Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What's Cookin'?

Wow, long time no blog.  I've been so busy teaching 10 year olds how to cook and sitting poolside (rough, I know) this summer that I've barely taken the time to take pictures let alone share recipes!  I do have a couple on hand though, so I'll try to get back in the swing of things.  I will include an Herb-Stuffed Zucchini recipe from Food TV magazine at the end of this post.  So, let me tell you about the cooking class!  I rounded up my daughter and four of her friends to be my pilot group.  I've never taught a class before so I thought I could stand to have a group I could make mistakes with.  They were awesome and I think they learned a lot, and I definitely did as well. 
Our first class started with some basics.  We talked about processed foods and whole foods.  We learned about reading labels.  They were really surprised when we talked about serving sizes.  I think many people would be too if they paid more attention to them.  We also looked at all the non-food ingredients that show up in processed foods (such as things with numbers and names we can't pronounce) and decided that less is more when it comes to that stuff.  After a our little chat we made made a nice healthy snack of Avocado Banana smoothies and chia balls.  I like to jump right in and start with something nice and green!
They whipped this little number up with no trouble at all.  We got a some practice with measurements so that was perfect. Next we made Chia Energy Bites which I found on this cool website called Super Healthy Kids.
It's a very basic recipe, no baking or cooking involved, but a good way to get the ball rolling for the next few classes.
We made one batch with unsweetened coconut and one with mini M & M's (I'm no dummy, had to make sure I wasn't going to loose them by going too healthy!).  They loved the chia bites and I think all but one really liked the smoothie.
During class number two we made a breakfast recipe from my most popular blog post ever, Cauliflower Frittata Muffins.  We made the same recipe but added a couple of strips of bacon cooked crisp and crumbled into the mixture.  We got all kinds of practice with knife skills and egg cracking on this one.  I'm pleased to report, no shells!
While the eggs were baking we whipped up a little salad dressing to put on lettuce and berries.  Always taste your food, and then wash your hands. 
While those two made dressing, these two did dishes.  That's right, if you're going to make the mess you've got to clean it up, am I right Moms?
So we were all super excited when those frittata muffins were done.  They smelled so good!
Look at what a nice job they did! These were delicious and some how it made way more than we thought (must have been the extra large eggs...).  They all got to take one home and were excited to show their moms and dads.
These are some proud little girls!
Class number three was a little less labor intensive.  We talked about making a pizza a little healthier by using part-skim mozzarella to cut down on all that grease you get when you eat pizza out.  I can't for the life of me figure out why no pizza places (at least in my area) don't use it.  It tastes just as good, just less greasy.  I guess that's why Hayden keeps telling me to open my own pizza shop.
We made this pizza using the leftovers from a nice dinner the night before.  Next time you have leftover salt potatoes and grilled chicken in the fridge, throw them on a pizza!  The girls decided they wanted spinach on the pizza because at least half of them despise broccoli.  Frankly I think my kid was the only one that ate from the half with spinach but that's ok.  They came close.  They at least thought it sounded like a good idea.
Either way they were pretty pleased.  You can tell this class took place during our monsoon season by the way they're dressed.  It's 100 degrees with the heat index as I write this now.  Crazy, crazy weather we're having this summer.
Class number four was the biggest hit of them all.  I'm super excited about that too because we made on of my favorite, easy, healthy dinners ever.  They all loved the Pasta with Carrot Walnut Sauce, I think everyone went back for seconds and asked their mom's if they could have it for dinner sometime soon.  We got to peel some carrots,
peel and chop garlic, and chop walnuts.
They used the food processor,
And mixed it all up on the stove.  They did it all except drain the pasta which they should always have a grown up do.
If you haven't tried this one yet, the time is now! So yummy.
A thumbs up for sure.  The pasta recipe was so quick that we also made a batch of Orange-Vanilla Custard to put in the ice cream maker to serve at our last class which was Ladies Night.  The girls came and cooked and the mom's stayed and ate with us.  It was lovely. They all happen to have really cool moms.
We took a little trip to the garden to pick herbs for our meal and to see what certain veggies look like while they're growing.  They tried to guess what each plant was, which is not always easy!  They minced like masters...
and chopped like champs.  (Right now there are a few mom's freaking out at the size of the knife their daughter is using...)
We made homemade tzatziki sauce.
I could eat this on everything.  Hayden practically does.  He's 9 but has a rather sophisticated palette, well, for a 9 year old anyway.  We make a good pair when it comes to food.
We also made herb stuffed zucchini boats.  Turns out every kid but my own (who helped me decide on this recipe because we thought it was a safe bet) hates zucchini. Seriously, I was in shock.  I get that some veggies are an acquired taste but zucchini?  It has a little more taste than water.  But what evs.  The ladies were excited for it so I consider that a win since it was Ladies Night and all.
We also made my favorite turkey burger which did come out a little different than usual because they only had extra-lean turkey when I was at the store.  I recommend sticking with lean but not extra lean.  They were a little firm for my taste but still delish (especially with that tzatziki sauce!).  Things got a little hectic during the burger time so there are no pictures of that process.  We were racing against the clock!
We finished it all off with a scoop of the custard that tasted just like a creamsicle. I was impressed.  I never made an ice cream that was quite as involved as that recipe was.  Now the girls are all about zesting fruit.  I love them.
All in all, cooking class was a success.  I have a little work to do before I take on some paying students but I'm sure I'll get another class going soon.  I'm doing my best to join the Food Revolution and arming kids with a little knowledge about what they eat, how to make good choices and how to make good food with good ingredients. 

Herb-Stuffed Zucchini (Food Network Magazine)

2 med zucchini
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 chopped tomato
1/4 cup mixed chopped parsley and dill
2 Tbs chopped walnuts
1 minced garlic clove
2 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Season with salt.  Combine breadcrumbs, tomato, parsley, dill, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Spoon into zucchini; drizzle with olive oil.  Bake at 425 for 25-30 min.
*We added a 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese to the mix which was an excellent addition!