MUKWONAGO, Wisconsin (WXOW) - Students across Wisconsin were challenged recently to create healthier meals with dairy foods and vegetables. In this segment of Wisconsin Dairy News see how their new creations are "Whipping Up Wellness" at their schools!
It may not be kitchen stadium, but these amateur chefs are definitely under a tight deadline to cook a tasty nutritious meal. The Department of Public Instruction sponsored a recent cook-off challenging teens to prepare a meal that had to fit specific criteria.
"The judges are going to be looking at appearance, taste, originality, the number of Wisconsin products that were being incorporated, as well as nutrition, as well as feasibility for a school district to use the recipe," says Alicia Dill, an Educational Consultant for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
The goal is to empower students by giving them the knowledge and skills to prepare healthy meals and learning hands-on cooking techniques.
"It's not so much what the kids prepare; it's what they're learning in the preparation of it," says Retired Executive Chef from Wisconsin's Department of Public Instruction, Monique Hooker.
Recipes were judged on nutritional quality, incorporation of local ingredients, ease of use by school food service, and presentation. The recipes could not include nuts, meat, poultry, and fish but - had to include milk, yogurt, or Wisconsin cheese.
"These kids are using things like basil and mint, you know, things that probably wouldn't be cooked with routinely, so we're really hoping that it's going to generate some new eating habits, trying new foods," says Alicia.
Students were definitely trying new things. And they learned that foods such as cheese could enhance a dish in many new ways.
"You get the nice saltiness of the fresh cheeses as opposed to the aged cheese where you get the sharpness. It really is a good contrast," says Ben Nelson a Senior at Mukwonago High School.
The winning dish was a casserole made with whole wheat pasta, tomato sauce, spinach, grated carrots and zucchini and of course, Wisconsin Mozzarella cheese!
"Four little girls who came up with this recipe, it was wonderful!" says Monique. "The flavors were delicious, and it could be adjusted, it had a lot of variety in it, they fit all the points!"
And that's Wisconsin Dairy News!
The winners of the recipe contest received a Target Gift Card funded by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, and the school received a huge banner to display in the cafeteria.
The recipes will also be added to a recipe book funded by DPI's team nutrition grant available by September 1st on their website.
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