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Cooking Matters Michigan

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

Filtering by Tag: Share Our Strength

Recipe Developed by OFL: Detroit Volunteer Appears in The Dallas Morning News

jhartrick

This past week, The Dallas Morning News showcased a recipe in their article "Barley Jambalaya an inexpensive, Creole-flavored way to feed a group" that is nutritious and easy to make. The recipe, developed by our own Chef Sarah McKay (long-time volunteer for Operation Frontline: Detroit) replaces sausage and white rice for turkey ham and barley, kicking up the fiber content and reducing the fat content. This recipe is a favorite amongst OFL participants and appears in almost all of our classes. Congratulations, Sarah!                                                                                                                           Barley Jambalaya

Barley Jambalaya
Serves 6
 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 2 medium celery stalks
  • 1 medium green bell pepper
  • 3 medium onions
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • 4 ounces turkey ham
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  1. Place barley in a colander and rinse under cold water. Bring water, bay leaves, and barley to a boil in medium saucepan over high heat.
  2. Reduce heat to low, cover saucepan and cook barley until tender and water is absorbed, about 45 minutes. Place barley in a colander, draining any excess water, and set aside.
  3. Rinse celery and green pepper. Peel onions and garlic and rinse onions.
  4. Dice onions, celery, and green pepper and mince garlic.
  5. Dice turkey ham into 1/4-inch pieces.
  6. Add oil to large soup pot and heat over medium-high heat.
  7. Add meat, onions, celery, peppers, and garlic to the soup pot. Mix well.
  8. Saute 5-10 minutes, scraping bottom of pan periodically.
  9. Add tomatoes. Turn heat to high and bring to boil.
  10. Add the 4 spices and stir to combine.
  11. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  12. Add cooked barley to the meat and vegetable mixture, stir to combine. Add more liquid if necessary.
  13. Cook over low heat for an additional 5-10 minutes to blend flavors together.
  14. Remove bay leaves before serving.

PER SERVING: Calories 363 (16% fat) Fat 7 g (1 g sat) Chol 20 mg

Sodium 1,466 mg Fiber 13 g Carbohydrates 64 g Protein 16 g

Tips:

  • If you only have a limited time to make this recipe, you can use Quick Barley instead of pearl barley. Just add the Quick Barley to the pot after adding the canned tomatoes, using the recommended amount of water on the box (taking into account that there is liquid from the canned tomatoes). You can either finish the jambalaya on the stovetop or put it all into a pan to be baked in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • Try ham, chicken, turkey sausage, or shrimp instead of the turkey ham.
  • This recipe does well in the freezer if you have leftovers.

Battling Childhood Hunger

jhartrick

 

Photo Credit: The New York Times. "A meal from the cafeteria at P.S. 89 in Manhattan does not contain processed food."
Photo Credit: The New York Times. "A meal from the cafeteria at P.S. 89 in Manhattan does not contain processed food."

On Wednesday, September 9th, the Detroit Justice, Peace, and Ecology Committee (JPE) of the Province of St. Joseph hosted a national Slow Food USA Eat-In to promote more nutritious school lunches. This event was part of a National Day of Action, where thousands of people across the country shared a meal to demonstrate the need for Congress to pass a better Child Nutrition Act. Among other things, the Child Nutrition Act covers the National School Lunch Program, and an increase in funding would mean healthier food for school lunches. 

Currently, the USDA reimbursement rate per child in public school systems is $2.70, and groups like JPE are asking for an increase of $50 million in funding, equaling to about $1 more per child.

There have been efforts across the country to improve school lunches, including farm-to-school programs, where schools reach out to local farms for a portion of their produce. Similarly, Chef Ann Cooper has partnered with Whole Foods and the Kellogg Foundation to implement a healthy lunch campaign in Berkeley, California; Boulder, Colorado; and Harlem in New York City.

However, there are challenges with implementing these new programs. Because so many schools have been outsourcing their food production (this is where tater tots and fish sticks come in), the only kind of kitchen equipment that's necessary is a microwave. This means that many schools are without traditional kitchens and the tools needed to cook real food.

Along with the additional cost of buying kitchen equipment, schools would also need to hire a larger staff to prepare the food. With an already tight budget, it makes sense why subsidized government commodities look more appealing.

What should we do?

The best and easiest way to introduce healthier food in school lunches is to advocate for the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act. You can do this by signing the petition or by writing a letter to your congressmen. Slow Food USA also has a few resources that you can use in spreading the word about this issue.

What connects the Child Nutrition Act with hunger?

Ensuring that our children get a healthy meal at lunch is important not only because it will help them to concentrate in school, but also because it might be the only balanced meal that they receive throughout the day. Share Our Strength, the parent organization of Operation Frontline, makes it their mission to end childhood hunger. They recently gathered schoolteachers' stories about the hunger they see in their classrooms. One middle-school teacher said, "The only meals that this little one, Kimberly, was guaranteed were served at school. Anytime we had leftovers, she would always want to take them home. She’d wrap up the leftover food to take home to her little brothers and sisters. She was a second grader trying to make sure her family got fed.”

Here is a video that depicts the hunger that teachers see every day:

  [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-5x9mkBcCU&feature=player_embedded]

Welcome to Operation Frontline: Detroit!

jhartrick

I want to personally welcome all of you to Operation Frontline: Detroit's newest endeavor - a "mixed-use" blog that will be a resource to both volunteers and participants of Operation Frontline, as well as those interested in food security in Southeastern Michigan. This blog is meant to be collaborative amongst anyone who would like to contribute, particularly those who are impacted by OFL. frontline_CMYK

So what is Operation Frontline?

Operation Frontline is a program offered through Share Our Strength, a national organization based in Washington, DC that works to combat childhood hunger. In order to serve the community better, Operation Frontline is hosted at local nonprofits across the country. In Southeastern Michigan, OFL is hosted by Gleaners Community Food Bank in Detroit, which has a long history of fighting hunger in the Metro area. OFL approaches food security in a way that goes beyond emergency food assistance – it provides nutrition education and cooking classes for low-income folks (most eligible for SNAP, or food stamps), focusing on introducing more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables into participants’ diets. Just as important, the classes also teach how to cook and eat healthily on a budget, often highlighting what foods are less expensive and more nutritious.

Classes are facilitated by a team comprised of a professional chef and a nutritionist, who volunteer their time and skills. Volunteers find that they really do make a positive impact on the participants’ lives, particularly when both come to the table eager to learn.

To learn more about Operation Frontline, visit our About page or the national website at www.strength.org.

Kids Up Front participants at Salvation Army

What will this blog talk about?

Because food security is such a dire issue in the city of Detroit, particularly during this economic downturn, we wanted to share our knowledge, stories, and aspirations. Every week, you should expect:

The Participant Perspective: Not only will we frequently update the blog with class anecdotes, we’ll also upload photos and videos so that you can better get a sense of what classes are like. We also hope to get the participants involved in posting their own thoughts and experiences.

The Volunteer Perspective: Volunteers are encouraged to post their experiences with the program, providing lessons learned and tips for other volunteers.

Recipes: Once a month, we’ll post a nutritious recipe that costs under $1.40 a serving, showing that it is possible to cook healthily on a budget!

Food Budgeting Tips: Along with the recipes, we will also provide tips for purchasing foods that are both nutritious and inexpensive.

The Larger Perspective: As related issues arise on the city, state, or national level, we will post newspaper articles or links to other websites in order to provide the bigger picture. Hunger is a complex problem in the United States, and we’ll have periodic features on how other organizations are coping with it.