State College Area School District Community Ed Cooking Class–Healthy Cooking

Tuesday night we had a great turnout for the first Community Education Cooking Class of  2013.  We focused on cooking healthy and cooked with grains, beans and lots of veggies.  Although I gave out the recipes, I am also posting them here with comments I made and recommendations I talked about:

Daphne’s Warrior Salad  We made this exactly according to the directions.  It is delicious and uses healthy quinoa (pronounced “KEEN-wah”), and chickpeas with the always healthy olive oil.

Tuscan Baked Beans–“Fagioli Al Uccelletto”  A recipe from Wegmans that you can make with dried beans (soaking them overnight) or canned beans.  These beans taste just like beans that my husband and I had at a trattoria in Florence. There is 1/2 cup of olive oil in them, so they are not low calorie, but they are healthy with the beans, tomatoes and olive oil giving you fiber and good HDL cholesterol .  I do NOT recommend putting the 1 Tablespoon of salt into the recipe.  Just season to taste and you can always add salt at the table.  We did not put the panko bread crumb topping (the combo of the bread crumbs and basting oil at the end of the recipe) on the top of the beans.  This recipe made a very large pan of beans. When I made them for my family, they  could not eat them all, and I find that the bread crumbs “mush” when refrigerated   They would crisp up under the broiler when heated though, if you like bread crumbs.  This could be a meatless meal, using it as a main course, also you could add flavor and some meat by sauteing cubed pancetta in a couple of Tablespoons of olive oil until crisp and then add to the beans before they bake.  (Ask for a few slices of pancetta at the deli counter and diced it yourself at home–it is much cheaper).

Butternut Squash with Baby Spinach  This recipe is a winner and so easy to make.  We used a whole squash, peeled it with a potato peeler, sliced it in half, scooped out the seeds and diced it up (it’s cheaper than buying it already cut up and sometimes those pre-cut pieces of squash don’t look very fresh).  We used less than the amount called for of red onions, it just seemed too much, but it is to your taste.  We used regular extra virgin olive oil in place of the basting oil, since I personally don’t like that product and many students agreed, and why buy another product, when olive oil works just fine.  It is up to you.

Bulgur Salad with Chickpeas and Red Peppers  This recipe is from the blog “The Smitten Kitchen” which is a fun blog to read!  Lots of great ideas!  Some people may not like the taste of bulgur wheat, but this salad has lots of nutrients and flavor, that is why I included it in the class.  Instead of buying a jar of roasted red peppers, I just roasted a pepper that I had in my fridge.

Whole Wheat Banana Bread  This is a go–to recipe in our family when we have spotted bananas (see my post from March 1, 2012).  On Tuesday night I used a combo of bananas that had been frozen (since they were really spotted but I did not have time to make anything out of them) and some overripe bananas that we had in our fruit bowl.  The wheat flour ups the fiber and nutrition.  Don;t ever through away a banana gone bad!

Sauteed Kale  7 ingredients, healthy kale, no more than 10 minutes to make.  This is a recipe that most everyone will enjoy.

Roasted Beets  Beets are so easy to roast and they take on a yummy flavor that cannot be found in boiled beets.  Just scrub whole beets, trim the ends, place in foil or a small roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover with foil (or tightly fold foil together). Bake at 400 degrees for about 1 hour, until they are soft, which will depend on how large the beets are.   A great way to serve them is here in my blog from November 18, 2012.

Roasted Winter Veggies  Last but certainly not least were the roasted veggies:  carrots, parsnips, red creamer potatoes, yellow onions.  Scrub the potatoes, dice into medium sized chunks, peel and chop the carrots, parsnips and onions.  Toss in a baking pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper  (of course, how much is up to you–if I let my husband put the olive oil on the veggies, he is very liberal).  The veggies should roast at 400 degrees, usually about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the veggies and how many are in the pan.  The smaller the size or the fewer in the pan, the faster they will roast.

I did talk about  using a Parmigiano-Reggiano rind for flavoring soups and stews.  This is what I do when all the cheese has been used–I save the rind by putting it in a plastic ziplock bag and placing it in the freezer for future use.  It is a great flavor for pasta sauces too.  We will be making a soup using one in the class I will teach on Tuesday, Feburary 12, 2013 that is called “Soups and Stews.”  A link to that soup is here, the recipe for Pasta Fagioli Soup.

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