Celebrate National Picnic Month

From Custer Health

July is National Picnic Month – and in our neck of the woods, this month is the perfect time for a picnic. Take advantage of the warmth and sunshine, and take your lunch outdoors, or pack a picnic for the whole family.

But before you do, make sure you follow some basic tips to make sure your picnic is fun and healthy. Here are a few tips, from the NDSU Extension Service:

Keep it Clean!

If your picnic destination doesn’t have a source of safe drinking wa­ter, bring water or moist tow­elettes for cleaning hands and surfaces. Always wash your hands with warm, soapy water for 20 sec­onds before and after handling food.

Be sure raw meat and poultry are wrapped securely to prevent their juices from cross-contaminating other foods in the cooler.

Pack enough clean utensils for both eating and serving food. Don’t use the same utensil or platter for raw and cooked meat and poultry.

Keep Cold Foods Cold!

Keep perishable foods cool by transporting them in an insulated cooler with plenty of ice or frozen gel packs and pack the cooler just before leaving home.

Keep the cooler in an air-condi­tioned vehicle during travel and in the shade at the picnic site. Avoid trans­porting the cooler in your vehicle’s trunk.

Avoid frequently opening coolers containing perishable food. It’s a good idea to store beverages and perishable foods in separate coolers.

Keep Hot Foods Hot!

Food should not be left out of the cooler or off the grill more than two hours (one hour when outside temper­ature is above 90 degrees).

Remember to pack a food thermometer to check the doneness of meat.

For more picnic tips, and ideas for pic­nic foods, visit our website, www.custer-health.com.

Five-Spice Turkey and Lettuce Wraps


1/2 cup(s) water
1/2 cup(s) instant brown rice
2 teaspoon(s) sesame oil
1 pound(s) 93%-lean ground turkey
1 tablespoon(s) minced fresh ginger
1 large red bell pepper, finely diced
1 cup(s) water chestnuts, rinsed and chopped
1/2 cup(s) reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoon(s) hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon(s) five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
2 head(s) Boston lettuce, leaves separated
1/2 cup(s) chopped fresh herbs, such as cilantro, basil, mint and/or chives
1 large carrot, shredded


  1. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add rice; reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 5 min­utes. Remove from the heat.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add turkey and ginger; cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon, until the turkey is cooked through, about 6 minutes. Stir in the cooked rice, bell pepper, water chestnuts, broth, hoisin sauce, five-spice powder and salt; cook until heated through, about 1 minute.
  3. To serve, spoon portions of the turkey mixture into lettuce leaves, top with herbs and carrot and roll into wraps.

Gnocchi with Zucchini Ribbons and Parsley Brown Butter 


1 pound(s) fresh or frozen gnocchi
2 tablespoon(s) butter
2 medium shallots, chopped
1 pound(s) zucchini (about 3 small), very thinly sliced lengthwise
1 pound(s) cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
1/4 teaspoon(s) grated nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup(s) grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup(s) chopped fresh parsley


  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Cook gnocchi according to package instructions until they float, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until the butter is beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add shallots and zucchini and cook, stirring often, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add cherry tomatoes, salt, nutmeg and pepper and continue cooking, stirring often, until the tomatoes are just starting to break down, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in Parmesan and parsley. Add gnocchi and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

* Recipes from Eating Well magazine

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