Cooking Class for College Students

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As summer begins to wind down and your college students return to campus, give them the skills they need to be top chefs in their own kitchen. I have prepared three easy, budget friendly, healthy meals any college student will enjoy!  Please join me, Wednesday, August 3rd from 6:30- 8:30pm at Marcel’s in Glen Ellyn for my “Cooking for College Students” class. This class is designed with the busy college student in mind. Whether buying groceries, learning to use a knife, or even hosting the very first dinner party, this class will go through the entire cooking process. What’s super cool is that each student who signs up will receive a free Kai Luna 8” Chef Knife to bring back to their own kitchens at school. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity! Here is what’s on the menu: Cheesy Beef and Bean Enchiladas, Lemon Chicken and Potato Pockets, Black Bean Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries and, for dessert, Chocolate Almond Banana Boat. Sign up at Marcel’s College Cooking Class before it sells out!

Please note:  this class is back by popular demand with fresh ideas and recipes so that any returning students will receive new information and taste new dishes! Also, you don’t have to be a college student to attend!  Everyone welcome!

CELEBRATING EARTH DAY

Earth

It is Earth Day.  I want to celebrate by getting the word out about about an important issue:  food waste.  Did you know that about 40 percent of the U.S. food supply is never eaten?  UGH! That uneaten food is a drain on the earth. The resources used to produce this uneaten food includes 31% cropland, 25% of total fresh water consumption and 2% total energy.  Think of all the waste in planting, growing, transporting, storing, preparing, and serving this uneaten food.  To make bad things worse, this uneaten food accounts for a significant use of landfills (about 18 percent of all municipal solid waste [MSW] is uneaten food- the second largest category of MSW).  UGH!

These facts are sobering, but let’s use them as motivation for action!  There are many things we can all do.  Discarded food in homes and foodservice accounts for 60 percent of food loss and is mostly avoidable.  I’m pledging to make a commitment to reduce my own personal food waste… here’s how:

  • Being mindful of quantity while shopping for and ordering food
  • Paying attention to ‘use by’ and expiration dates on food
  • Taking restaurant leftovers home
  • Freezing food before it spoils
  • Being creative with leftovers (look for future Myplate2yours recipes!)

Please share what YOU do to reduce food waste, we can all learn from each other! By challenging ourselves to personally reduce food waste, we may spur others around us to do the same.  Now that would be great for this planet we share!  Happy Earth Day 2016!

The facts in this article are from “Smart Choices for a Healthy Planet”, the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation, Future of Food Initiative, 2015.

 

 

Spring Calendar Update

Calendar

Happy Spring!!  I am excited to share this new class schedule with you. These are all taught at Marcel’s Culinary Experience in downtown Glen Ellyn, Illinois.  I hope you can cook with me soon!

April 

13-(12:30-2pm) Midday at Marcel’s- Celebrating Maple Syrup Season: Bruschetta with Ricotta and Maple Roasted Rhubarb, Maple Glazed Pork Medallions with Apples, Chewy Maple Nut Cookies. Demo/$35 Register HERE

21-(9:30-11am) Morning at Marcel’s- Breakfast for DinnerSpinach & Artichoke Egg Casserole, Zucchini and Sweet Potato Pancakes with Cilantro Cream, Baked Banana with Dark Chocolate and Almonds. Demo/$35  Register HERE

May 

11-(12:30-2pm) Midday at Marcel’s- To Market Spring Has Sprung : Sugar Snap Peas Salad with Tarragon and Pea Shoots, Seared Scallops with Parsley and Scallion Pesto, Sweet Strawberry Brie Bites with Balsamic Glaze. Demo/$35  Register HERE

19-(9:30-11am) Morning at Marcel’s- Cooking Smart (1 protein, 2 meals): Edamame, Carrots and Honey Chicken Rice Bowls and Key West Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Mango and Jicama; Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Crisps. Demo/$35  Register HERE  

June                                                         

1-(12:30-2pm) Midday at Marcel’s- Prep for Summer – Lean & Luscious: Roasted Asparagus with Chive Yogurt Ranch Dressing, Chicken and Artichoke Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms, Light Lime Cheesecakes. Demo/$35  Register HERE

7-(6:30-9pm) Road Trip: Nashville: Southern Sweet Fruit Tea; Warm Tomato, Corn and Jalapeño Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette; Skillet Roasted Hot Chicken with Red Potatoes and Fennel; Peaches and Dumplings with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Hand’s On/$80 Register HERE

Savvy Slow Cooking Class

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Savvy Slow Cooking with Dina Bair on WGN Midday News!

The quickest cooking class I’ve ever taught was this past Friday on WGN Midday News.  In less than 5 minutes I demonstrated two of my favorite slow cooker recipes.  That’s funny, isn’t it?  A quick class of slow cooker recipes?  Anyway, if you want to watch Friday’s segment, here’s the link.  And here are the links to my featured recipes: White Chicken Chili and Jalapeño and Portobello Braised Beef.

The real purpose of the WGN segment was to promote my upcoming Savvy Slow Cooking classes.  The first one scheduled on Thursday, February 4th is sold out but a second one has been added on Friday, February 5th at Marcel’s in Glen Ellyn.  In this class scheduled from 9:30-11am, I will demo three different recipes:  Maple Brown Sugar Steel Cut Oatmeal with Apples, Fiesta Chicken Tortilla Soup, and Asian Moo Shu Pork.

Slow cooking answers the 5pm question, ‘What’s for Dinner?’.  My own slow cooker stays on my counter most of the winter and I use it weekly to make flavorful and healthy family meals.  With these upcoming classes, I hope to encourage you to dust off your own slow cooker so that you will have an answer to the ‘Whats for Dinner’ question at your house!

Will you join me for a morning in the kitchen tasting, learning, and sharing?  I hope so!  To register and for more information, click here!

Upcoming College Class: Give the Gift of Cooking!

 

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Tortellini and Vegetable Soup

Greetings!  In just 8 days, we will be celebrating Christmas.  If you are anything like me, you may have a few gifts left to buy.  If anyone on your list is in college or just starting out in a new kitchen (for example, a first apartment or new house), I may have the perfect gift!  My upcoming College Cooking Class at Marcel’s Culinary Experience in Glen Ellyn, is designed with these new cooks in mind.  On January 7th, from 6:30-8:30pm, we will make three deliciously easy and nutritious main dishes. No fancy equipment is necessary for these stove top recipes. And, I promise not to forget dessert!  On the menu: Tortellini and Vegetable Soup, Cheesy Beef and Tomato Pasta Skillet Supper, Tangy Orange Chicken Thighs and Rice, and Dunkable Monster Cookies.

For more information and to register, click here!  HO, HO, HO!

And please check out the full listing of my cooking classes at Marcel’s for the first quarter of 2016 HERE!

For the Love of Stew!

Ancho Pork and Hominy Stew

Ancho Pork and Hominy Stew

Cool weather has arrived just in time ‘For the Love of Stew‘ this week at Marcel’s in Glen Ellyn.  On Thursday morning, November 12, 9:30-11am I am teaching:  Ancho Pork and Hominy Stew, Lamb & Butternut Squash Stew, and Skillet Jalapeño Cornbread. Come to relax with a cup of coffee while I make deliciously easy recipes for you to taste and enjoy!  These stew recipes are unique as they are each ready in just 30 minutes.  You’ll leave class easily knowing what you are making for dinner that night!  For more information and to register click HERE.  I hope you can join me!

Teal Pumpkin Project

Teal Pumpkin ProjectKids love Halloween.  What’s not to love?  Trick or Treating?  The CANDY?!  But for many children with food allergies, Halloween can be a very tricky time.  Many traditional Halloween treats aren’t safe for children with life-threatening food allergies.  I know this first hand.  Our 16-year-old son has severe food allergies.  His ‘Trick or Treating’ as a child just meant more candy for his siblings.  I vividly remember him dumping his candy out onto the floor and sorting it into ‘safe’ and ‘give away’ piles.  This was a very important process but unfortunately his ‘safe’ pile only consisted of a few hard candies.

There is an exciting initiative underway to make Halloween a fun positive experience for all!  The Teal Pumpkin Project™ is designed to promote safety, inclusion and respect of individuals managing food allergies. This nationwide movement offers an alternative for kids with food allergies, as well as other children for whom candy is not an option.  Launched as a national campaign by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) in 2014, the momentum is building with 100,000 households pledging to participate this year!  And, for kids looking for Teal Pumpkin Project™ homes, a neighborhood map will be available.

Do you want to participate?
Participating is simple – Visit FARE’s website to sign the pledge (I signed up this week!), then pick up some inexpensive non-food items (e.g., pencils, stickers, glow sticks), and place a teal pumpkin and/or a free printable sign from FARE outside your home to show that you have non-food treats to hand out. Supporting the Teal Pumpkin Project™ is a simple gesture that can have a big impact.

Please join FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project™ to help us create a safer, happier Halloween for all!

The TEAL PUMPKIN PROJECT and the Teal Pumpkin Image are trademarks of Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE)

A Very Special Birthday!

Myplate2yours celebrates 4 years!  Thank you to my friends and followers for your continued interest and encouragement in everything good-tasting & healthy!  My own birthday falls within the same week and this year, these 2 birthdays turned into one very special celebration.  Here is my story in pictures:

I was surprised on my birthday with breakfast in bed, compliments of my 16 year old son!

On my birthday, I was surprised with breakfast in bed, compliments of my 16 year old son! It was very balanced: fresh fruit salad, a bagel and my favorite coffee yogurt!

Just 3 days later, I flew to France to join my husband who was there for business. Here we are in Paris on the top of Notre Dame!

Just 3 days later, I flew to France to join my husband who was there for business. Here we are in Paris on the top of Notre Dame!

Thanks to our friends in Nantes, I was treated to a cooking class for my birthday. Chef Laurent Saudeau of Restaurant Manoir de la Boulaie prepared 6 exquisite dishes in this three hour class.

Thanks to our good friends in Nantes, I was treated to a cooking class for my birthday. Chef Laurent Saudeau of Restaurant Manoir de la Boulaie prepared 6 exquisite dishes in this three hour class.

We returned later that evening for a several course dinner. This was the cheese course. What a real treat!

We returned to Manor de la Boulaie later that evening for a several course meal. This was the cheese course. What a real treat!

We had the privilege of enjoying this lovely lunch on the Brittany coast. These fresh caught langostinos were delicious!

The next day, we had the privilege of enjoying a beautiful day on the Brittany coast and this fresh caught lunch. These steamed langostinos were simply delicious!

It was a wonderful 4 days… but now that I’ve returned (full and happy), I’m refreshed and ready to cook, write and teach. You may just find some French-inspired recipes published soon!

CHOPPED!

Chopped!

Are you hosting a party and need a fun idea?  Try CHOPPED!  It was the theme of my youngest son’s end of summer party with his friends.  We split the 8 boys into two teams and charged them with developing 2 dishes:  an appetizer and a dessert.  We fed them dinner in between the competitive sessions.  Here’s how it worked:

4 secret ingredients were given to each team.  They had 10 minutes to plan and brainstorm with their team and 30 minutes to prepare the dish.  I had designated specific areas in the kitchen for each team to plan and prep.

Round 1 ingredients: Sundried tomatoes, cream cheese, pickles and ramen noodles

Round 1 ingredients: Sundried tomatoes, cream cheese, pickles and ramen noodles

Round 2 ingredients: Crescent rolls, fresh apricots, dolce de leche, fresh mint

Round 2 ingredients: Crescent rolls, fresh apricots, dolce de leche, fresh mint

 

There was also a ‘pantry’ area of ingredients the teams could freely use in their recipes.  When the 30 minutes ended, we had the boys present their finished dish to the judges.  There were 4 judges who rated each dish on a 3-point scale for creativity, taste, and presentation. Everyone had a lot of fun and the final dishes were really creative for this group of rising 7th grade boys!

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I do think adults would enjoy this party, too.  Maybe a few guests could volunteer to be the judges.  Please let me know if you do host a Chopped! party, too…. I’d love to hear your ideas!

This is the second group's dessert: a chocolate filled crescent roll with a fresh apricot garnished with whipped cream and mint

This is the second group’s dessert: a chocolate filled crescent roll with a fresh apricot garnished with whipped cream and mint

Dessert

I didn’t snap any photos of the first round appetizers but did get the two desserts! Here is one: a crescent roll filled with apricot and a creamy layered chocolate cup