Picnic Perfect

June is bustin' out all over, so plan a picnic and pack some Mushroom and Fontina Meatloaf Muffins to beef up your menu.



Photos by Laura Petrilla

On the shelf of our hallway closet, there lives a vivid-plaid picnic blanket we affectionately call “Heywood” after the flamboyantly dressed sports commentator Heywood Hale Broun. I’m not sure where my wife, Laura, acquired the material, but we’ve been using it for outings to the park or the beach or bike riding for the last 17 years, and Heywood shows no signs of giving out.

You certainly don’t need one of those fancy wicker picnic baskets with leather hinges and special compartments for cutlery and dishes in order to enjoy a little bit of open-air dining. But a little advance planning will ensure that you have tasty foods that will travel well without fear of spoiling.

We’ve all heard horror stories about church picnics where a batch of potato salad sent half the congregation home with food poisoning. People often blame the mayonnaise, but it’s actually the potatoes and eggs themselves that are more supportive of bacterial growth. 

My personal criteria for bucolic dining includes the following: easy to pack and carry; not too messy to eat; tasty when warm or at room temperature. This recipe for meatloaf muffins really fills the bill, and because it is just as easy to make this in larger as in smaller quantities, you can make a big batch of these, wrap them individually and keep them in the freezer for impromptu picnic outings. Now you just have to find a snazzy blanket to spread out on a shady spot in the grass.

To complete the al-fresco dining experience, go to pittsburghmagazine.com and try my recipe for Asian Broccoli Slaw.


MUSHROOM AND FONTINA MEATLOAF MUFFINS

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 cup shredded fontina cheese
  • 1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and sauté the mushrooms until they are tender and have given up their juices. Add the salt and pepper and garlic and cook for another minute. Set aside to cool slightly. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat the egg with the 2 tablespoons of milk. Add the beef, cheese, breadcrumbs and mushroom mixture. Mix lightly but thoroughly. Coat a muffin pan with nonstick spray (or use cupcake liners). Divide the mixture among the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 45 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160 degrees. Remove and let cool before wrapping and storing.
 

 


 

Hot Reads

From Field to Fork

From Field to Fork

We put together this dynamic guide to help you find and engage with the region’s sustainable producers of meat, honey, alcohol, fruits and vegetables.
Sometimes Your Best Friends in Life Aren't on Facebook

Sometimes Your Best Friends in Life Aren't on Facebook

PittGirl wonders if it's still possible to raise kids to be big-hearted people in an age of self-obsession.
Review: Café Zinho

Review: Café Zinho

Seasoned chef and entrepreneur Toni Pais continues to impress folks who dine at his longstanding Mediterranean establishment, Café Zinho.
City Guide: 200+ Fun Things to Do (No Matter Where You Are)

City Guide: 200+ Fun Things to Do (No Matter Where You Are)

We explore every inch of Allegheny County (and beyond) for a look at the communities where we live, work and play.

The 412

The Thunderbolt is Now a Certified Landmark

The Thunderbolt is Now a Certified Landmark

Kennywood’s classic all-wood roller coaster is recognized by the American Coaster Enthusiasts.
Oi, Who’s Ready for Manchester City vs. AC Milan at Heinz Field?

Oi, Who’s Ready for Manchester City vs. AC Milan at Heinz Field?

The English Premier League champions will face off against the Italian giants this Sunday.
Underrated Stuff We Love: Pittsburgh’s Porch Culture

Underrated Stuff We Love: Pittsburgh’s Porch Culture

You never know who you’ll meet right outside your door.
Travel + Leisure Says PNC Park Has One of the Best Views in America

Travel + Leisure Says PNC Park Has One of the Best Views in America

No, not just one of the best views at a ballpark — best views period.

Hot Reads

From Field to Fork

From Field to Fork

We put together this dynamic guide to help you find and engage with the region’s sustainable producers of meat, honey, alcohol, fruits and vegetables.
Review: Café Zinho

Review: Café Zinho

Seasoned chef and entrepreneur Toni Pais continues to impress folks who dine at his longstanding Mediterranean establishment, Café Zinho.
Sometimes Your Best Friends in Life Aren't on Facebook

Sometimes Your Best Friends in Life Aren't on Facebook

PittGirl wonders if it's still possible to raise kids to be big-hearted people in an age of self-obsession.
City Guide: 200+ Fun Things to Do (No Matter Where You Are)

City Guide: 200+ Fun Things to Do (No Matter Where You Are)

We explore every inch of Allegheny County (and beyond) for a look at the communities where we live, work and play.
6 More Things You Might Not Know About Pittsburgh

6 More Things You Might Not Know About Pittsburgh

PittGirl's at it again — this time with a list of a half-dozen fun facts you'll want to mention at your next cocktail party.
'Which Neighborhood Should I Live In?'

'Which Neighborhood Should I Live In?'

We pick the perfect neighborhood for six breeds of ’Burgher.