Summer Picnic Recipes for the Whole Family to Enjoy

Summer Picnic Recipes for the Whole Family to Enjoy

At Mercy Home, even a simple picnic has the potential to be life-changing for our kids. No, not only because our food is just that good. But also because Mercy Home is always serving our kids with a community of support and friendship. One of the ways that we promote this is through our Walsh Campus BBQ. Each summer, the men of Mercy Home’s staff hosts this event at our all-girl’s Walsh Campus. 

“The BBQ was a yearly tradition that allowed the youth at the Walsh Campus to interact positively with men who could model healthy interactions and relationships,” said Marc Velasquez, Mercy Home’s Director of MercyWorks and Spiritual Development.  “It has always been a good time for everyone.”

A man wearing a Mercy Home shirt prepares the grill for a barbecue.

This opportunity for our girls was paused during the Covid-19 pandemic, but we are so delighted to safely bring back this special Mercy Home tradition. Still, what would a picnic be without something delicious to eat while soaking up the summer sun? Below are some of our Head Chef, Alex Carter’s, favorite kid-friendly seasonal recipes that are perfect for a backyard barbeque or picnic.

Grilled Crostini with Roasted Cherries, Goat Cheese & Basil

To kick your picnic off on the right foot, we’re suggesting this delicious mix of sweet and savory. This appetizer features flavorful hints of basil, cherries and lemon that’s bound to be a crowd favorite!


  • 1 french baguette, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch slices

For the roasted cherries:

  • 4 cups fresh dark sweet cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

For the goat cheese:

  • 8 ounces goat cheese log

To garnish:

  • Fresh basil ribbons


  1. First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add the pitted and halved cherries to the pan, then drizzle with olive oil, maple syrup and lemon zest; toss together then spread the cherries into a single layer. Bake for 25-30 minutes until cherries are nice and juicy.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat the grill to 400 degrees F or medium high heat. Grill each side of the crostini for approximately 2 minutes or until slightly golden brown, watching carefully so they crostini do not burn. Set aside onto a platter.
  4. Then, once the crostini are cool enough to safely handle, top each one with a smear of goat cheese, followed by a spoonful of roasted cherries and their juices. Finish off the crostini with a sprinkling of torn basil. Crostini are best served immediately.

Grilled Garlic Fingerling Potatoes

Next, serve up a side dish that tastes like a main event. These fingerling potatoes just might be the star of the barbeque! Looking to add some color to your plate? Opt for rainbow fingerling potatoes. 


  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes (gold or rainbow fingerlings are lovely!)
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste


For the grilling method:

  1. Preheat grill to 400 degrees
  2. Next, wash your potatoes, then pat them dry.
  3. After, place potatoes in a large bowl, then drizzle them with olive oil, garlic powder and salt and pepper.
  4. Then, place potatoes onto a large piece of foil, then add another large piece of foil on top. Seal the edges by folding a piece of foil together. Use a fork or knife to poke a hole at the top of the foil to allow some steam to escape.
  5. Finally, lace over direct heat on the preheated grill and grill for approximately 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. This will vary depending on how large your fingerling potatoes are. Serve immediately.

Dilly Greek Yogurt Cucumber Salad

This dish is the perfect opportunity to add a delicious veggie option to your meal. And with these simple ingredients, even the pickiest of eaters will approve. 


  • 4 large cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup 2% plain greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped dill
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey or sugar, to taste
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste


  1. First, add greek yogurt, dill, apple cider vinegar and honey/sugar to a large bowl. Mix together to combine.
  2. Next, add in cucumbers and red onion to the bowl and fold everything together until well combined and the dressing has coated the cucumbers.
  3. Lastly, season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Best if served within 24 hours of making.

Moroccan-Spiced Burgers with Creamy Feta Sauce

The summer BBQ has been a staple of American culture for generations. But don’t let that stop you from incorporating some international flavors. We recommend these delicious Moroccan-inspired burgers that are just as good as they sound. 


For the burgers:

  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1/4 cup very finely diced red onion
  • ¼ cup diced cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the Feta Sauce: 

  • 8 ounces  feta cheese
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt (6 ounces; 170g)

For assembly:

  • 4 hamburger buns of choice, toasted if desired
  • Butterhead lettuce
  • Sliced red onion


  1. First make your feta sauce so it’s ready to go once your burgers are done cooking.
  2. Next, preheat the grill to medium high heat (about 400 degrees F). Brush the grates with olive oil to prevent sticking.
  3. Make the burgers by adding the ground beef, diced red onion, cilantro, honey, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and salt and pepper to a large bowl. Mix with your hands until evenly combined. Divide into 4 equal portions and shape into 1/3 inch patties.
  4. Then, Grill over medium-high heat (around 400 degrees F) for 6-8 minutes per side or until burgers are cooked through and a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F.
  5. Finally, to serve burgers, top with feta sauce, and either place red onion and lettuce on top or bottom. Serve immediately. Great with sweet potato fries or fresh fruit!
The Mercy Home girls are running around the garden playing with a soccerball.

We hope you give these recipes a try as you’re spending another wonderful summer with those you love most! Thanks to our generous donors and dedicated staff, we can continue to share sweet moments like these with our Mercy Home family. 

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