Teen cooking class promotes healthier eating

Mar 09, 2014
Working as a team, from left, Isabella Robishaw, Isabella Smith and Elisabeth Taylor dip the cauliflower in cornstarch mixed with water and hot sauce and then into bread crumbs.

Belfast — Once a month, Sarah O’Blenes, a health educator at Waldo County General Hospital, leads a cooking class for the afterschool teen program at the Waldo County YMCA. The week of the Super Bowl, she had three healthier recipes for Super Bowl treats for the teens to try.

A couple of young ladies made two batches of air popped popcorn that would later be sprinkled with Nutritional Yeast (loaded with B vitamins) and Romano Cheese instead of being laced with salt. Chef Brice Bowman-Laberge started working with another group on Buffalo cauliflower, a take on buffalo chicken.

The teens cut up the cauliflower and then Brice tossed it with some vegetable oil. Meanwhile, another group was mixing cornstarch with hot sauce and some water to dip the cauliflower in before putting it in some fine bread crumbs and placing it on a cookie sheet. The cauliflower was put in an oven at 350 degrees and s turned over after 10 minutes.

After the lightly breaded cauliflower was taken out of the oven, someone drizzled a little more chili sauce over it. The teens seemed a little leery of trying the buffalo cauliflower. But then, one girl, who was trying to get one of her friends to try the Buffalo cauliflower, said, “At first you’re like ‘ehh,’ then you try it and want to eat it all up!”

Baked mozzarella sticks were another big hit. The teens cut mozzarella sticks in half, rolled them in an egg bath and then in some bread crumbs. Before putting them in the oven, the cookie sheet was placed in the freezer for a few minutes. The point was to get the cheese very cold so it would not melt and make a mess when put in the 350 degree oven.

O’Blenes, who also oversees the Community Transformation Grant “Farms-to-Institution” will be introducing the teens to locally grown produce once it is more readily available as she continues to teach the teens how to cook from scratch.

She is also trying to instill the principles of 5-2-1-0 into the cooking classes (5 serves of fruits and vegetables a day; no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time; at least one hour of physical activity a day; and 0 sugary drinks).

Want to try the recipes on your own or with your family?

Buffalo Cauliflower: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2013/01/spicy-buffalo-cauliflower-bites.html

Baked Mozzarella sticks: http://www.justapinch.com/recipes/appetizer/cheese-appetizer/baked-homemade-mozzarella-sticks.html

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