By Bethany Booth
There is no better way to eat-out than a refreshing picnic on a brilliant sunny day. Whether you are up for a giant cooler packed for the family or a romantic basket lunch for two, if you keep these picnic essentials handy and these safety tips in mind, you will be ready anytime to pack up a quick picnic.
Stash a basket or backpack filled with these essentials in the back of your car or in the closet so that you will be all set to picnic on a whim. Also, it is a good idea to keep reusable ice/gel packs in the freezer.
1. Blanket or Tablecloth
2. Plastic Utensils, Cups, Plates, Napkins
3. Hand Sanitizer or Moist Towelettes
4. Garbage Bags for clean up
5. Outdoor Activities: Frisbee, Ball, Cards, Bubbles…etc…
Keep it Simple:
A summer picnic doesn’t need to take a ton of planning or an entire day’s free time. What your family will enjoy is the change of scenery and the time spent together.
Your picnic can be as simple as grabbing a blanket, the peanut butter, a loaf of bread and setting out for the park down the street. On really busy evenings you don’t even have to leave home – a backyard picnic can be just as enjoyable.
There are endless ways to make a sandwich and it is one of the quickest meals to make and one of the easiest to cart around for a picnic. Here are a few interesting and scrumptious recipes to help you enjoy good food along with outdoor family time:
Pack a Pita!
1 avocado, halved and peeled
½ cup chopped cucumber
½ cup chopped carrot
½ cup chopped cauliflower
½ cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup cubed Monterey Jack cheese
¼ cup Italian dressing
4 pita breads
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 chopped tomato
Dice half the avocado. Reserve other half. Gently toss diced avocado, cucumber, carrot, cauliflower, mushrooms, and cheese with Italian dressing. Slit pita breads and separate halfway around by pulling edges apart to form a pocket. Fill each with 1/4 of the mixture. Mash remaining avocado with fork and stir in lemon juice and tomato. Spoon the mashed mixture inside each sandwich.
Makes: 4 pocket sandwiches
Wrap it Up!
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Spicy Mandarin Turkey Wrap
4 (10-inch) whole-wheat flour tortillas
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup mandarin oranges, chopped and drained
¼ tsp. ground chipotle chile pepper
¼ cup sliced green onions
6 ounces deli smoked turkey breast, sliced thin
Spinach leaves, washed and dried with stems removed
Combine cream cheese, chopped mandarin oranges, and chipotle pepper until mixed. Spread some of the mixture on each tortilla. Sprinkle tortillas evenly with green onions. Layer sliced turkey on each tortilla. Top with spinach leaves. Fold wrap envelope-style by folding up the bottom and top edges 2 inches, then folding each side inward. Slice each wrap in half at an angle and serve or pack up for your picnic.
Makes: 4 servings
For the Kids…
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Check out this month’s Family Fun Time article, Cookie Cutter Sandwiches, for fun sandwich ideas for the kids.
Picnic Food Safety Tips:
1. Beware of Food Poisoning. Prepared foods need to be eaten within 2 hours of leaving home. If the outdoor temperature rises above 90 degrees Fahrenheit then the time limit is one hour. Toss all the leftovers, (it is not worth the risk).
2. Take Two Coolers with Plenty of Ice. Have one cooler for drinks and one cooler for perishable food so that every time someone reaches for a drink the food isn’t exposed to warm air.
3. Double Wrap Uncooked Meat. Keep the meat at the bottom of the cooler in tightly sealed bags. Be sure to cook meat within one hour of leaving home. Cook all meat thoroughly.
4. Bring a First Aid Kit. Be prepared to enjoy the outdoors with bandages, bug spray and sunscreen.
5. Wash Your Hands! Before and after handling food be sure to have hand sanitizer or moist towelettes ready.
* DVO welcomes your kitchen hints and cooking or nutrition questions! Email us and we'll post your hints and Q/A's in upcoming newsletters! *