Hot Dog! Tips for a Holiday Picnic

Memorial Day marks the beginning of the barbeque and picnic season. Are you ready?

Grilling out this Memorial Day? You won't be alone.

Shirley Schmidt, a registered dietitian with the  has some healthful suggestions if you are planning to fire up the barbecue, including some of her favorite picnic recipes.

Safe and healthful grilling  

  • Looking for alternatives to grilling fatty meats? Veggie burgers, chicken, fish and turkey bratwurst are good choices, however if you are craving a burger, Schmidt, who lives in Royal Oak, suggests purchasing Laura’s Lean Beef, which is available at .
  • When grilling protein-filled meats avoid charring, which can produce carcinogenic chemical compounds. Schmidt says to cook meat over low heat for a longer period of time to avoid charring.
  • It’s OK to precook meat before throwing it on a grill, however, only if you plan on grilling it immediately. “Bacteria multiplies like mad at temperatures between 40-140 degrees, so if you are going to precook meat you must throw it on the grill right away,” Schmidt said.
  • Be sure to scrap off your grill before using it to remove any char bits, which can contain potential chemical carcinogens.
  • Avoid food poisoning by throwing away food not eaten. “People think anything with mayonnaise in it is a problem, but you can get food poisoning from anything, even fruit salad.” When outdoor temperatures are below 90 degrees, it’s safe to leave food out for two hours, Schmidt said. Then throw it away. If the temperature is above 90 degrees, throw food out after one hour.
  • The very old and the very young are the most prone to getting food poisoning, but pregnant women or anyone with a weakened immune system, such as someone being treated for cancer, are at greater risk, too.

Schmidt suggests these helpful websites for people looking for healthful recipes:

Or try one of these recipes for your Memorial Day picnic:

BBQ Roasted Salmon

  • ¼ cup pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 Salmon fillets (6 ounces each)
  • 1 tablespoon Splenda Brown Sugar Blend®
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Combine first three ingredients in Ziploc bag.  Marinate in refrigerator for one hour, turning occasionally.  Remove salmon from bag and discard marinade.

Combine remainder of ingredients and rub over fish and grill until desired doneness.  Serve with lemon slice garnish. 

Makes four servings.  Serving size equals 6-ounces of salmon.

Nutrition Analysis per serving:

Calories:                      280

Fat:                              12 grams

Bacon, Tomato and Balsamic Deviled Eggs

  • 6 eggs
  • Finely shredded romaine lettuce
  • 2 tablespoons lite mayo
  • 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon Splenda®
  • ½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 slices crisp turkey bacon, very finely chopped
  • 1 medium Roma tomato (with seeds removed), finely diced
  • ½ teaspoon paprika

Place eggs in a large pot in a single layer and fill with cold water to cover by one inch.  Bring the water to a boil, cover the pot, and remove from heat. Let the eggs continue to cook in the hot water for 16 minutes.

Drain the hot water and cool the eggs by running cold water over them in the pan.  Peel and halve lengthwise.  Separate the yolks from the whites, place the yolks in a bowl; arrange the egg whites on a serving platter mounded with the shredded romaine.

Finely mash the yolks with a fork.  Add the mayonnaise, yogurt, Splenda®, vinegar, celery salt, and pepper; stirring until thoroughly combined.  Fold in the chopped bacon and diced tomato.  Using a small ice cream scoop, portion the mixture neatly into the egg whites OR spoon the mixture into a plastic bag and snip the corner in order to neatly pipe the filling into the egg whites. 

Sprinkle with paprika.  Chill until serving.

Makes 6 servings.  Serving size equals 2 egg halves.  

Nutrition Analysis per serving:

Calories:                      110

Fat:                              8 grams

Watermelon Salad

  • 3 cups seedless watermelon, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons prepared lite balsamic vinaigrette dressing
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

On a large platter or individual plates, arrange watermelon and feta.  Drizzle with vinaigrette and top with basil.

Makes 6 servings.  Serving size equals ½ cup. 

Nutrition Analysis per serving:

Calories:                      60

Fat:                              2 grams


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