As a public health professional, everything I see is through the lens of better health. “What can we do and make it healthier,” or ‘what does this mean for our health,” or “is this healthy.” This of course includes FOOD! I am not a dietitian or a chef – but have friends that are – just someone who loves health both professionally and personally.
I wanted to share a few recipes that have been shared with me which I absolutely LOVE for a picnic. I also can share a GREAT picnic basket that is INSULATED and helps us put into practice all of those food safety tips we learned from my colleague, Dr. Janie Burney who IS a licensed dietitian, professor at the University of Tennessee’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, and the guru on anything related to foods and food safety. If you haven’t read her article yet, Keeping Your Picnic Safe, be sure and go back and read it in this month’s NFD.
Here are a few picnic baskets AND recipes that you might consider using – SAFELY, with Dr. Burney’s tips – for your next picnic. Bon apetite!
This basket is INSULATED, which means it is better for keeping our food at the right temperature. The wicker and woven baskets are PRETTY, but not as good as keeping foods at the right temps.
Amazon makes one, too.
I absolutely love my cousin Glenda’s (another licensed dietitian) recipe for chicken salad. It is so easy, that even a non-cook like me can make it!
Glenda’s Chicken Salad for Non-Cooks
4 cups chopped chicken breast
1 cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped onion
1 to 1/12/ cups mayonnaise (I like to use “light”)
½ tsp salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon curry
*Note: I usually substitute garlic salt for the paprika and curry!
Blend all ingredients. Use more of less according to taste. A food processor is great to chop the chicken and vegetables!
Refreshing Watermelon Mint Salad
1 medium-sized watermelon cut into bite-size chunks
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
3 tablespoons of fresh mint, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons of your favorite vinaigrette salad dressing
In a large bowl, add the watermelon, feta, and mint. Drizzle the vinaigrette salad dressing on top and toss lightly to combine. Put in a beautiful glass bowl and enjoy!
Remember these tips for your picnic as well as those that Dr. Burney shared in her NFD article.
- The coldest part of your picnic basket is on the bottom. Pack the most perishable foods such as meat, dairy, or anything with eggs, on the bottom.
- Put ice packs throughout the cooler.
- Don’t put your cooler in a hot car trunk! It’s just too hot, so store your picnic basket in the shade.
- An insulated picnic basket does a much better job than a woven one at keeping foods cold.
Image courtesy of SOMMAI at FreeDigitalPhotos.net