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Delicious food is the cherry on top for most picnics. Whether you’re noshing on grilled burgers or a buffet of cold salads, digging into your favorite picnic food while spending time outdoors with the ones you love is a guaranteed recipe for happiness. Now, let’s make it safe and simple!
As you brainstorm what to put in your picnic basket, keep in mind how you will transport, prepare and serve the food. Does it need to stay cold? Does it need to be heated?
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ FoodSafety.gov website suggests traveling with frozen meat packed in a cooler with ice. Plan for the meat to take approximately 50 percent longer to cook than thawed options. This approach reduces the risk of food poisoning, an unwelcome guest at any picnic!
Any perishable foods should also be packed in a cooler (not touching raw meat) to keep them chilled. This includes egg-salad sandwiches, mayonnaise-based salads and homemade puddings or smoothies made with milk. After serving, place leftovers in the cooler until someone wants a second helping.
If you’re taking something hot a short distance, like Potato Beer Soup with Sausage, put it in a hot beverage thermos. Before enjoying, check the temperature with a thermometer to be sure it’s at least 165 F. Or, transport it chilled, then warm it up over a fire pit or grill at the picnic location.
Finally, bring hand sanitizing wet wipes to use as you prepare and serve the food. If you’re cooking raw meats, two sets of utensils are a must — one for moving raw meat to the grill, and the other for serving cooked meat.
So, what’s best to tuck into a picnic basket? We love a balanced meal featuring all of your favorite dishes! Think of including a protein, a vegetable, a fruit, a grain and of course dessert. That’s a food group, right?
Sometimes it’s fun to run with a theme. You could opt for classic picnic fare featuring brats and potato salad, an Italian inspired meal with antipasti and a noodle salad or even a play on colors, choosing a variety of produce that represents each color of the rainbow. Here are a few ideas:
As you plan your outdoor meal, keep it simple and delicious. Think lighter fare made with fresh seasonal ingredients and you simply can’t go wrong. As you prepare, be sure to stock up on a2 Milk® to use in your recipes — from soup to salad dressing — creamy goodness awaits! Bon appétit!