June 5th, 2020

From Our Table: Pack your picnic with nutritional power

By medicinehatnews on June 18, 2019.

 There are so many wonderful things about spring and summer and one of them is eating outside in the warmth of the sun. Last year my son Josiah and his friend Steven added on to our deck in the back yard. It is absolutely beautiful and we have been using it a lot. Most of our meals have been outside as the spring air has warmed up. In fact we were even eating outside the other day and stayed out through a few raindrops. We are die hards! They didn’t last long so it was all good. 

When our kids were younger we went on a lot of picnics. Medicine Hat has some really pretty parks and we loved going to them, letting the kids run and play, meeting friends and family and enjoying delicious food in the beautiful outdoors. Food seems to taste better sitting outside in the warmth of the sun. 

Of course food safety is essential all the time especially for picnics. Any fresh foods must be kept cool using a cooler and ice packs. For hot foods it’s best to cook to a food safe temperature on site using a portable barbecue or cooking over an open fire. 

The attached recipes are nutritionally power packed and delicious as breakfast, lunch or a snack. They work well for taking in your lunch or would be perfect as part of a picnic. And by the way, who says picnics are only for lunch or supper?  Why not do a breakfast or brunch picnic adventure and this recipe would be a fabulous fit. It would also be delicious served warm in your own back yard. 

I hope you are taking time to enjoy the beautiful colours, sites and smells of spring. It’s such a wonderful time of year.

Joanne Smith is a registered dietitian.

Swiss Chard Frittata in a Pita

Serves 2

4 eggs

1 Tbsp water

1 tsp olive oil 

1-2 cloves minced garlic 

2 cups packed chopped Swiss chard (Can substitute spinach, kale or other greens such as collard or mustard)

2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil or 1/2 tsp dried 

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 small 6-inch pita breads

1. In a small bowl whisk together eggs and water, set aside. 

2.  In a small skillet heat oil over medium high heat. Add onions and garlic, cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in chard and basil, it will cook down, cook for 3-4 minutes or until chard is wilted. Remove from pan and set aside. 

3.  Add half the egg mixture and half the chard mixture to the pan and cook over medium heat until browned on the bottom but not quite set on the top, about 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Flip frittata over and cook 1-2 minutes or until browned and completely set. Remove from pan and cut in half. Repeat procedure with remaining ingredients to make second frittata. 

4.  Cut pitas in half and place frittata halves inside each half. Serve if eating warm. If packing for lunch let egg mixture cool slightly before placing in pita, wrap and place in fridge until packing in a cooler or lunch bag to transport. 

Delicious served with Salsa Fresca. Pack separately and add when eating. 

Salsa Fresca 

1 cup diced seeded tomato

1 cup diced cucumber 

1/3 cup chopped red onions

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro 

2 Tbsp lime juice

Salt and pepper to taste

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