Students learn cooking skills
By Katie Zerr
Teaching a group of teenagers about nutrition and how each ingredient impacts the health of a meal can prove to be a daunting task. But for Deb Kraft and her sophomore and junior students, it has proved to be fun and an eye-opening experience.
The class consists of twice as many males as females and they are not shy about what they have learned this year. The class includes Joe Alavos, Riley Schott, Killian Warner, Jacob D. Bleyle, Jaden Madison, Trevor Brammer, Tara Marrow Bone, ReAnne Kohlus and Lindsey Hoisington, who was absent the day of this interview.
The class was having a meal they had prepared the day before. Each meal prepared by the class is a lesson in cooking a meal at home that is healthy, easy and reasonably priced. The students learn how each ingredient they use impacts the meal and how limiting certain ingredients, like fats and starches, can make meals better for them.
The meal consisted of Italian pot roast with au jus, potatoes and baby carrots, Italian herb bread and frozen fruit cups.
The meal was tasty, well prepared and it was enjoyable to sit with the class as they ate the meal and talked about the class.
“My mom has always loved cooking and I wanted to see why she loves it so much,” said Joe when asked why he took the class. “And we get to eat what we cook.”
He said learning how all the ingredients need to be precise to make the flavor just right was one of the lessons he found most interesting.
For Riley, it was learning to cook the right way.
“How to be safe when cooking and learning about all the things that can happen if you’re not,” he said. He explained that learning about food-borne diseases was interesting.
His favorite dish they made during the class was what Mrs. Kraft said was their “Christmas splurge,” fruit pizza. He proudly showed off a picture he had taken with his cell phone.
The majority of the class agreed, it was one of their favorite dishes.
Jaden said the cost of meals was a surprise to him.
“We learned how to make cheap, homemade meals that are less expensive than if we went out to eat the same thing,” he said.
Mrs. Kraft said one of the meal cost comparisons that was a bit of a shock to the class was a spaghetti dinner.
“Learning the difference between eating out and home-cooked meals was really surprising,” said ReAnne. “The most surprising was the difference in the cost.”
Mrs. Kraft said one of the important aspects of the class is introducing the students to foods from other cultures. The class made salsa, carnitas and some Italian dishes.
“It was nice to try the foods from other places,” said Jacob. “The Cuban sandwiches were pretty good.”
The class learned a lesson about different proteins and substitutes for meat, as cooking through Lent made that a necessity. Each lesson brought the students closer to being able to fend for themselves.
“Before I didn’t know how to cook, now I do,” said Killian. “Mrs. Kraft is a very good teacher.”
She said Killian kept all the recipes the class has cooked all quarter. From breakfast pizza to the sweet breads, (Killian kept pushing for chocolate chips, which they finally used in the banana bread recipe), the students used the semi-home made recipes for quick and easy meals.
Trevor said the best lesson was that they could learn how to make the meals they ate.
“Those carnitas were amazing,” he said.
The majority of the students said they would be moving on to the culinary arts class in the next year or two and that they are looking forward to spreading their culinary wings in the more advanced class.
1 3-4 lb. pork butt roast
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. cilantro
1 1/2 cups orange juice
Cut meat into 2-3 inch cubes. Combine all of the dry spices. Roll meat cubes in spice mix, completely coating all of the the meat. Place meat in a greased slow cooker. Any leftover spice is sprinkled on top of the meat. Pour orange juice over the pork, and turn the slow cooker on low for 8 hrs. When finished, shred the meat and place on a baking sheet. Place baking sheet under the broiler and crisp the meat. Serve with tortillas and traditional taco toppings.
Italian Herb Bread
1 1/2 cups water
3 Tbsp. powdered milk
2 Tbsp. margarine
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
1 1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 1/4 tsp. yeast
Follow instructions for your bread machine.
My machine instructs to measure ingredients in the order listed into the baking pan. (I mix the water and powdered milk and microwave for about 30 seconds on high before putting in pan.).
Insert baking pan into oven chamber and secure pan.
Select basic bread setting and 2-pound loaf.
When cycle ends, I put the loaf into a large zip lock bag, seal, and place on wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
Frozen Fruit Cup
6 oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate
1/2 can water
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 small can pineapple chunks and juice
1 small can peaches, drained
1 small can pears, drained
1 cup whole strawberries
A variety of fruit can be used, substitute to meet your needs and available fruit. You may also reduce or increase the amount of sugar to your taste.
Combine frozen orange juice concentrate, water, sugar and lemon juice. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add fruit pieces, and pineapple juice. Stir to mix. Line muffin tin with paper or foil liners. Fill liners approx 1/2 – 3/4 full. Freeze in freezer. Take out ahead of time so fruit is still frozen, and juice is still slushy. May need to warm the bottom of tins with a damp cloth to remove liners of fruit. Makes approx. 1 1/2 doz. fruit cups.
Italian Roast Beef
1 3-5 lb. beef roast
1 pkg. au jus mix seasoning
1 pkg. dry Italian dressing mix – Good Seasons
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1 small pkg. baby carrots
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
Place meat in greased slow cooker. Place carrots and potatoes in with the roast. Sprinkle seasoning into mixing bowl with sauce and water and mix. Pour mix over vegetables and roast. Place on low for 8 1/2 hours or high for 4 1/2 hours.