Perfect picnic ideas from the ’70s, with 18 summery retro recipes

Perfect picnic ideas from the 70s

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The perfect picnic for 4 people

Chicken. Cook 5 lbs of Shake ‘n Bake chicken the night before. Eat half for dinner. Refrigerate the rest till it’s time to go.

Bread. A big loaf of French bread, buttered and refrigerated the night before.

Beverage. A 2-quart thermos of Kool-Aid brand Soft Drink Mix, or six cans of your favorite soft drink.

Salad. Green bean vinaigrette. Cook 2 packages of Bird’s Eye Frozen Green Beans, according to package directions. Marinate with Good Seasons French Salad Dressing Mix. Refrigerate.

Dessert. A box of cookies (a non-melty kind) and assorted fruit: grapes, apples, and bananas.

P.S. Take extra paper plates, napkins, plastic knives and forks (the kids could lose some), and a sharp knife. Don’t forget suntan lotion, band-aids and bug repellent.

Shake 'n Bake Picnic The perfect picnic for 4-july-1973

Shake ‘n Bake and extra chicken today… and have a picnic tomorrow.

Shake ‘n Bake chicken tastes so good hot or cold, you get two great meals but you only use your oven once. With Shake ‘n Bake Seasoned Coating Mix, making extra chicken is easy. Shake ‘n Bake is better than frying (imagine frying extra chicken — that’s hard work!).

To make things even easier, we’ve planned your picnic for you. Have fun!

Cooling out ways for salad days from 1976

A picnic in the park is one way. Backyard barbecuing is another. Wherever the cook-out, its success depends on two important ingredients: good people and good food.

As the temperature rises, you can keep your cool with easy-fix, good food ideas… with these favorite outdoor recipes. Pick a day. Pack the pack. And gather the gang. Take a break and cool it — family style.

Ham ‘n’ cheese potato salad
  • 4 cups cooked potato slices
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) cubed Kraft natural sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1-1/2 cup ham slices
  • 1 cup celery slices
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, cooked
  • 1/4 cup green onion slices
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup Kraft real mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Kraft horseradish sauce


Combine potatoes, cheese, ham, celery, eggs, onion, green pepper, and seasonings. Add combined mayonnaise and horseradish; mix lightly. Chill. Add additional mayonnaise, if desired. (8 servings)

ALSO TRY: 15 cool cold cut menu ideas (1955)

Shasta summer soda - 1974

Boss bean salad
  • 16 ounces canned kidney beans
  • 16 ounces canned Great Northern or Pinto beans
  • 4 crisply cooked bacon slices, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup celery slices
  • 1/2 cup onion rings
  • 1/2 cup Miracle Whip salad dressing
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pimiento
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • Few drops Tabasco sauce


Drain and rinse beans. Combine beans, bacon, celery, onions, salad dressing, pimiento and seasonings; toss lightly. Chill. (6 to 8 servings. Recipe may be doubled if desired.)

ALSO TRY: Green Beans Bravo vintage ’60s salad

Picnics with A and W root beer - 1979

Moovin’ groovin’ salad fixins

Marinate mushrooms, cucumbers, tomatoes and onion slices in dressing several hours or overnight. Drain, reserving dressing. Arrange vegetables on lettuce-covered platter. Serve with remaining dressing, if desired.

Picnic food from 1976

1976 Picnic party food

Sizzle Season – Retro picnic recipes from 1979

Sizzle Season - Retro picnic recipes from 1979 (6)

Picnics are enjoyed by young and old. Plan a menu that is easy to carry and include a lot of finger foods which are easy to serve and eat.

If cold foods will be out of refrigeration for long periods of time, pack them in an ice chest. Wet washcloths in plastic bags are good to pack between dishes in the chest and handy after the meal is over.

Crispy chicken
  • 1 3-pound chicken, cut up
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons McCormick/Schilling Season-All
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 cups shortening


Wash chicken pieces and dry on paper towels. Combine seasonings and sprinkle over chicken. Put flour in paper bag and drop chicken pieces in flour, one at a time. Shake to coat. In a heavy skillet melt shortening over medium-high heat.

Add chicken and cover, adjusting lid to allow steam to escape. Cook 15 minutes. Turn chicken pieces with tongs and cook, uncovered, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Drain chicken on paper towels. Serve hot or cold.

MORE: Rice Krispies crunchy chicken retro recipe

Take-along cheese ball
  • 9 ounces Monterey Jack cheese
  • 8 ounces package Cheddar cheese
  • 3 ounces package cream cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill weed
  • 3 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons water


Grate Jack and Cheddar cheeses. Have cream cheese at room temperature. Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl and mix until thoroughly blended.

Shape into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate several hours. Serve with assorted crackers or use to stuff celery.

ALSO TRY: Retro party food: 12 classic cheese ball recipes from the ’70s

Sizzle Season - Retro picnic recipes from 1979 (4)

Hearty potato salad
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Season-All
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 3 teaspoons instant minced onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 cups cooked, sliced potatoes
  • 4 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped olives


Combine first 6 ingredients and pour over potatoes, eggs and olives. Toss lightly to mix. Cover and chill. Makes 7 cups.

Cinnamon-chocolate cookies
  • 1 package dark chocolate cake mix (19-1/4 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or margarine
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar


Combine cake mix, butter, cinnamon, 2 of the eggs and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla in mixing bowl. Beat until well blended. Spread this stiff dough over bottom of a lightly greased 9- by 13-inch baking pan.

Beat together the remaining egg, the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla, cream cheese and powdered sugar. Spread over the chocolate mixture.

Bake in 350 (F) oven 25 minutes. Let cool slightly and cut into 2-inch squares. Makes 40 cookies.

ALSO TRY: Hershey’s chewy chocolate cookies (1983)

Sizzle Season - Retro picnic recipes from 1979 (5)

July refresher drink
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 6 tea bags
  • 4 cups orange juice
  • 2 cups apricot nectar
  • 1 cup spiced syrup (recipe below)


In heatproof glass or ceramic container, pour boiling water over tea bags. Let steep 5 minutes.

Remove tea bags and let cool. Combine with remaining ingredients; chill. Serve over ice. Makes 11 cups.

Vintage 4th of July picnic ideas from the 70s

Summer cooler
  • 1 cup spiced syrup*
  • 1 quart cranberry juice cocktail
  • 46-ounce can unsweetened grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 28-ounce bottle ginger ale


Combine all ingredients mixing well. Serve over ice. Makes 3-1/2 quarts.

Sizzle Season - Retro picnic recipes from 1979 (2)

Spicy lemonade
  • Juice of 4 lemons
  • 3/4 cup spiced syrup*
  • Water


Combine lemon juice and spiced syrup. Add enough cold water to make 1 quart. Serve chilled. Makes 1 quart. Note: If a sweeter lemonade is desired, use 1 cup spiced syrup.

ALSO TRY: 20 delicious & refreshing old-fashioned lemonade recipes

People having a picnic in 1972

*Spiced syrup
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 pieces whole cinnamon
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 6 whole allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger


Combine all ingredients in saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil 1 minute. Let spices cool in syrup. Drain and discard spices. Use in the above recipes. Makes 2 cups.

MORE: 38 cool, non-alcoholic drinks for an old-fashioned party punchbowl

Summer eggnog
  • 1 8-ounce can sliced peaches
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream (2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract


Drain peaches reserving 1 tablespoon of the juice. Process peaches, the reserved juice and remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor. Serve in chilled glasses or mugs. Makes 2-1/2 cups.

Note: One large fresh peach may be substituted for the canned peaches. If necessary, milk may be substituted for the juice to get the desired consistency.

Sizzle Season - Retro picnic recipes from 1979 (3)

Basic burgers
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon McCormick/Schilling Season-All
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Combine all ingredients and divide into 8 equal portions. Flatten each portion into a thin patty. Top four of the patties with one of the toppings below. Place the plain patties on top, sealing edges. Grill. Makes 4 burgers.

Toppings: Relish, thin slice of onion, bacon bits or chips, thin slice of bleu cheese, toasted sesame seeds, and/or thin slices of Monterey Jack cheese

ALSO TRY: 14 retro hamburger recipes for some differently delicious dinners

Picnic coolers from the '70s

Easy bean bake
  • 25 ounces canned navy beans
  • 1 tablespoon chopped instant onions
  • 1 teaspoon Season-All
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • Salt pork (about 2- by 4- by 1/2-inch)


In colander, drain well one can of the beans. Drain juice from the other can into a 1-1/2-quart casserole. Mix in next 4 ingredients. Gently mix in both cans of beans. Add salt pork. Cover and bake 1 hour in 350 (F) oven. Remove cover and bake 30 minutes longer. Makes 6 servings.

MORE: Ann Page zesty baked beans & barbecue beans recipes (1955)

Marinated cucumbers
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons instant minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon Season-All
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups peeled and cubed cucumbers


Combine first 6 ingredients. Pour over cucumbers. (If cucumbers are large, remove seed before cutting into cubes.) Stir gently but well. Cover and chill at least 1 hour or longer. Stir several times. Makes eight 1/2-cup servings.

Sizzle Season - Retro picnic recipes from 1979 (8)

Party grilled roast
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon mixed pickling spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 boneless chuck roast, 1-1/2-inches thick (about 3 pounds)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons non-seasoned meat tenderizer


Combine oil, wine, pickling spice and garlic salt. Pour over roast and marinate several hours or overnight. Sprinkle meat tenderizer over both sides of meat and pierce deeply with tines of fork. Let stand 30 minutes.

Grill 5 to 6 inches from hot coals 20 minutes per side for medium. Slice on the diagonal. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

ALSO TRY: How to make fancy hot dog shapes, plus retro ways to stuff your franks from the ’70s

Cheese crescents
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon Season-All
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon basil leaves
  • 1 package crescent refrigerator rolls


Combine cheese and seasonings. Open rolls and spread cheese mixture over each. Roll as directed on package. Put on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes in 350 (F) oven. Makes 8.

Sizzle Season - Retro picnic recipes from 1979 (1)

Spinach mimosa salad
  • 10 ounces fresh spinach
  • 2 cups fresh bean sprouts
  • 1 cup sliced water chestnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms or 6-ounce can, drained
  • 1/2 cup salad oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon each soy sauce, sugar, paprika, and lemon & pepper seasoning
  • 3/4 teaspoon each dry mustard and celery salt
  • 2 tablespoons Imitation Bacon Bits or Chips
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped


Wash spinach well, drain and tear into pieces, discarding stems. Place in salad bowl with washed and drained bean sprouts, water chestnuts and mushrooms. Chill.

In a jar, combine remaining ingredients except bacon bits and eggs. Shake well and let stand 1 hour. Shake again just before using. Pour over salad and toss lightly. Sprinkle with bacon bits and chopped eggs.

Pineapple cheese pie
  • 8-ounces package cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 8 ounces crushed pineapple
  • 4 drops yellow food color
  • 4-1/2 ounces frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 9-inch graham cracker crust


Beat cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Beat in extracts, pineapple with the juice and yellow food color. Fold in whipped topping. Put in graham cracker crust and chill several hours or overnight. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

MORE: 7 delicious old-fashioned pineapple pie recipes: Real classic ways to make this tropical dessert

Sizzle Season - Retro picnic recipes from 1979 (7)

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