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October 25, 2012

Cooking Class Introduces New Skills and New Food

Making the most of our meals is what the past two cooking classes have been about. Tips included planning meals ahead of time, creating a specific grocery list, using the same food item for several meals and label reading. This time label reading focused on comparing unit prices to determine the most affordable food cost when purchasing fresh, frozen and canned groceries.

Cooking class participants tried jicama for the first time.
In keeping meals affordable, participants learned how to cut a whole chicken to use the meat for individual chicken pot pies and the bones combined with leftover fresh vegetable scraps to make chicken broth, which was later used to make barley lentil soup. One participant commented, “The chicken pot pie was so good with sweet potatoes in it…I ate all of it!” Sweet potatoes were a key ingredient in another recipe –homemade Cajun sweet potato fries.

In addition to learning something new at each cooking class, our motto is for participants to try something new, whether it’s a recipe, cooking method or new food. This week’s new food was jicama, a root vegetable native to Mexico, Central and South America.

This was the first time I had ever tried jicama as well!

While jicama can be steamed, baked, boiled or fried, we decided to create citrus spiked jicama and carrot slaw, keeping the vegetable’s crunchy texture and adding a sweet, fruity taste. Participants enjoyed trying this new food. As a class we brainstormed how to incorporate this food into different recipes. Although jicama is on the pricier end for a vegetable, when money is saved through meal planning and budgeting, it can be used to purchase a few new and expensive ingredients.

Participants will learn more on how to make the most efficient use of their time and money at the grocery store during next week’s grocery store tour at the Giant in Columbia Heights.

Brittany Lawrance RD, LDN, Community Dietitian

Brittany is a registered dietitian and has been with Food & Friends since October 2012. Her previous experience was working as a clinical dietitian on the pediatric hematology and oncology unit at Children’s National Medical Center. Brittany completed her dietetic internship in Baltimore, Maryland through Sodexo-Mid Atlantic and is a graduate of Bluffton University in Ohio. She enjoys traveling, playing tennis and softball, making crafts, and has a new found love for leading cooking class. Learn more about Food & Friends' nutrition services.

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