By Chef Jill McCollum, CC

By Chef Jill McCollum, CC

No matter where you live in Central Arkansas, you are only minutes from the wide open spaces of a city park. Downtown, midtown, north, south, east, west, southwest - our state is nestled among a profusion of green open spaces and natural areas set aside for recreational and educational benefit for the people who live here to enjoy at their leisure.
So take a day off work, put sunscreen on the kids, and pack a picnic in the park!

Here is a list of just some of our local parks:

Bainbridge Park - Consists of 6 acres located at the end of Kensington Street in West Conway. It included one pavilion, three basketball goals, a small playground, and a large parking area. This park is also an entrance to the Tucker Creek Walking/Bike Trail.

Beaverfork Lake - Located in 1,200 acres off of Hwy 25 in northern Conway. The lake has areas for swimming, boating, and fishing. It also includes areas that can be rented for barges. This park has several picnic tables with grills, one large pavilion, and one small pavilion. There is also a large handicap accessible fishing dock.

Laurel Park - Sits on acres and rests between Robinson Avenue and Prince Street across from Conway High School West Campus in central Conway. This park includes a large state-of-the-art playground, three basketball goals, four fenced and lighted tennis courts, and one soccer field. In addition, this park includes one pavilion, one large restroom, a jogging track, and three small parking lots.

Spicy Turkey Burgers

2 pounds lean ground turkey
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
2 fresh green chili peppers, diced
1 medium red onion, diced
½ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon ground dry mustard
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 dash Worcestershire sauce

Preheat the grill for high heat. In a bowl, mix all ingredients. Form the mixture into 8 burger patties. Lightly oil the grill grate. Place turkey burgers on the grill and cook 5 to 10 minutes per side, until well done.

Spinach and Strawberry Salad

2 bunches spinach, rinsed
4 cups sliced strawberries
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup white wine vinegar
½ cup white sugar
¼ teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

In a large bowl, toss together the spinach and strawberries. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, sugar, paprika, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds. Pour over the spinach and strawberries, and toss to coat.

Orange Crush Homemade Ice Cream

1 two-liter bottle Orange Crush
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1 small can crushed pineapples
Juice of one lemon

Mix all ingredients together and place in ice cream machine. Follow ice cream machine directions.