This week students had the opportunity to create their own pasta dishes. They first learned some commonly used noodle types and sauce ingredients. Then, with their kitchen, they scoured the internet for inspiration. Most students followed a recipe they found to sound appealing but some modified and created something uniquely them! On Friday, all pastas were reviewed by other students in the class in a Collaborative Food Review activity (like a cooking show) whereby the pastas were rated based on their taste, presentation and adherence to a recipe (did they follow the steps). I tasted about half of the pastas and honestly, what I tasted was really good! Below are their dishes.
I didn't really discover the versatility and deliciousness of squash until recently. I am not a fan a cooked zucchini or yellow squash, but butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash are my new faves. I like keeping it simple and started off by roasting the squash in it's skin at a high temp in the oven. I lightly spray with olive oil and season with salt and pepper before baking. Once squash are soft to the touch I know they are ready. It's cool to see the caramelization around the edges which just makes the squash even more flavorful and sweeter. This recipe uses the squash as a base for a quinoa salad. This is a healthy meal that is super filling and nutritious. Quinoa has lots of fiber and protein making it a great substitute for animal protein. You could try this using butternut squash instead of acorn, but acorn are just so cute!
These pancakes are moist and tangy. The trick to making pancakes look good is being patient with the batter on the skillet. Wait for large bubbles to form on top before flipping. Another key is to use a dry measure cup to pour the batter. In this way you should get pretty consistent-sized pancakes. Topped with the homemade berry sauce, this makes for a perfect weekend brunch/breakfast. Click on the recipe below to get a printable view.
Fresh, warm bread is a simple pleasure. It calls for few ingredients, but the results can be amazingly delicious. This week we are making focaccia bread which some people think of as thick pizza dough. Not quite. It's really like a bread of its own. It's oily and flavorful from the toppings and can be eaten as-is or dipped in soups or used as sandwich bread. I love that it bakes in a sheet pan and looks cool cut up into squares in a bread basket.
This is a perfect desert for a summer gathering. Easily made in advance (and actually tastes better when very well chilled) this is a refreshing treat that's not too heavy after summer BBQ's. I use key limes when I can find them (Sprout's usually has them around August and September) but you can use regular limes just as easily. Be sure to serve this with plenty of fresh whipped cream. You will love it! *Although making this with middle schoolers was a bit of a gamble. As much as they say they like sour things (candies, etc.) some kids thought this pie was too sour for their liking. You may want to decrease the lime juice a bit if you are not into tang. I like tang so I like it just the way it's written.
This is a fun way to eat salad. You can even serve these little cups as an appetizer and you can eat them without a fork and knife. If using these as a salad course, I would serve two per person. The crouton cups can be made several days in advance if placed in an air-tight container.
This is beyond cool - especially if you have leftover mashed potatoes. The panko on the bottom and top adds some crunch and the butter and egg add creaminess to this fabulous side dish. Great with grilled or broiled meats or fish, this is an easy way to repurpose your mashed potatoes. You can make these ahead and freeze and bag them. Then just bake when you are ready. Score!!
This year two classes competed in our annual chili contest. Most of the chilis were tasty but there was clearly a winner in each period. Students did a great job pairing their chilis with option sides such as cornbread and fries. But in the end, the chilis that won were full of flavor, a little heat, and looked tasty too. Congrats to our winners: Eden, Betsy, Brenda, Kelly, Elaine, Nancie and Valerie.
This year's ingredients included: sun-dried tomatoes and black beans; dried cherries and balsamic vinegar; pineapple and sesame seeds; garbanzo beans and chipotle chiles; and, almond flour and raisins. The winning kitchen made an attractive and delicious roasted corn and black bean salad. We also sampled garbanzo bean tacos, oil-packed tuna, Irish soda bread, pineapple upside down cake, tuna casserole with noodles and peas; cherry cheesecake and chicken with capers. We had moms judge (Maile's, Kaleb's, Campbell's and mine!). It's always cool to see what the kids create.