Archive for April, 2011

$10 Challenge: 5 ingredients, 2 different meals

These basic, healthy ingredients can be used in many different meals. I am going to make Asian lettuce wraps and a fruit smoothie.

Tomorrow I’m going with a Cooking Matters for Adults class to Aldi for the grocery store trip and $10 challenge. The $10 Challenge is a fun way to put participants’ newfound cooking and budgeting knowledge to the test: Shoppers have a $10 budget to buy one healthy ingredient from each food group.
I went to the store today to give myself the $10 challenge and found some great stuff.
I already had an idea to make Asian lettuce wraps because I have leaf lettuce and cilantro at home as well as the seasonings (soy sauce, ginger, etc). I wasn’t sure what how to fulfill the other parts of the challenge, though, so I came in with a working list (fruit, low-fat cheese and brown rice) and decided to let prices and stock guide me.
Unfortunately there was no low-fat cheese or brown rice so I changed my game plan, selecting nonfat vanilla yogurt and thin whole wheat spaghetti. I figured I could make a fruit smoothie to drink and make noodles with peanut butter sauce (both recipes are personal faves from the CMA book!). I’m also planning to make sesame-ginger asparagus on the side.
After buying the food I realized I could make a whole different meal with the ingredients: whole wheat spaghetti with turkey meatballs with a yogurt parfait for dessert. I could toss the asparagus in a lemon vinaigrette for a side dish.
Now it’s your turn to take our $10 challenge: What five ingredients would you buy and what meal would you make?

April 29, 2011 at 2:50 am 1 comment

Cooking Matters for Teens: Extreme Food Makeover

Chelsea and Bianca get ready to present their meal to the judges.

Cooking Matters in Southeast Michigan was one of the local program partners to pilot Cooking Matters for Teens, which is being revised.

One of the new changes includes a cooking challenge at the end to test the teens’ knowledge of healthy cooking. And wow, did they ever deliver!

Big Daddy Chefz planned to lighten up the usually heavy dish of Chicken Alfredo with a fresh fruit smoothie on the side. Their rival, Team Verduras, decided to make a chicken wrap wtih baked chicken and whole-wheat tortilla, served with sweet potato fries and chocolate-covered strawberries on the side.

Big Daddy Chefz presented a plate of healthy alfredo with a fruit smoothie on the side.

So whose cuisine reigned supreme?

The judges, which included chef volunteers Ina Cheatem, Stewart McWilliams and Jason Smith, were torn over the dishes. They said both teams did a great job with the challenge. On one hand, Big Daddy Chefz’s healthy alfredo was super tasty but lacked vegetables. Team Verduras had a colorful plate packed with vegetables and even a sweet treat but there was no dairy.

In the end, the trio went with the most nutritious: Team Verduras!

In the end, Team Verduras edged past Big Daddy Chefz for the cuisine crown because their plate was more nutritious.

Check out more photos on our Facebook page.

The Extreme Food Makeover is so much fun and a great way to get teens cooking. I look forward to more Extreme Food Makeovers!

April 21, 2011 at 8:15 pm 1 comment

Volunteer spotlight: Michele Kawabe

Michele Kawabe wanted to be a dietitian to inspire others.

“I was really overweight for many years,” says Michele, who became a registered dietitian after graduating from Wayne State University in 2009. “I wanted to be a motivation for others. If I could do it, so could they.”

Michele, who lives in West Bloomfield and grew up in Sterling Heights, changed her major from nursing to dietetics, earning a degree from Wayne State University. She first heard about Cooking Matters while she was a student when Rachelle Bonelli (former CM coordinator and current director of program services at Gleaners Community Food Bank) but her schedule was too jam-packed at the time. Once she landed a job in the field, she was looking for opportunities outside of clinical practice and reached out to us.

The desire to help others fits in well with her volunteer work with Cooking Matters. Michele, who works with inpatients with a local hospital system, says the best part about class is when people come up to her afterward to tell her how much she has helped them.

She said she enjoys building relationships with participants over the course of a class series and witnessing their progress week to week.

“The feedback is very gratifying to me,” she says, recalling a participant in a recent class at Livonia Head Start where the woman told her she had lost weight by week 3 by adopting some of the positive changes discussed in class.

“Plus, it’s fun! Everyone in the class gets a chance to be involved and is able to take something away from the classes, and that includes me. … Recently a participant introduced me to freekeh, which is a grain used in Middle Eastern cooking – plus (I) get the heads up on some great restaurants in the area (had a delicious meal at Chef Stewart’s Mind, Body, & Spirits in Rochester not too long ago).”

She was recently accepted to WSU’s Master’s in Public Health program so she’ll be hitting the books again in the fall. Her focus will be in Health Promotion and Education. “I have a very hectic work schedule, but in my free time enjoy gardening, cooking (can’t recall meeting a recipe I haven’t tried to tinker with and make my own…), and I love to eat! I’m an avid walker (gotta burn it off…), and I’ve managed to talk my husband into taking tennis lessons with me this summer.”

Michele shared with us her recipe for kasha with mushrooms and onions (below). Make sure to check out her variation on this healthy grain recipe!

Thank you, Michele, for all you do for us at Cooking Matters in Southeast Michigan!

Kasha with mushrooms and onions
Recipe courtesy of Michele Kawabe
1 cup kasha (buckwheat groats)
1 egg
2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon of butter
1 medium onion, chopped
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced

Bring stock to a boil in pot.
In bowl, beat egg with a fork. Add buckwheat and mix well to combine.
Heat sauté pan over medium heat. Using dry heat, add buckwheat/egg mixture, stirring constantly until mixture is dry and separates easily (should take about 3 minutes).
Add buckwheat mixture to boiling stock. Lower heat, cover and simmer until all liquid is absorbed (note: cooking time will vary depending on brand and coarseness of the buckwheat—should take 7-10 minutes but may take longer).
Let stand for 5 minutes then fluff with a fork.
In separate sauté pan, melt butter, sauté mushrooms and onions until tender.
Fold vegetables into fluffed buckwheat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Variation: instead of mushrooms and onions, try using scallions and nuts. Sauté as above until scallions are tender and nuts smell toasty. The nuts complement the flavor of the buckwheat nicely; I particularly like pecans in this recipe.

April 4, 2011 at 12:02 pm Leave a comment

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USDA Statement

This material was partially funded by the State of Michigan with federal funds from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by way of the Michigan Nutrition Network at the Michigan Fitness Foundation. This work is supported in part by the Michigan Department of Human Services, under contract number ADMIN-10-99011. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Michigan Fitness Foundation or the Michigan Department of Human Services. In accordance with Federal law and USDA policy, these institutions are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, political beliefs or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720- 6382 (TTY). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides nutrition assistance to people with low income. It can help you buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more contact the toll free Michigan Food Assistance Program Hotline at (855) ASK-MICH. Space-Limited USDA/DHS/MNN Credit Statement This material was partially funded by the State of Michigan with federal funds from the United States Department of Agriculture Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by way of the Michigan Nutrition Network at the Michigan Fitness Foundation. These institutions are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, political beliefs or disability. People who need help buying nutritious food for a better diet call the toll free Michigan Food Assistance Program Hotline: (855) ASK-MICH.