Can healthy food taste good?
Absolutely, judging by the results of the recent recipe competition among Minneapolis Public School employees, sponsored by HealthPartners yumPower program, which is working with MSP in a pilot effort to get students to eat more fruits and vegetables. Go carrots! Rah-rah broccoli!
The winning recipe and two finalists will appear on the lunch menu of MPS students next fall. First place went to Nicole Kuhse, above, a first- and second-grade teacher at Marcy Open School, for her Turkey Butternut Squash Chili, which is a favorite on her family's Thanksgiving table. Finalists were Nancy Alholm, who works in special education, for Wild Rice Chicken Salad and Cyndi Fraedrich, who works in community education, for Salmon With Avocado Mango Salsa, whose food will also appear on the school-lunch menu.
Get your kids ready for the recipes by preparing these dishes at home first.
TURKEY AND BUTTERNUT SQUASH CHILI
First place winner in competition among Minneapolis Public School employees. From Nicole Kuhse.
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. ground turkey breast
1 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice
3/4 c. chicken broth
1 (4.5 oz.) can chopped green chiles
2 (14.5 oz.) cans petite diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans
1 (15.5 oz.) can white hominy, drained
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 tbsp. chili powder, or more to taste
2 tbsp. cumin
2 tbsp. garlic salt
Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic; cook and stir for 3 minutes (be careful not to burn garlic). Add turkey and stir until crumbly and no longer pink.
Add squash, chicken broth, chiles, tomatoes, kidney beans, hominy and tomato sauce. Season with chili powder, cumin and garlic salt.
Bring to a simmer and cook 30 minutes, or until squash is soft.
WILD RICE CHICKEN SALAD
Serves 4 to 6.
Finalist recipe, from Nancy Alholm.
1 c. uncooked wild rice
1 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 c. water
3/4 c. dried cranberries
3/4 c. dried apricots (diced same size as cranberries)
1 c. mandarin oranges (if canned, drain well)
2 to 2 1/2 c. red seedless grapes, cut in half
1/4 c. sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 c. light oil (canola or safflower)
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 to 3 green onions, finely sliced, including some of the greens, to equal 1/4 c.
Cook wild rice according to package directions. Rinse with cool water and drain well. Place in a large bowl.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil to medium; lightly salt and pepper chicken. Cook at medium heat for 5 minutes. Turn chicken over, reduce heat, add 3/4 cups water, cover and continue cooking until internal temperature is 165 degrees (10 to 12 minutes).
Remove chicken and let cool. Cut into bite-sized pieces. Add chicken to wild rice. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Add cranberries, apricots, oranges and grapes, and mix well.
To make dressing, combine in a jar the oil, rice vinegar, red wine vinegar, sugar, 3/4 teaspoon salt, pepper and green onions. Shake thoroughly to dissolve sugar. Pour dressing over salad and stir until well coated. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Before serving, sprinkle sliced almonds on top.
SALMON WITH AVOCADO MANGO SALSA
Finalist recipe, from Cyndi Fraedrich.
1 whole salmon, filleted into 2 boneless halves
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of 1 fresh lemon
2 avocado, chopped
1 large mango, chopped
1/4 c. chopped red onions
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
Juice from 1 lime
1 c. quinoa
1 1/2 c. water
Lemon and/or lime slices, for garnish
For grilled salmon: Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper, and drizzle with lemon juice. Grill skin-side down over indirect heat or broil until fish looks opaque and flakes easily with a fork, about 30 minutes on grill or 10 to 20 minutes under broiler.
For salsa: Mix mango, red onions and cilantro together, mashing avocado slightly. Squeeze in lime juice and toss.
For quinoa: Rinse quinoa in a mesh sieve under cold water, bring 1 1/2 cups water to boil. Add quinoa, stir, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Fluff with fork.
Serve fish over a bed of quinoa, topped with salsa, with lemon and/or lime slices on the side for garnish.