This was a day on the job that I had been looking forward to. One where my skills in the kitchen got to mix with my day job as Health Promotional Specialist at the University of Kentucky Health and Wellness Program.
Our two dietitians, Karen and Helen, dietetic intern, Monica and I hosted a parent/child cooking class,"Kids Can Cook". We designed the class to give our participants the chance to introduce the basics of cooking to a child in their life.
Helen and Karen usually host a couple of cooking classes a year, but since this theme was focused around kids, they asked me to jump in and help. I took this as a compliment! They knew how I managed the energy and personalities of the girls at my daughter's cooking birthday party, so I guess they thought I might be able to give some insight to this group, too. This class was going to be as easy as pie since the kids were going to have an adult with them.
We are lucky to be able to use a large teaching kitchen on campus but did have to limit the class to 8 parent/child pairs. The class was so popular we even had a waiting list! We ended up with all girls ranging from ages 7-12 and assigned each pair with either one or two items to cook, depending on the age and previous experience. Here's what we had set up for the groups to cook.
Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes
Breakfast Burritos (See recipe below)
Honey Mustard Yogurt Chicken Salad
Falafel with Tahini Sauce
Spaghetti and Marinara Sauce with Bison Meatballs
Sweet and Sour Tofu Stir- Fry (See recipe below)
Phyllo Wrapped Asparagus
Sweet Potato Fries
Sounds like a lot, but it all worked flawlessly! The girls and parents were wonderful to work with. I think we pushed some of the participants outside their comfort zone when it came to the foods and prepping involved for some of the dishes. Walking around the kitchen, it was great to hear the girls show such excitement telling us how they had been looking forward to this class all week. They had some with experience baking, but most of them had never really done a lot of the prep work on their own. I was proud to see many of the parents step away and let the girls do the work on their own, well- almost minus the few sharp knives on the counters.
The evening ended with nothing but smiles and pride! No burns, cuts or failed food were found. The falafel did flop but the dad, daughter duo had it all under control. As the students all lined up to show off their work, my soul was happy! What an amazing night!!! Here are some more photos from the event.
Monica, the magnificent intern introducing her cutting terms and herbs for the students to smell and taste.
Look at the pride and feeling of accomplishment.
Ready to show off their hard work...and taste it too!
Here are some of the contributions I had to add to the class. Since we've all tried these out I guess it might be nice of me to share them with you all too.
1 tbsp canola oil
½ cup onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup red or green pepper, diced
1 cup fresh spinach, torn into small pieces
3 eggs, beaten
½ cup milk (you can use skim but half and half works nicely)
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp cumin
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack cheese for a spicier taste
4 whole wheat tortillas
Favorite salsa or pico de gallo
In large skillet heat oil and add onion. Cook until nice and soft. Toss peppers and garlic in with onion and let cook for about 3 minutes. Add spinach and let it wilt. In small bowl beat eggs, milk and spices together. Pour in skillet and mix with onion mixture. Let cook for about 5-7 minutes on medium heat trying not to stir or move the skillet. Take spoon and carefully scramble eggs. Add cheese to scrambled eggs and cover skillet to let the cheese melt. Once cheese is melted remove eggs from skillet
Spread tortilla on plate and add a large spoonful of egg mixture in center. Carefully fold and roll tortilla. Serve with salsa and avocado on top.
Sweet and Sour Stir Fry with Tofu
1 can (8 ounces) pineapple chunks in juice (no sugar added), drained (juice reserved)
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp chili pepper flakes
Tofu and Veggies
1 block (about 14 Oz.) Extra-firm Tofu
1 tbsp vegetable oil
6 scallions, white and green parts separated, cut 1-inch lengths
2 bell peppers, seeds and cut into thin slices
1 cup sugar snap peas
1 cup broccoli, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and cut in matchstick pieces
In a small saucepan, heat together 1/3 cup pineapple juice, vinegar, soy sauce, tomato paste, cornstarch, pepper flakes and 1/4 cup water. Reduce heat to simmer.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Sautee tofu in oil. Let cook for 3-5 minutes on each side allowing the tofu to slightly brown. Remove from skillet and place on plate.
In hot skillet, add scallion whites and other vegetables; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
Add tofu and pineapple chunks. Whisk sauce; add to skillet. Bring to a simmer; cook until sauce is heated. Add diced scallion greens before serving.