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Cooking Matters Michigan

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

Filtering by Tag: Kids

From Novi to nationwide: Ina Cheatem's recipe chosen for publication in cookbook

dorothy hernandez

Last year, Ina Cheatem moved to Novi Community Schools as part of Chefs Move to Schools. This year, she is garnering national recognition for her work with Novi Meadows 6th Grade Upper Elementary School where Ina and her team developed Aztec Grain Salad, which was just selected by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) for publication in the Recipes for Healthy Kids cookbooks!

The Recipes for Healthy Kids Competition is an initiative of Let’s Move! with the support of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Challenge brings together food service staff, chefs, students, and community members to develop creative, nutritious, tasty and kid-approved recipes that schools can easily incorporate into National School Lunch menus. The goal is to help to increase students' intake of: 1) whole grains; 2) dark green and orange vegetables; and 3) dry beans and peas. T

Her Team Recipe was selected by a judging panel as one of the top 30 recipes out of more than 340 recipes submitted as a part of the Recipes for Healthy Kids Competition. The recipe will be published and the team highlighted in cook books for home and school use.

Congrats on your selection Ina!

Here is the recipe: Aztec Grain Salad This South American high-protein grain, combined with aromatic, roasted squash, apples, and dried cranberries is served as a side dish and is a great addition to almost any entrée. Ingredients • 1 3/4 cups of Butternut squash, raw, seeded, peeled, in 1/2 inch cubes (308 gr) • 1 tbsp of Canola Oil (14 gr) • 1 3/4 cups of Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, in 3/4 inch cubes (308 gr) • 1 1/3 cups of Quinoa, white, dry, uncooked (210 gr) • 1/3 cup of Dried cranberries, sweetened (42 gr) • 2 1/2 tbsp of Orange juice concentrate (30 gr) • 1 1/4 tbsp of Olive oil (15 gr) • 1 tsp of Honey (7 gr) • 1/3 tsp of Dijon mustard (1.6 gr) • 1/10 tsp of Salt (0.4 gr) • 1 pinch of Ground pepper (0.2 gr) • 1/2 tsp of Ground cinnamon (1 gr) Preparation 1. Preheat oven to 400 F. 2. To cook quinoa, pour quinoa into small (for 6 servings) or large (for 50 servings) saucepan. Add water in a ratio of 1 part quinoa: 2 parts water, i.e.: for 50 servings use 11 cups dry quinoa and 22 cups water. Bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, turn down heat, cover with lid, and let simmer for 15-20 min. or until all water is absorbed into the quinoa. Let cool. 3. Combine apple and squash cubes in a small (for 6 servings) or extra large (for 50 servings) stainless steel bowl. Add canola oil and toss well. 4. Pour apple and squash mix onto a full size (for 50 servings) or half-size (for 6 servings) aluminum sheet pan and place in oven. Roast for 10-15 min. or until butternut squash is soft, yet still firm, and slightly brown on the edges. Let cool. 5. In a small (for 6 servings) or large (for 50 servings) stainless steel bowl, combine: orange juice concentrate, olive oil, honey, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Whisk into a dressing. 6. In a small (for 6 servings) or large (for 50 servings) stainless steel food pan, combine: quinoa, apples/squash mix, cranberries, and dressing. Toss well to combine. 7. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours so flavors can combine. 8. Serve chilled.

How to make healthy "gingerbread" houses for the holidays


We here at Operation Frontline Detroit are busily preparing for healthy snack workshops that we're holding for kids on holiday break. We spent an afternoon playing with our food--and then eating it--in order to get ready for this fun project we'll be doing in a couple of weeks. We love our job! Check out our handiwork:

 Making traditional gingerbread houses can be unhealthy with all the sweet treats, i.e. candies, chocolates and royal icing. This holiday why not try making a healthier home--and then eating it when you are done!

Here's how to make a basic house with suggested ingredients. Play around with what works for you. For example, I (@Dorothy) used peanut butter, which made for a great smelling and tasting home that unfortunately did not last two "remodelings." If you're looking to eat your house immediately, then peanut butter may be the way to go. Otherwise, the best "glue" that we found was cream cheese (try to use low-fat!) and a homemade prune paste/puree that one of our resident chefs, Dameon, made at home.


Graham crackers (if you can try to get the best quality graham crackers because you will have a better foundation for your house)

Cream cheese, prune puree or peanut butter for "glue"

Decorations: fruit leathers, shredded coconut, whole-grain cereals like frosted shredded wheat or Cheerios, dried fruits, pretzels, nuts

A pie plate (foil is fine) or paper plate. If you're going to make a village like what we did above, some inexpensive vinyl tablecloths will be good for laying out the village "grass" or "concrete" or whatever look you're going for.

Steps for a basic home:

1) Set aside six graham crackers. For kids, let them use a plastic serrated knife. These surprisingly work well with cutting. Two will be the sides, two will be for the roof and two will be cut to be used for the "gables."

2) Place one graham cracker on a flat surface. Angle the short end of another cracker from the center of the long side to the center of the cracker, slice off the edges on both sides so you will end up with a graham cracker that has a triangle on one side. Repeat with another cracker. You'll find that it might be difficult to do this without breaking some at first. No matter--you can just use the 'damage' as a snack!

3) Using your "glue," smear it over the edges of your crackers, putting a pointy cracker with an uncut cracker, (place it lengthwise), then glue on another pointy cracker and finally glue on another uncut cracker. At this point you will have a rectangular home that needs a roof.

4) Put some more glue on the edges of the two other crackers that you set aside and place them carefully on top of the other crackers, making a triangular shape at the top. There's your roof!

 5) Here's the fun part: Decorating! This is where your imagination will run wild. Use the fruit leathers as shutters and/or walkways. Pretzel logs are great for fencing or the sides of the house if you're going for a log cabin. Dried fruits make great various decorations on the home. To make roof shingles, mini shredded wheats with frosting give off a realistic snowy look (try cutting them in half so the house isn't so top heavy) or use banana chips. The sky is the limit!

6) Admire your home--or dig in!

Kids Up Front Graduates at the White House


Recently, eleven Kids Up Front graduates (our class for 8-12 year olds) had the enviable opportunity to roam through the White House garden, led by White House Assistant Chef Sam Kass. The local Operation Frontline program at Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, DC has been able to tap into the growing political will to encourage nutrition education programs like OFL, particularly for children.

Said Janet McLaughlin, the National Director of Operation Frontline,

After four and half years leading Operation Frontline, I continue to be excited when kids request nutritious foods and brag about the healthy recipes that they know how to cook. I know — and our thousands of culinary and nutrition volunteers know — that Operation Frontline’s fun, hands-on, cooking-centered approach to food can change hearts, minds, and tastes. The Obama administration knows this too, and that is why they welcomed our group to the Kitchen Garden and even let us visit the White House kitchen (where the chefs were preparing stuffing for holiday parties)!. . .

Ensuring that all kids in America get the healthy foods they need is a large and multi-faceted challenge and we all have a part to play — in our homes, in the community, and even in the rain and twilight on the White House lawn!