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Cooking Matters Michigan

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

Filtering by Category: Cooking Matters

Volunteer spotlight: Lindsey Snyder

dorothy hernandez

This month we are featuring Lindsey Snyder, who hails from the west side of the mitten and attends Madonna University, where she is studying dietetics and nutrition. Lindsey recently taught a Cooking Matters for Adults EXTRA Parents of Preschoolers where she immediately connected with the participants and put her knowledge to good use. She is signed up to do another class, this time a Cooking Matters for Kids later this month.

Lindsey lives in Farmington Hills and is originally from Hudsonville. Before coming to southeast Michigan, she attended college in Texas (Navarro College, which were the national champs in cheerleading in 2009) and Hawaii Pacific University (national champs in 2010, she must be a good luck charm!).

We caught up with Lindsey last week who took a few minutes to answer some of our burning questions:

Why did you decide to go into nutrition? I chose the dietetics program because of my interest in nutrition. I have always been interested in health and nutrition, but it wasn't until my first year of college when I took a nutrition class and took everything from it that I could to lose 20 pounds. Losing the 20 pounds allowed me to broaden my cheerleading career and allowed me to get two years of traveling and scholarships for living and school through cheerleading. In Texas and Hawaii I worked on general education classes and towards a psychology major.

Why did you decide to volunteer for Cooking Matters? I heard about Cooking Matters classes through the Madonna University Nutrition Network group and it sounded like a great program. I thought I could learn a lot about cooking and help people learn more about nutrition---it shocked me how much people didn't know!

Is there a moment from our class at Lincoln Park Head Start that sticks out to you in terms of reaching participants? Two moments really stick out and one would be after a month of Vinny [not seeming interested] he really started to care and ask questions at the grocery store. He made better choices after I explained to him why something was a better choice than another option. Also, when the mom and son [Sherie and Don] started to change little by little what they were eating and the mom tried cooking new things and making them lower in fat.

What are your career plans? What do you envision yourself doing after you graduate from Madonna? I would like to be a dietitian for athletes-such as being the registered dietitian for a sports team, preferably working at a university. Or possibly a dialysis clinic, because I have chronic kidney dysfunction and will eventually be on the dialysis before receiving a transplant. After graduating from Madonna I plan to work as an RD where ever I can get hired, and then attend grad school in kineisology or dietetics (depends on work and such).

What do you like to do in your spare time? In my spare time I like to work out, play with my two cats, and lay by the pool! I am interested in health, sports, and nature. I really enjoy coaching cheerleading, and gymnastics (I have done that for 7 years). I also still enjoy cheerleading and gymnastics!

Do you like to cook? Can you share your favorite healthy, budget-friendly recipe with us? I love cooking! I don't have much room to cook in my one-bedroom apartment, though. I like to freeze things ahead of time and then pull them out to thaw and make. I like to make chicken noodle soup with and vegetables I have. Also, I like to make wheat pizza dough, here is the recipe: Ingredients 1t white sugar 1 1/2 c warm water 1T active dry yeast 1T olive oil 1t salt 2C whole wheat flour 1 1/2C all purpose flour

Directions Mix sugar, salt, and warm water (dissolve)- and olive oil. Sprinkle yeast on top and let sit for 10min. Then add both flours and mix. Let rise in covered greased bowl for an hour or until double. I split the dough in half from there and then let it rise again in a covered greased bowl. I wrap them up and freeze them. When I am ready to eat pizza I thaw the dough, roll it out bake it for 10 min at 350, and then add the toppings and bake until done!! It's actually pretty good for whole wheat crust too!

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.

$10 Challenge: 5 ingredients, 2 different meals

dorothy hernandez

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?

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!