Picnics are a great summer activity for you to enjoy with family and friends, and the key to any picnic food is that it's easy to transport and easy to share while making sure the dishes capture the flavor of the season. Here are some ideas to consider that pair well with plaid blankets and sunshine:

Snacks And Sides

Easy Summer Pasta Salad

A light pasta salad packed with fresh summer vegetables is the perfect addition to any picnic, party or potluck. Just throw some pasta and your choice of veggies into a bowl, douse with balsamic dressing and stir together. You can add almost anything -- peppers, tomatoes, cheese, cucumbers, etc.

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Individual Seven Layer Dip

Your favorite dip in your own cup. This packaging is great for transporting and distributing in a picnic setting. Just dispense the refried beans, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, etc. into each container when preparing, and all you have to do is pass out the cups during the event. It's much more mess-free than bringing a big pan of dip and having everyone spoon some out.

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Melon, Mozzarella, and Prosciutto Skewers

Kabobs and skewers are a staple of summer, and this recipe is cake for anyone to make. Simply stick a chunk of melon, a slice of prosciutto and a mozzarella ball on a skewer and enjoy. They don't make a mess, they're easy to transport and because you don't have to grill it, you don't have to worry about keeping it warm to serve.

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Perfect Summer Fruit Salad

This recipe goes beyond tossing some fruits together or bringing a store-bought fruit and veggie platter but is still a simple preparation anyone can do. On a stove, bring orange juice, lemon juice, orange zest, lemon zest and brown sugar to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until thickened. Remove the liquid from the heat and stir in vanilla extract. Then in another bowl, toss in your desired fruit and pour the sauce over it.

Soft Pretzels

Made from scratch pretzels are the perfect tasty snack to munch on throughout your picnic. Try your hand at this recipe for soft, doughy pretzels and bring your best cheese dip. And if all else fails, you can just make a last-minute panicked run to snag some Auntie Anne's.

Sandwiches and Wraps

Buffalo Chicken Wraps

Spice up your picnic with these buffalo chicken wraps. The wraps are easy to make -- just toss the chicken in hot sauce and place it in the center of each tortilla along with cheese, celery, and ranch, and roll them into burritos. They'll give your meal a nice kick.

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Caprese Sandwiches

It's your favorite Italian salad, but between two buns. This sandwich is made with the traditional sliced mozzarella, tomatoes and basil, a combination that captures the fresh taste of summer and is vegetarian-friendly.

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Pressed Italian Picnic Sandwiches

These pressed sandwiches are wrapped in plastic until ready to serve, which makes them easy to transport to your picnic. The preparation for this jam-packed sandwich can be a bit complex, but the delicious result is worth it.

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Turkey, Cheddar And Green Apple Sandwiches

Apples are the perfect summer treat, and the slices of green apple in this sandwich bring out a delicious, tangy flavor in each bite. All you have to do isslice the apple into very thin pieces and add them as a layer on your sandwich. It's an incredibly simple way to go beyond the boring norm of the turkey and cheese sandwich.

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Turkey Ranch Club Wraps

This wrap is stuffed with turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheese and ranch dressing for the perfect summer taste. It's a great option for your next picnic and takes less than 10 minutes to prepare. So even if you have a lot of guests coming to the picnic, you can crank these out for everyone.

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Desserts

Chocolate Chip Blondies

Blondies are a cross between cookies and brownies -- rich, gooey and optionally nutty, they're a great mess-free dessert for a picnic. The baking process is the same as if you were making cookies, but instead of scooping out dollops of batter onto a cookie sheet, you pour it directly into a pan and put it in the oven.

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Chocolate Dipped Clementines

This incredibly easy to make recipe is perfect for your picnic. Just peel and divide a clementine, dip in melted chocolate, sprinkle with salt and refrigerate. This dessert is hassle-free and your fellow picnic-goers will love the mix of chocolate and tangy citrus.

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Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

This dessert is similar to the blondie bars, but with an extra salty crunch. The process of preparation is essentially the same as blondies, but when you mix in the chocolate chips, also add broken up pretzels to the batter.

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Pie In A Jar

Enjoy a pie while containing the mess with these individual pies in a canning jar. Each person gets their own little dessert, and because it's all self-contained, it couldn't be easier to transport to a picnic. When digging in, they can be eaten right out of the jar.

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Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

Think beyond chocolate chip cookies with these easy cookies with fresh raspberry jam filling. They're a great light and summery dessert.

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