Truly unfortunate that my blog traffic SKY ROCKETED yesterday thanks to the “DO what you DON’T” challenge (Thank you! Not too late to join!) and that I have been MIA since then. Sorry, sorry! Busssy work week!
As I very briefly posted this morning in my sleep-derived delirium, I taught healthy cooking classes last night. These classes were open to out clinic’s patients, free of cost. I opened 15 slots in 2 time slots — 5 to 7pm and 7 to 9pm. All the slots filled and I had 20 people on the waiting list for cancellations. Awesome turnout for a first-time event, eh? 😀
I must pat myself on the back rejoice in the fact that the evening went off without a hitch! The participants worked in groups of 3-4 on the recipes below — a complete, balanced dinner. I found it so interesting which dish people preferred most. The first session LOVED the salad, and some people shared that they have never made homemade salad dressing! The second session loved the cookies (shocker!) and the Biggest Loser “Fried Chicken” (P.S. I own Jillian Michaels my first born for that recipe…love, love, love!).
The facility at a local technical college was graciously opened to us. Just check it out!! Gorgeous!!
As people filed in, they collected the recipes and an outline of the evening. For the sake of time we prepare the recipes in a certain order: cookies, potatoes, chicken, and lastly, salad. The potato cook-time was adjusted accordingly as we used a convection oven (heating through hot air circulation). The total cooking time was 70 minutes for both groups….perfect!
Interested in what we made? Thought so 😉
Items in BLUE were done ahead of time by yours truly. Items in RED were scaled down recipe portions.
Biggest Loser “Fried Chicken”
2 pounds chicken tenders
1 quart 1% buttermilk
2 cups breadcrumbs
1 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons paprika
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon organic seasoning Salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
Large pinch cayenne pepper
4 egg whites, beaten to very soft peaks
Soak chicken tenders in refrigerator, in buttermilk, for 6 hours or overnight.
Drain and blot with paper towels to remove excess buttermilk. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325 F. Lay bread crumbs out on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes. Cool.
Heat oven to 450 F. Combine cornstarch, paprika, seasoning salt, black pepper, and cayenne in a large dish and mix well.
Dredge drained and blotted chicken tenders in seasoned starch. Next, coat dredged tenders thoroughly with beaten egg whites. Last, dip tenders in toasted bread crumbs to fully coat. Place chicken tenders on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 12 – 15 minutes or until outside is crispy and chicken is just cooked through and juicy. Serves 8.
Nutrient Information (per serving): 270 calories; 4 g. fat; 1 g. saturated fat; 65 mg cholesterol; 210 mg. sodium; 27 g. carbohydrate; 2 g. fiber; 28 g. protein
1 large head of Romaine lettuce (or 2 Romaine hearts)
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp ground mustard
2 tsp dried oregano
Pepper to taste¼ cup grated Parmesan cheeseWash and dry lettuce; rip into bite-sized pieces and place into a large salad bowl. Drizzle olive oil and vinegar over leaves and toss to coat. Sprinkle the herbs and parmesan cheese over the leaves; toss to coat. Serves 5.
Nutrition Information (per serving): 89 calories; 7.4 g. fat; 218 mg. sodium; 4 g. carbohydrate; 2.6 g. fiber; 3.2 g. protein
Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
7 small red potatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp rosemary (dried or fresh)
2 tsp paprika (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash and dice potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Place into a large bowl or Ziplock bag; toss with olive oil. Sprinkle garlic, rosemary, paprika (optional), and salt and pepper over potatoes and shake to coat. Layer potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 400 F for 35-45 minutes or until slightly browned. Serves 5.
Nutrition Information (per serving): 188 calories; 5.4 g. fat; 228 mg. sodium; 36 g. carbohydrate; 4.2 g. fiber; 5.6 g. protein
Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies
2/3 c. 50/50 Smart Balance Butter Blend, softened (1/3 cup)
2/3 c. firmly packed brown sugar (1/3 cup)
2 large eggs (1 egg)
1 ½ c old fashioned oats (3/4 cup)
1 ½ c all purpose flour (3/4 cup)
1 tsp baking soda (1/2 tsp)
½ tsp salt (1/4 tsp)
6 oz package dried cranberries (3 ounces)
2/3 c white chocolate chips (1/3 cup)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. Combine oats, flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate mixing bowl.
Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Yield: 36 cookies (18 cookies)
Nutrition Information (per cookie): 114 calories; 5 g. fat; 1.3 g. protein; 16.2 g. carbohydrate; 0.7 g. fiber; 15 mg. cholesterol; 44.8 mg. sodium
Meal Total: 661 calories; 21.8 g. fat; 700 mg. sodium; 83 g. carbohydrate (5 ½ carb choices); 10.1 g. fiber
I took a few “action shots” and fun poses of patients working together, but HIPPA laws will not allow those to be shared 😦 Too bad because they’re so cute…everyone looks so happy 😀
While everyone was enjoying their creations, I talked about meal planning and how to budget while still preparing healthy meals at home. I shared my personal opinion on cooking and how it is “phasing out” of the world and quickly being replaced with higher-calorie, highly processed, sodium-laden foods that are making us more overweight and unhealthy at an alarming rate.
Does cooking take time? Yes.
Does cooking take planning? Yes
Is cooking at home more expensive? Doesn’t have to be.
Is cooking at home hard? Doesn’t have to be.
Can cooking at home actually save money? ABSOLUTELY.
THEN I posed a question to the group…
How do you DEFINE cooking? Is Hamburger Helper considered “cooking”? It uses a pan. What about macaroni and cheese? It requires a pot. What about grilled cheese? It requires a skillet. Is jarred pasta sauce on boiled spaghetti noodles considered “cooking”? I don’t know…
The groups both agreed that the meal they prepared was 1. crowd-pleasing, 2. delicious, 3. healthy, and 4. very doable at home. Most people were already spouting off when they were going to make some of the recipes! 😀
Question: How do YOU define cooking? Does it have to be from scratch to be considered home-cooked? In the above scenarios are any or all considered “cooking” (Hamburger Helper, macaroni and cheese, and grilled cheese)??
I’m curious to hear your answers! I think this is a really gray area and can be argued several ways and I’m not sure which is “right” or what I agree with most.
Happy cooking 😉 ,