By: Pamela Redwine
Nutrition and Food
Safety Area Agent
Spending time with your family is so important. Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives we forget about the little people – that is our children. This Fourth of July weekend, slow down and plan something that they would enjoy like maybe a picnic! There are several things to remember to have a safe and enjoyable picnic.
A picnic is fun family time: Indoors or out.
City or county park
Beach, pool, riverside, or lake
Keep Family Picnics Safe at the Plate!
Bring water and soap to wash hands, surfaces, and cutting boards.
Bring a meat thermometer. Use it to grill to safe inside temperature: 160 degrees for burgers; 180 degrees for chicken.
Store chilled foods in a cooler with ice or ice packs
Store uncooked meat, poultry, or fish for grilling in a well-sealed container. Pack it in the bottom of the cooler so juices won’t leak onto other foods.
Put grilled foods on a clean plate, not the plate used for uncooked foods. Disposable paper plates are great!
Keep coolers in the car as you drive, not in the hot trunk. At the picnic, keep them in shade under tree or bench.
Return chilled foods to the cooler right after serving.
Discard leftover meat, chicken, fish, eggs, and foods made with them if left out for one hour.
What’s in Your Picnic Basket?
• Whole fruit, raw finger vegetables (Most can be left at room temperatures for a few hours).
• Dried fruit (raisins, apples, apricots), juice boxes, canned fruit
• Wheat tortillas, bagels, pocket bread, whole-wheat crackers or bread, pretzels, buns
• Nuts, peanut butter, unopened canned meat.
(In a cooler with ice)
Cooked and uncooked chicken, meat, shrimp or fish, hard-cooked eggs; deli-meat
Salads that contain cut-up meats, or vegetables, or fruits
Cheese, string cheese, yogurt, boxed milk
Warm Up Foods
(In an insulated container)
Baked beans, hot dishes (eat within 1 hour)
Turn Family Picnics into Active Family Fun
Explore with a nature scavenger hunt.
Walk or ride bikes on a nature trail.
Play water catch at the beach or pool.
Bring a rubber ball, frisbee, jump rope
Do a city “walk around” to explore.
Kids like to dance. Ask you child to pick music CDs. Pack along a CD player.
Enjoy a pretend picnic!
Young children like to play “pretend”. Make an everyday meal into an indoor pretend picnic. Let you child pick the menu and set the table with colorful napkins, plastic utensils, and paper plates. Let you child invite his/her favorite stuffed animal or doll.
Recipe of the Week
Dress-Up Pasta Salad
*This is an easy recipe that your children will love helping with!
1-pound bow-tie pasta
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons basil pesto
3/4 teaspoon baby bam (recipe below**)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
Optional ingredients to add to salad
Chopped black olives
Chopped sun-dried tomatoes
Red or green bell peppers
Thinly sliced red onion
Other cheeses, such as goat cheese and feta cheese
Bring a large, heavy pot of salted water to a boil over high heat
Add the pasta and return to a low boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook pasta according to the package directions, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking together. Don’t overcook!
Using oven mitts or potholders drain the pasta in a colander set in the sink, pouring away from you. Rinse with cold water until the pasta is cool and allow to drain in the sink for 10 minutes.
Place the pasta in a large mixing bowl.
Toss with the remaining ingredients, stirring well with a large wooden spoon.
If desired, add optional ingredients (above)
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
3 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
Combine and store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
Recipe Source: Emerile Lagasse’s There’s a Chef in My Soup!