricky exactly for the reasons you mention (weather, transporting, pests), so I always stick with simple charcuterie, cheeses, crackers, fruits, corn on the cob, then one or two salads and sandwiches.
    Marlynn @UrbanBlissLife recently posted…Blizzard WinesMy Profile

  4. Reply

    My favorite outdoor meals are anything cooked on the grill. I like things to be unfussy, so something make-it-yourself or customize-yourself is high on my list. That said, I love watermelon-mint-feta salads. I bring it to BBQs and it’s always a big hit!
    Catherine recently posted…The three sweetest wordsMy Profile

  5. Reply

    I love to eat outside! For us, it is usually a grilled meal and something kid-friendly (okay, it is usually hot dogs), but it tastes so much better outside!
    Melinda recently posted…Book Review: “The Mapmaker’s Children” by Sarah McCoy and GIVEAWAYMy Profile

  6. Reply

    I love eating outside! We have majority of our dinners in the summer on the back porch. (We also grill a lot!)
    Aubrie LeGault recently posted…{Food} Colorful FlavorsMy Profile

  7. I love to keep it simple with crackers and dip, fresh fruit and sandwiches.
    Lindsay Ingalls (@RunWithTongs) recently posted…WIAW | Picnic at TheLadybug ParkMy Profile

  8. Reply

    Oh yes! Great tips! I am SO happy to finally have moved to our outdoor dining room (as, we really don’t have a dining room indoors, and eat in our living room all through the rainy year). Just a heads up- Freddies has some adorable patio stuff right now, and you may even see some on our blog soon!
    Blog To Taste recently posted…Queen’s PuffMy Profile

  9. Reply

    I love having picnics, tea parties, snacks, BBQs….any excuse to hang out in the backyard with a glass of wine and food!
    Melissa Kaylene recently posted…Our First School Garden + A Giveaway!My Profile

  10. Reply

    darling set up! love this!
    kelsey recently posted…Camassia Natural AreaMy Profile

    • Madeline
    • May 7, 2015

    I like to make grilled corn or other veggies, yum!

  11. Reply

    So cute. I love that PDX is getting nicer so it’s finally picnic time!

  12. Reply

    i’m guessing that smores don’t count as an outdoor meal. or do they…? i’m always down for hot dogs. <3
    stephanie recently posted…Using Swagbucks to earn gift cards.My Profile

    • Kristen
    • May 11, 2015

    We like to marinate chicken, then grill it on skewers with onions, bell peppers, tomatoes and pineapple.

    • Donna Kellogg
    • May 12, 2015

    I like to make hamburgers outside. There fast and easy to grill.

    • Elena
    • May 12, 2015

    I like to make pasta salads and fruit salads

  13. Reply

    I have to say my favorite is ribs. I always make a party feel like a special occasion. But other wise I love to make a fresh squeezed lemonade. It’s good for kids and you can easily toss in a little vodka or bourbon for the adults.

  14. Pingback: A Well Crafted Party » Blog Archive Easy Dinner Idea: Stuffed Ravioli Tossed with Spinach, Tomatoes & Pesto - A Well Crafted Party

  15. Reply

    I love eating outside. This dish looks completely amazing, Jenni!

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