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Cooking Matters Michigan

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

Filtering by Tag: healthy cooking

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.

Volunteer spotlight: Stewart McWilliams

dorothy hernandez

Teaching low-income families how to cook healthy meals at home on a budget is something close to chef Stewart McWilliams' heart. As a child, he learned how to cook for his family, reading cookbooks and following along. By the time he got to high school, he knew he wanted to be a chef.

At L’Anse Creuse, where he went to high school, he was a part of the vocational center there and took culinary classes. He then took his talents to South Beach where he pursued a culinary arts degree at the well-regarded Johnson and Wales culinary school.

With degree in hand he returned home to Michigan. His first job was with the former Wolverine Banquet Center. His next job was with Rochester Hills Beer Co., where he started off as sous chef, working his way up the ladder to corporate executive chef, his current title.

When asked why he wanted to volunteer for Cooking Matters, he says, “(Growing up) I know what it’s like to have one meal a day … it’s hard to do. “After I got established (in the industry) I felt it was time to give back and help kids going through what I went through.”

Since approaching us last year about volunteering, Stewart has already taught 5 classes, and is currently teaching Cooking Matters for Families at Pure Word Missionary Baptist Church. He was also one of eight chefs representing us last year at first lady Michelle Obama’s kickoff event for Chefs Move To Schools.

When asked what was a class highlight for him, he wrote in an email, “I would say, I was doing a class and several people in class had never cut up a whole chicken before, so showing everyone how to do that and having them help and then the next week hearing how two people did it at home and were successful with it and even took my suggestion of making stock out of the carcass and then turn the stock into soup.”

Thanks Stewart for all you do!

Here’s a recipe from Stewart that can be made for under $10 if you have the spices in your pantry.

Herb Roasted Whole Chicken with asparagus and Quinoa Pilaf 1 whole chicken 1 cup water 1T Dried Oregano 1t Dried Basil 1t Garlic Powder ¼ t Dried Rosemary ¼ t Thyme ½ t salt ½ t pepper 1 pound asparagus 1 T olive oil 1 ½ cup Quinoa 1 cup low sodium chicken broth 2 cups water 1 carrot 1 celery stalk 1 small onion 2T canola oil

Pre heat oven to 450 degrees, place chicken in a roasting pan add 1 cup of water, in small bowl mix all spices, salt and pepper. Sprinkle mixture over chicken place chicken in oven for 15 minutes or until skin is brown. Cover chicken with aluminum foil, reduce oven temperature to 350 and cook for 45 minutes or until chicken reaches 165 degrees.

While chicken is roasting, rinse asparagus cut off bottom white part, toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil place in an oven safe dish cover and cook in oven for 15 minutes.

Wash carrots, celery and onion and dice. In a 4 quart pot over medium heat, add canola oil and sauté vegetables for 5 minutes add quinoa, 2 cups of water and 1 cup chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat cover and cook until all liquid is gone about 15 minutes.

Cooking Matters for Teens: Extreme Food Makeover

dorothy hernandez

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.

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!

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!