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Healthy Home Cooking
Summer Favorites

by Healthy Exchanges

Hi! Thanks for joining us in the kitchen again, where the cooking is easy and the food is both healthy and tasty! Enjoy!

It’s time to pack up the coolers and fire up the grill for those summertime picnics and barbeques. Summer is prime time for contamination and food-borne illnesses, but with planning and organization you can avoid these and enjoy foods that travel well and are good for you.

Summer food tips:
Defrost fish, meat and poultry thoroughly so it will cook more evenly on the grill. Thaw securely wrapped food in cold water or the refrigerator.

Pack your cooler properly.
Use an insulated cooler and well-wrapped ice or freezer packs to keep it at or below 40F.

Wrap food for safety. Before you put raw meat, fish, and poultry in your cooler, separate them in tightly sealed plastic containers or zippered plastic bags. Never mix raw and
cooked foods.

Make sure your hands are clean. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Bring extra plastic containers and store leftovers in the cooler immediately after eating. No need to waste food.

You have managed to take off a few pounds and have gotten more serious about controlling your diabetes, right? Your next concern is how to choose the right foods at that temptation-filled summer picnic, potluck or family reunion.

Remember your priorities: You’re going to gather with family and friends. What do you really crave from that over-laden table? In your mind, divide the food into three distinct categories:

First is the healthy food. It’s more than fresh fruit or vegetables. Maybe there’s some thinly-sliced lean ham or roast beef, or a pasta salad that doesn’t look like it’s drowning in mayonnaise. What about a slice of homemade bread?

Second is the “anytime & anywhere” food. These are foods that really aren’t special because you can have them any time. Potato chips, baked beans and store-bought cookies—Why bother?

Third is “memory” food. When you think of home, what foods come to mind? These are your “memory” foods. You’ll want to taste those to enjoy the sentimental nature of the gathering.

Choose the bulk of your meal from the healthy category. Skip over the “anytime & anywhere” foods. Select two or three of the “memory” foods, and take just a taste of each. Then find a nice location far away from the food table to enjoy your meal. Start by eating the healthy foods and savor the “memory” foods last. When you finish, get involved in catching up with your friends and family. If you decide to “walk off your meal” you certainly won’t be going alone; there is always someone who also needs that walk and it’s a great time to talk.

Here are a couple of recipes that will travel well with you to the picnic as long as you follow the hints for packing your cooler and storing your food.

Picnic Macaroni Salad

Bowls of macaroni and potato salad on a picnic table.3 cups cold cooked elbow macaroni, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup shredded Kraft reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
1 full cup (6 ounces) diced extra-lean fat-free ham
1/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped fresh tomato
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
1/2 cup Kraft fat-free mayonnaise
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In a large bowl, combine macaroni, Cheddar cheese, ham, onion, celery, and tomatoes. In a small bowl, combine pickle relish, mayonnaise, mustard and black pepper. Add mayonnaise mixture to macaroni mixture. Mix well to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Gently stir again just before serving.

Hint: 2 1/2 cups uncooked macaroni usually cooks to about 3 cups.

Serves 6 (1 full cup) – Each serving equals:
204 Calories, 4 gm Fat, 12 gm Protein, 30 gm Carbohydrate, 644 mg Sodium, 119 mg Calcium, 2 gm Fiber
Diabetic Exchanges: 1 1/2 Starch, 1 Meat, 1 Vegetable
Carb Choices: 2

Peach Patchwork Cobbler

1 (4-serving) package JELL-O sugar-free vanilla cook-and-serve
pudding mix
1 (4-serving) package JELL-O sugar-free lemon gelatin
1 1/4 cups water
3 cups (6 medium) peeled and sliced fresh peaches
1 (7.5-ounce) can Pillsbury refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons Splenda Granular

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with butter-flavored cooking spray. In a large skillet, combine dry pudding mix, dry gelatin, and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and starts to boil. Remove from heat. Stir in peaches. Set aside to slightly cool. Meanwhile, separate biscuits and cut each biscuit into 4 pieces. Gently fold biscuit pieces into peach mixture. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. In a small bowl, combine nutmeg and Splenda. Evenly sprinkle mixture over top. Bake for 45 minutes. Place baking dish on a wire rack and allow to cool. Cut into 6 servings.

Hint: Good served cold with 1 tablespoon Cool Whip Lite or warm with 1/4 cup sugar and fat-free ice cream. If using either, be sure to count the few additional calories.

Serves 6 – Each serving equals:
145 Calories, 1 gm Fat, 4 gm Protein, 30 gm Carbs,
417 mg Sodium, 5 mg Calcium, 3 gm Fiber
Diabetic Exchanges: 1 Starch, 1 Fruit
Carb Choices: 2

We hope you enjoyed our time together in the kitchen. Remember, if you’d like us to revise one of your family favorites so it’s healthier, send your request to: Healthy Exchanges PO Box 80, DeWitt, IA 52742. Also, be sure to visit our Web site at for more “common folk” healthy recipes to try.

Until next time . . ..