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Extension > Family Matters > Kids Learn Their Way Around the Kitchen in Cooking Matters Courses

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Kids Learn Their Way Around the Kitchen in Cooking Matters Courses

Amy Baack, SNAP-Ed Regional Coordinator

This year, kids in the Southeast region have been learning how to cook healthy foods for themselves, their families, and their friends, thanks to Extension and partners’ sponsorship of Cooking Matters® Minnesota courses at area schools. A typical course was held in early 2015 at Triton Elementary School in Dodge Center, where fourth-grade students attended Cooking Matters for Kids classes once a week for six weeks after school.

Extension's SNAP-Ed Educator Kelley Marty and Triton Food Service Director Billie Cowell taught the classes, which were sponsored by Extension and the school. Students donned aprons and chef hats to make dishes like turkey tacos, stir fry, yogurt parfaits, and more — all with healthy, reasonably priced ingredients — including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Fourth-grade students at Triton Elementary School in Dodge Center proudly displayed their certificates for completing a Cooking Matters course earlier this year. Also pictured are the instructors: SNAP-Ed Educator Kelley Marty (far left in Extension apron) and Triton Food Service Director Billie Cowell (far right).
This year also saw the completion of a series of Cooking Matters for Teens classes in LeCenter. There, teens enrolled in Tri City United's (TCU's) Summer Migrant Program attended Cooking Matters classes each week for six weeks this past summer.

SNAP-Ed Educator Kanko Akakpovi and TCU Food Service Director Amy Sauter taught the two-hour classes, which instructed students in making healthy food choices and preparing nutritional meals and snacks. The series culminated in an “Extreme Meal Makeover” competition that challenged two teams to prepare, cook, and serve a healthy meal to judges — all in 45 minutes.

One team, the Minnesota Chefs, made whole wheat spaghetti with pesto sauce, while the other team, El Groupo Flacko, made enchiladas with cheese inside the tortillas. The cook-off was judged by TCU Superintendent Teri Preisler, LeSueur County Sheriff's Deputy Dan Tousley, and Kathleen Bibus of Midwest Migrant Education Resource Center.

As it turned out, El Groupo Flacko narrowly beat the Minnesota Chefs, 146 to 144, with judges taking presentation, time management, flavor, and nutritional value into consideration. "The kids did a great job cooking," Preisler told the LeCenter Leader. "They can cook for me any day."

Editor's note: Also in the southeast region, SNAP-Ed Educator June Sorenson has been Cooking with Class.

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