Build Your Own Dressing

Serving Size: 1 teaspoon


  • Choose 3 tablespoons acid
    • Lemon juice
    • Rice vinegar
    • Red wine vinegar
    • Sherry vinegar
    • Balsamic vinegar
    • White wine vinegar
    • Cider vinegar
  • Choose ½ cup or less oil
    • Olive oil
    • Safflower oil
    • Canola oil
    • Vegetable oil
  • Choose ½ teaspoon add-in
    • Herbs
    • Spices
    • Dijon mustard
    • Minced shallots
    • Minced garlic
    • Parmesan cheese


  1. Place all ingredients in a jar or plastic container, and shake to mix together.
  2. Store in refrigerator. Separation is normal. Shake or stir prior to using.

Try these great combinations:

Lemon Vinaigrette

  • 3 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon oregano

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon oregano


Source: Cooking with EFNEP

Chicken and Fruit Salad

Make 8 Servings

Serving Size: 2/3 cup


  • 3 cups cooked chicken, chopped
  • 1 (20 – ounce) can pineapple chunks in juice, drained well
  • 1 (11-ounce) can mandarin oranges, in 100% fruit juice, drained
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup halved seedless grapes
  • 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 large lettuce leaves


  1. in a large bowl, mix gently chicken, pineapple chunks, oranges, celery, and grapes.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix low-fat mayonnaise and black pepper.
  3. Gently stir mayonnaise into chicken mixture,
  4. Cover, and chill in the refrigerator.
  5. To serve, scoop 2/3 cup of chicken salad onto a lettuce leaf.


Picnic Safety

Summer has officially arrived! Like many of you, I like spending time outdoors especially having cookouts, picnics and other activities centered around food. Good food, fun, and family are my summer favorites. But before planning any outdoor food activity, here are a few simple tips to consider to ensure that unwanted bacteria won’t have a place at the table.

Wash Hands Often Bring moist towelettes or soap and water to clean your hands and surfaces often. Also, make sure your cooler is clean.

Keep Raw Meats, Poultry, Seafood and Eggs and Ready-to- Eat Foods Separate
Bring extra plates — one for handling raw foods and another for cooked foods to prevent cross-contamination.
Marinate foods in the refrigerator.
Don’t reuse marinade used on raw meat or poultry unless boiled.
Properly packing a cooler can help reduce cross-contamination that might lead to food poisoning.

Cook to Proper Temperatures
Cook your favorite foods to the right temperature by using a food thermometer; hamburger to at least 160°F and chicken breasts to 165°F.
Never partially grill meat or poultry to finish cooking later.

Refrigerate Promptly below 40°F
Pack food in a well-insulated cooler with plenty of ice or ice packs to keep the temperature below 40°F.
Transport the cooler in the back seat of your air-conditioned car instead of in your hot trunk.
Remove from the cooler only the amount of raw meat that will fit on the grill.
Defrost meat, poultry, and seafood in the refrigerator before taking them to the grill.
Don’t leave food outside in hot weather (90°F or above) for more than one hour.



Stephanie is an Extension Associate for NC EFNEP.



Quick and Easy Summer Salad

Summer is the time when I am looking for great recipes to add to my go-to list. My new found Tomatoes, Onion & Cucumber Salad has been on my rotating list for side-dishes for a few months now, and it’s delicious every time I make it.

It tastes great with everything from grilled fish to chicken. You can also add pasta to this and make a great tasting pasta salad for your next picnic or get-together at home.

The salad is best served at room temperature but tastes excellent otherwise as well. I have made the recipe as is but I have also used red onions and cherry tomatoes because that is what I had on hand that day. However, I reduced the amount of red onion because it is bit overpowering for me. You can choose to edit this recipe to match your liking, and I am sure it will taste great.

Here is the recipe in detail for your reference.


  • 3 Tablespoons  rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper, or more to taste
  • 2 medium cucumber
  • 4 medium tomatoes , cut into 1/2- inch wedges
  • 1 Vidalia onion, or other sweet onion, halved and very thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley, chives and/or tarragon


  • Whisk vinegar, oil, honey, salt and pepper in a larger shallow bowl.
  • Slice the cucumbers into thin rounds. Add the cucumber slices, tomatoes, and onion to the dressing; gently toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.


Neha is a Special Programs Assistant for NC EFNEP

Nutrition information:

  • Per serving: 66 calories; 3 g fat(0 g sat); 2 g fiber; 10 g carbohydrates; 2 g protein; 36  mcg folate; 0 mg cholesterol; 7 g sugars; 1 g added sugars; 838 IU vitamin A; 18 mg vitamin C; 31 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 204 mg sodium; 361 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (30% daily value) 


NC EFNEP’s Peach Pointers

North Carolina peaches are a great summertime fruit.  They are most abundant and least expensive June through September. Learn how to select, store, and prepare them in this short video.

For the recipes featured in the video, check the links below:


Salads with fun shapes

One way to excite your children about salads is to add fun shapes! The Food Network blog uses inexpensive Japanese vegetable cutters to make carrot and cucumber stars:



To find these cutters online, I searched in Google for “Japanese vegetable flower cutter” and lots of options popped up. You can also go to a local Asian grocery store if you have one in your area (also a great place for inexpensive produce!), or look for small metal cookie cutters at the dollar store.