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Cooking Matters Michigan

Empowering families with the skills, confidence and knowledge to prepare healthy and affordable meals

Volunteer Spotlight: Mike Muysenberg

Rebecca Blauw

SAM_0062The chef encourages participants to make healthy protein choices during a grocery store tour.

The Cooking Matters team at Gleaners is excited welcome former Operation Frontline volunteer Mike Muysenberg back to the Detroit area.  Chef Mike was one of our earliest go-to culinary instructors before he moved away several years ago.  It is wonderful to have him back in the classroom!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I have over 36 years Professional Cooking experience. After a Chef’s Apprenticeship right out of high school, I traveled with Marriott, Omni and Westin hotels to Florida, Kentucky, and New York City. Back in the Detroit area, I gained lots of experience at Joe Muers Seafood, The St. Regis Hotel, and The Summit Restaurant at the top of the Renaissance Center. With a great love of cooking for others, I am looking forward to continuing my career in the Detroit Metro area.

More importantly, I am a proud father of 2 boys: Michael, 19, is enjoying his second year  of college on the Dean’s List at Schoolcraft Community College, pursuing a criminal justice degree while working in the loss prevention department at Kroger. His younger brother Matthew, 16, is in his sophomore year in high school, and has aspirations of becoming a chef himself.

How did you first get involved in Operation Frontline?

I first got interested in volunteering while working as Executive Chef at the Hotel St. Regis.   Enjoying some professional success made me want to share some of my skills with those that could benefit from them.

Do you have any good stories about your early volunteer days?

Just great memories of the nice people I’ve met along the way.

What do you look forward to the most now that you are volunteering with us again?

The next class!

  Have you noticed any changes in the program?

Yes. Lots of streamlining and focus on the important points. Great improvements!

What do you think is the best part of Cooking Matters?

The hands-on, open and relaxed atmosphere of the program within which the participants are made to feel comfortable, and learning can easily take place.

Do you have a favorite recipe you would like to share with the other volunteers?

Although not really a specific recipe, this idea has proven successful with many class attendees and with my family too. I call it:

Almost Free Vegetable Soup

Ingredients:

Leftover Vegetables  (See Note)                               1 Gal.

Butter or oil                                                               4 Tbs.

Onion, diced                                                               2 cups

(and any diced fresh root vegetables, like carrot, celery, turnip, etc.)

Diced Tomato                                                             2 Cups

( fresh or canned)

Water                                                                          1 gal.

(or beef, chicken or vegetable stock, tomato juice, or any combination)

Salt/Pepper                                                                  To Taste

Seasoning ideas:                                                           2 Tbs.

( fresh or dried herbs, minced garlic, bullion cube, soy sauce, Worchestershire sauce, etc.)

Optional additions:                                                    2 cups

(Cooked rice, beans, or pasta)

Method:

All quantities are very flexible, with great success. Sauté onions in butter or oil until brown. Add water (or other choices) and Leftover Vegetables, bring to boil, and simmer 15 min. Add any optional items, Simmer 5 min. Taste, adjust seasonings, Serve or chill.

Notes:

Any vegetables, leftover from family meals,Saved in a gallon plastic bag in freezer until full. (You will be surprised how quickly your bag fills with what would normally be discarded.)

In the first step, the longer you cook the onions, the better your soup will be.

Made in larger quantities and frozen,(try qt. or gal. plastic bags frozen flat and stacked like cards in freezer) this soup is a quick and thrifty meal, and a great leftover magnet: add leftover proteins like cooked chicken, ground beef, or some shredded cheese and serve with crusty bread for a very satisfying meal. Enjoy!