Special of the Day: Fight Childhood Hunger

28 Apr Special of the Day: Fight Childhood Hunger

Winner Mark Helgeson poses with his prize

Winner Mark Helgeson poses with his prize

         What an honor it was to help judge recipes in the General Mills Recipe Contest on April 7, 2014 at the Paris Gibson Education Center. Penny Rubner, of Penny’s Gourmet to Go, Great Falls Public Schools Superintendent Tammy Lacey and I were delighted to sample the seven finalists’ recipes, all created using ingredients typically provided at school food pantries.

         The General Mills Recipe Contest was part of an exciting array of events planned to raise awareness about childhood hunger in our community including the Subway Battle of the Bands kickoff event on April 11th at 6 p.m. at the Faith Center, the 7Up 5K Fun Run on Saturday, April 12 at 10:00 a.m. at the CMR High School track, the Russell Country Federal Credit Union Grocery Store Food Drives happening Saturday, April 12 from noon to 4:00 p.m. and the Pacific Steel & Recycling Take It or Leave It community swap meet on Sunday, April 13 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Montana Expo Park Family Living Center.

“Even one hungry child in our town is too many,” Jackie Slovak, Fight Childhood Hunger Week Coordinator said, noting that over 3,850 children in Cascade County do not know where their next meal will come from. Slovak headed up the Fight Childhood Hunger campaign, an entirely local effort to rally support around solving childhood hunger in our community. This effort started with a group of school food pantry coordinators from North Middle School, C.M. Russell High School, Great Falls High School and Sacajawea Elementary, as well as students from North Student Food Pantry Club, who answered First Lady of Montana Lisa Bullock’s call to enter a Global Youth Service Day project on the topic of child hunger.

Student volunteer Annie Lewis, now a junior at C.M. Russell High School, first noticed the need for school food pantries when she was in 8th grade at North Middle School.  She applied for a Global Youth Service Day Grant entitled “One Can at A Time” and received $750 grant to support the school food pantry at North. Since that time she has worked at the CMR Food Pantry.  Lewis was part of the brainstorming committee to submit the grant for Fight Childhood Hunger Week.  She is the co-chair for the Recipe Contest Cook-Off and co-chair for Student Outreach and Awareness.

100% of the donations to the Fight Childhood Hunger project will be used to purchase food and toiletry items for the school food pantries, Slovak said, thanks in part to grants and targeted donations from local businesses to cover administrative costs such as printing and advertising.

Different methods of distributing food to hungry kids are used by school pantries, but one popular way is to let students shop the pantry like a grocery store, with assistance from volunteers who help kids make wise food choices. Most distribution happens on Fridays before the weekend during which reduced and free school lunch programs are unavailable.

Schools and businesses also will support Fight Childhood Hunger week with targeted awareness campaigns throughout the week.

Community members who would like to help can plan to participate in a food drive for the Food Bank, the Mission, Mercy Home, or Salvation Army or make financial contributions to these organizations.

“While food collection and fundraising are major goals of the week, the primary goal really is to get youth involved in the fight against childhood hunger either by leafleting a grocery store during a food drive, or raising money in the Fun Run,” Slovak said.   Fight Childhood Hunger is a project endorsed by the First Lady Lisa Bullock and Youth Service America, which fosters youth involvement through its Global Youth Service Day, April 11-13, 2014.

The top four finalists in the General Mills Recipe Contest were within points of each other, presenting palatable, flavorful offerings families would surely enjoy. Tasting enticing entrees like Susan Lewis’s Peachy Pork Picante and Tom Cubbage’s Easy East Indian Chicken made selecting a winner no easy task. The hands-down crowd favorite contestant was 11-year-old Liam Devine who made his grandmother’s amazing antipasto recipe. But when all was said and done it was Mark Helgeson’s Orange Chicken Makeover that took home top prize of $250, a Penny’s Gourmet to Go Cookbook and a handmade bowl by potter Lisa Botti.in the General Mills Recipe Contest. Congratulations to all of the finalists.

Cook up a winner and support a great cause in this week’s Special of the Day: Fight Childhood Hunger Week Recipe Contest and finalist recipes for Tuna Burgers, Taco Roll-ups, Easy East Indian Chicken, Baked Oatmeal, Orange Chicken Makeover, Liam’s Quick, Healthy and Easy Antipasto and Peachy Pork Picante. Happy cooking!

Tuna Burgers

By Jerri Dostal

Serves 6

This is one recipe that all three of my children called home to request once they were cooking for themselves. The recipe came from my mother. It’s quick, EASY, economical and tasty. The original recipe calls for one can of tuna – I almost always use two cans of tuna because, like a lot of things there just doesn’t seem to be as much in a can as there used to be.

Total Time

30 min

Total Time

30 min

Ingredients

  1. 1 Cup chopped celery
  2. 1 small onion chopped ( dried onion works too)
  3. 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
  4. 1/2 Cup of cut-up American cheese OR my family prefers shredded cheddar cheese
  5. Salt & pepper to taste (I don’t use much salt).
  6. Sometimes I add an 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  7. Other variations could include shredded carrot and/or chopped red or yellow pepper if you want to get more veggies in your meal.
  8. Hamburger buns – we like whole wheat buns

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350.
  2. Spread hamburger buns lightly with butter.
  3. Fill buns to desired fullness with tuna mixture.
  4. Wrap each bun in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake 15 minutes.
  6. Serve with a fresh fruit salad and some healthy chips. You can also top your burger after it’s baked with tomato, lettuce, pickle or raw onion slices.

Taco Roll-ups

By Lael Conklin

Serves 6

Ingredients

  1. 1 pound ground beef
  2. 1/2 to 1 package of taco seasoning
  3. 1/2 cup water
  4. 1 can (16 oz.) refried beans
  5. 6 (10 inch) flour tortillas
  6. 1/2 cup salsa
  7. 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Mexican cheese blend

Instructions

  1. Crumble the ground beef into a large skillet and brown over medium-high heat. When the meat is cooked (about 10 minutes), drain the fat. Add the taco seasoning and water, then stir and simmer the mixture for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the refried beans.
  2. To give the filling a smooth consistency, pour the beef mixture into a blender. With 4 to 5 short pulses, eliminate any large chunks from mix.
  3. For each wrap, heat a tortilla in the microwave for 10 seconds. Spread about 1/2 cup of the beef mixture evenly over it, then top with a layer of salsa and cheese. Roll it up and tuck in the ends.
  4. Tightly cover each sandwich in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Cut in half at serving time.

Notes

  1. Optional, to make this recipe easier for a child to prepare, omit step 1 by using 2 cans of chicken.Drain off liquid and cut into small pieces, put chicken in a bowl, add 1/2 tsp. of cumin, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. of chili powder, stir the chicken mix. Add refried beans and 2 T. of water to chicken mix and microwave for 30 second increments, stirring each time until refried beans and chicken are a more smoother consistency, continue with step 2

 

Easy East Indian Chicken

By Tom Cubbage

Yields 4

Print

Ingredients

  1. 1 to 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  2. 1 to 1 ½ pounds chicken breast cut into ½ inch squares or 3 8 oz cans chunk chicken
  3. 1 tbsp butter or for a lighter version 1 more tablespoon of vegetable oil
  4. 2 tsp Garam Masala
  5. 2 tsp coriander
  6. 2 tsp paprika
  7. ½ tsp chili powder
  8. 1 tsp cinnamon
  9. ½ tsp cardamom or 6 cardamom pods
  10. 20-24 oz can tomato puree or diced tomatoes
  11. 1 tbsp sugar (optional)
  12. ¼ cup plain yogurt or sour cream
  13. ½ cup cream or half and half (you can substitute milk but reduce to ¼ cup)
  14. 1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in skillet until hot and add 1 tbsp vegetable oil.
  2. Add half the chicken if uncooked and fry for about 4-5 minutes until slightly browned.
  3. Remove to a plate and repeat with the remainder of the chicken. If using canned chunk chicken drain it and set it aside.
  4. Add butter (or oil) and reduce heat to simmer and allow it to melt and bubble but do not let it brown.
  5. Add all the spices and stir while heating until you can smell the spices and they are all moistened and warmed.
  6. Return the cooked chicken or add the canned chicken and stir to coat the pieces with the spices. If using canned chicken carefully stir and try not to break the pieces up too much.
  7. Add the tomatoes and optional sugar and simmer for 15 minutes on medium heat stirring occasionally until bubbly.
  8. Add yogurt or sour cream, and optional lemon juice and simmer 5 more minutes and serve over white or brown rice.

Notes

  1. This is my family’s favorite chicken dish and even friends who say they are not adventurous eaters love it. The spices are easily modified with what you have so in place of all the spices you can add 4 – 5 tsp of curry powder. It seems very exotic but is really quick and easy to make and is very nutritious and delicious especially served over brown rice!

Baked Oatmeal

By M. Tonkovich

Ingredients

  1. 3 Cups Rolled Oats
  2. 2 tsp. Cinnamon
  3. 4 Tbsp. Honey
  4. 2 tsp. vanilla
  5. 2 lge. Whole Eggs or 3 Whites
  6. 1 Can (15 oz.) pears in light syrup – pureed in blender or food processor
  7. 4 Cups Milk (any kind – cow, soy, coconut, evaporated – all work)
  8. 1/3 Cup Oat or Wheat Bran
  9. 1 Cup Applesauce

Optional add-ons (I add at least two of them)

  1. 1 Cup dried, frozen, fresh blueberries
  2. 1 Cup Raisins or Dried Craisins
  3. 1 Cup Chopped Dried Apricots
  4. 1/2 Cup Chopped Nuts
  5. 1/2 Cup Chopped Candied Ginger

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients and pour into a large (approx. 13×9 in.) greased glass baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes until lightly browned.

Notes

  1. A 2″ square piece is quite filling for breakfast or a snack. Cut pieces can be wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen in a bag. Reheats nicely in microwave or thaws by lunchtime in a lunch box/bag.
Orange Chicken Makeover

Orange Chicken Makeover

Orange Chicken Makeover

By Mark Helgeson

For the Orange Sauce

  1. 1/3 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
  2. 1/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  3. 2 tbsp soy sauce (Tamari for gluten-free)
  4. 2 tbsp raw sugar
  5. 1 tbsp Chinese rice wine
  6. 1 tbsp sriracha, or more to taste
  7. 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  8. 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  9. 2 teaspoons corn starch

For the Chicken

  1. 20 oz skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into small cubes
  2. kosher salt, to taste
  3. 1 1/2 tbsp corn starch
  4. 1 tbsp sesame oil
  5. 4 cloves minced garlic
  6. 1-inch grated ginger
  7. 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  8. 2 tbsp chopped scallions
  9. 1/2 tsp sesame seeds, for garnish

For the Orange Sauce

  1. Mix the orange sauce ingredients and set aside.

For the Chicken

  1. Season the chicken lightly with salt and coat evenly with corn starch, set aside.
  2. Heat a wok on high heat, add 1 teaspoon of sesame oil and add half of the chicken. Cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side until well browned, set aside. Add 1 teaspoon of oil and chicken and repeat cooking 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Set aside with the rest of the chicken.
  3. Add remaining teaspoon of oil and quickly stir-fry the minced garlic and ginger until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the orange zest then return the chicken to the pan. Quickly stir the chicken then add the orange sauce and cook until the sauce thickens,about 1 to 2 minutes. Divide between 4 plates and garnish with the scallion and sesame seeds.
Liam's Quick, Healthy and Easy Antipasto

Liam’s Quick, Healthy and Easy Antipasto

Liam’s Quick, Healthy and Easy Antipasto

By Liam Devine

Total Time

20 min

Total Time

20 min

Ingredients

  1. 1 pt jar Mezzetta brand Giardiniera Italian Mix. Drain and chop.
  2. 1 12 oz. jar artichoke hearts in oil , chop but don’t drain
  3. 1 8 oz. can sliced (or bits and pieces) mushrooms, drained
  4. 1 7 oz. can sliced black olives, drained
  5. 2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
  6. 4 tbsp. California or regular white wine vinegar
  7. 1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained
  8. 1 14 oz. can French Style green beans, drained

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients and stir together. Refrigerate and stir occasionally. Can be eaten immediately but will be best after it marinates for 24 hours.
  2. Delicious with any type of cracker or bread slice…but I prefer basic Saltines.

Peachy Pork Picante

By Susan Lewis

Ingredients

  1. 1 Pound Cubed Boneless Pork
  2. Taco Seasoning to your Preference (Cumin, paprika, garlic) or taco seasoning packet
  3. 8 oz. of salsa, choose the heat level you like
  4. 4 Heaping TBSP of Peach or Apricot Preserves
  5. White or Basmati Rice, cooked according to directions and amount necessary…I use 2 Cups uncooked to Start

Instructions

  1. Brown pork in a bit of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add seasoning, salsa, and preserves. Stir and cover.
  2. Allow to simmer gently for 15 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Serve over rice.

Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at sydnegeorge@hotmail.com . Sydne’s recipes from “Special of the day” are archived at http://sydnegeorge.com/blog/.

 

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