Tag Archives: after school cooking

Fall frittata

5 Oct

3746121878_840591c02dA frittata is the perfect way to use up vegetables that are sitting in your fridge, waiting to be eaten.

In this recipe that we used in our after-school cooking classes, our students used up some seasonal vegetables and were excited to taste the outcome. After some patience, and steadiness in flipping the frittata, they were surprised at how delicious zucchini, peppers and spinach taste once sauteed, slightly caramelized, and mixed into fresh eggs.

Here is how to make this traditional Italian omelet:

Makes 2-4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • handful of cheese (optional)

Directions: Shred zucchini with a grater, or cut into thin rounds, dice bell peppers and garlic, rinse and dry spinach. Beat eggs in a separate bowl, set aside. Over medium heat, add garlic and veggies into a pan, and sautee for 5 minutes. Pour in eggs, and let cook over low heat for 4-5 minutes covered. If frittata appears mostly solid, it is ready to flip, if not cook for a few minutes longer. Place a larger plate over the top of the pan, hold the middle of the plate with a firm grip, and flip the frittata. Slowly and with care, slide the frittata back into the pan with the uncooked side down. Replace the lid, and cook for another 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and slice into wedges to serve.

Makes for a great packed lunch too! Click here to read our 5 steps for packing your kids a healthy school lunch.

Photo courtesy of net_efekt

intuitive cooking

25 Jul

8161030847_e62134378cCooking by intuition is quite a different experience than cooking straight from a recipe. Recipes allow for some leeway and creative additions however, cooking without a recipe, rather an idea, vision, or craving, inspires room for experimentation and unique creations, ultimately resulting in a big question mark.

Some of us like the safety of recipes, and are more drawn to them, while others enjoy cooking without a plan, and guide their meals with what is present in their fridge and pantry. Some of us like a hybrid; using a recipe as a guide, and adding our own unique spin to those recipes.

At Butter Beans, we use tried and true recipes for our school lunches and breakfast items, however, there is a lot of vibrant experimentation that goes on behind the scenes in order for us to come up with recipes that our students have come to love and expect from our program.

During our after-school cooking classes, we cook from a recipe, but provide our students with room to improvise, by adding a little bit more garlic, or a bit more spice, as they taste their food and season it to their liking. We like to provide our students with a guide to their short but sweet lesson, so that they can learn about the unique flavors and textures of different cuisines. Our students end up eating foods that their parents, and themselves would have never thought imaginable!

During our food & garden summer camp we cook mostly from intuition, but still use a few recipes here and there as our guide. After brainstorming collectively on what kind of meal we want to cook at lunch, we write up a shopping list.

Our campers then get to visit the farmers market and pick out their ingredients. Seeing them take ownership of their recipes is inspiring, as they get excited to pick out the most unique looking peppers, or strangely formed carrots. Once their creation is made, they end up loving every bite of their meal, and enjoy the chatter and friendships that bud from sharing food.

What is your cooking style like? Do you like cooking from recipes or from your own inspirations?

Photo courtesy of Sunbeam Free Photos Art & Fun

Vote For Butter Beans!

25 Jun

For all of you wonderful blog followers out there, we have a short and sweet favor to ask of you.

We have entered a contest to obtain a $250,000 grant to help grow our company, and would love your support! In order for us to be considered for this grant, we will need 250 votes by Saturday, June 30th.

As of this morning we have a grand total of 162 votes, so our goal is indeed reachable. Feel free to spread the word to your respective blog communities, friends, family and colleagues. Thank you for your support in our vision of improving children’s lives through healthy eating and nutrition education.

To vote, visit http://bit.ly/votebutterbeans, and click on the bottom right “Log In & Support” to log in through your facebook account. Search for “Butter Beans” and click on us.

Your vote will help support Butter Beans by increasing the number of children that participate and have access to our nutritious school lunches and snacks, along with growing our nutrition & wellness programs in schools, providing scholarships for our food & garden summer camp, and so much more!

children asking for seconds on raw kale

30 May

6025692440_543276b369We taught a cooking class at PS 261 during their wellness week, and made a quick and tasty strawberry, banana and kale smoothie using greek yogurt and honey.

We started our class with a big stretch and a few jumping jacks to get us in the smoothie mood. Then we tasted kale raw, and asked for feedback from our students. Most of them didn’t really like the taste, they said it tasted like grass and other not-so-delicious things. We then explained all of the health properties of the fruits and vegetables we were blending, and stretched some more. We blended up the ingredients, and passed around smoothie cups for all.

They couldn’t wait to dig in! As you can expect, they all loved it. So we asked them if they could taste the kale in the smoothie? Some said yes, others said no. Then we asked if anyone wanted to bring back some raw kale to their classrooms as a parting gift. They all showed an enthusiastic amount of hands and fingers, and we passed out cups full of kale leaves. Some even asked for seconds, and we snacking on the leaves!

It’s a true gift to be able to spread the message to children that food has healing properties, and by eating well we become stronger, brighter and more brilliant!  Thank you to PS 261 for hosting us, we had a blast!

Photo courtesy of photofarmer

olive oil – cooking class reflections

26 Oct

Olive oil is an ingredient in most of the food we make in cooking class. Not only is it very useful and tasty in countless kinds of dishes, it also has anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular, digestive, bone, cognitive, and anti-cancer benefits! While pouring olive oil on cut pita bread to make chips that accompanied our kale salad last week, one student commented on how often we use olive oil in cooking class. She was surprised that one ingredient is used so commonly in simple dishes like salads, on pita chips, or simmering in a pan before sautéing vegetables. We discussed how olive oil offers many different benefits and uses in cooking. To make pita chips we coated the pita bread with olive oil to make crispy and delicious chips; whereas when we sautéed vegetables we used olive oil as an agent for flavor and cooking ease. We also talked about how sensitive oils are in general, to heat, light and oxygen and why we prefer to find oil in dark glass bottles or cans.

We smelled — and some brave little chefs tasted — the olive oil before we put it in on the pita pieces and baking them. The class agreed that it didn’t smell or taste like olives and no one wanted to eat it plain. But once the pita chips were done baking, all the students were able to identify the flavor of the oil.

The students’ interest in the oil continued when we added sesame and canola oil to the dressing for the kale salad. “There are so many types of oil!” When I asked for other examples of oil, one student said “black car oil,” but I assured him we would not be cooking with car oil. It was fun to compare the smell and taste of canola and sesame oil to olive oil as well as discuss how they are made differently. All of the students loved the smell of sesame oil and claimed it was the prominent taste in the kale salad.

Seeing the different kinds of oils reappear class after class has given and will continue to give the students an understanding of how and when to use different kinds of oil.

*Blog posted contributed by Julia, one of our wonderful after-school cooking class teachers. Look out for more cooking class reflections to come.