Katherine Matutes, PHD, JCC Director of Health and Wellness creates Healthy Kid Friendly dishes!
Katherine focuses on creating attractive dishes that despite being healthy, are very appealing to children. She is quite clever in how she has found ways to "hide" healthy ingredients from kids - like using a whole wheat pasta with a spaghetti squash.
Roasted Butternut Squash with dried Cherries and Pecans
Serves 4-6 as a side dish
1 butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and diced
1 yellow onion, chopped
½ Cup dried Cherries
½ Cup Roasted Pecans
2 TBS olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional, cream cheese or goat cheese
Spread onions and squash into a single layer on a cookie sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 450° F for 35-45 minutes, until tender and lightly browned. Toss in cherries and pecans add dollops of cheese just before serving.
Nutrients of Butternut squash
It has more vitamin A than pumpkin. At 10630 IU per 100 g (~2/3 Cup) (354% of RDA)
Vitamin A is a powerful natural anti-oxidant and is required by the body for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucus membranes. It is also an essential vitamin for good eye-sight. Research studies suggest that natural foods rich in vitamin A help the body protected against lung and oral cavity cancers.
It is rich in B-complex group of vitamins like folate, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, and pantothenic acid.
It has similar mineral profile as that in pumpkin, containing adequate levels of minerals like iron, zinc, copper, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus.
Serves 4-6 as an entree
1 Spaghetti squash, halved and de-seeded
5 ounces Whole wheat spaghetti
3 TBS. Olive oil
1 diced red bell pepper
1 clove minced fresh garlic
4-5 leaves fresh basil, chopped
Juice of ½ lemon
Grated parmesan cheese to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Do this by putting a long knife in the center of the squash and draw the blade towards one end, remove the knife and repeat towards the opposite end - the squash should easily split open like wood being split with an axe. Remove seeds (an ice cream scooper works great for this).
3. Place squash cut side down in a pan and place in oven. Fill pan with water 1/2 way up the squash. Cook for one hour. Squash is done when a knife easily pierces the skin.
4. After it's cooked, remove squash from water and handle with a hot pad using a fork to scrape out and separate the squash strands.
5. Cook pasta according to directions.
6. Sauté bell pepper with olive oil on medium heat till tender-crisp. Drain pasta and toss with peppers and olive oil, add cooked squash, garlic and lemon juice and heat for 1 more minute. Finish with basil and parmesan cheese to serve.
Nutrients of Spaghetti squash
Spaghetti squash is a good source of Vitamins A and C, both powerful antioxidants. It also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which are antioxidants that protect your eyes from age-related diseases. It is good source of zinc which has been proven to help support you immune system.
100 grams (~2/3 Cup) has 7 grams of carbohydrates, 30 calories, is high in soluble fiber which is helpful in lowering blood cholesterol
Over the past several years, the JCC of Indianapolis has been undergoing a cultural change to lead by example, offer relevant resources, and educate the community about nutrition and good food choices. Gone from the building are the vending machines that once sold soda, candy bars and potato chips. In are the new machines that vend water, juice, baked chips, granola bars and apple sauce. And the numbers are in – sales of the healthy products exceeded sales of the prior year's unhealthy choices by 9%!
The obesity epidemic is fueled by unhealthy, inexpensive food and snacks that are more readily accessible than healthier choices. What would happen if those fast food choices were less available? Would people make better choices for themselves and their families if they were better educated about the effect food has on our health? JCC management is committed to helping the public make better choices. For almost 100 years, the JCC has pursued its mission of enhancing the quality of life of its membership and the greater Indianapolis community. Healthy eating is simply a natural extension of this mission.
The efforts the JCC has made over the past several years are numerous:
1. Teachers in the JCC's preschool established a vegetable garden for our students more than 6 years ago. The children participate in the planting, tending and watering of the garden, and at the end of the season they harvest and enjoy the fruits of their labor. The children's garden has more than doubled in size since its inception.
2. Katherine Matutes, PhD, the JCC's Director of Health and Wellness and a certified nutritionist, leads healthy cooking classes at the JCC for the general public. "Cooking 101" covered such topics as how to incorporate healthy foods into one's diet, reduce sodium
without sacrificing flavor, avoid losing nutrients in the cooking process, shop healthfully and how to involve children in the shopping experience.
3. Beginning February 12 and in partnership with Green BEAN Delivery, Katherine Matutes, PhD will offer a second nutrition class, "Soups, Stews and Winter Vegetables." The 4-week class running on Tuesday evenings, Feb 12-Mar 5, 6:30-7:30 pm, will cover everything seasonal from appetizers, soups, main dishes and desserts. Cost is $30 for the general public, $20 for JCC members. Registration is at www.JCCindy.org or by calling 251-9467. These classes are so popular that healthy cooking classes will be scheduled regularly throughout the year.
4. In 2011, the JCC launched a community garden with 31 raised beds available annually for $40 each. The garden plots were all rented in less than one month. All gardening is organic style and 100% chemical free. Tenants typically grow vegetables for their own consumption and enjoy healthy, flavorful produce and reduced expenses at the grocery store throughout the harvest season.
5. In conjunction with the JCC Community Garden, the JCC offers seasonal garden classes covering topics such as garden planning, managing pests, and canning produce. More classes are planned for spring and summer 2013.
6. Each year the JCC offers at least one food event to teach parents how to make healthy food more appealing to children. In 2011, Katherine Matutes donned her chef's coat and hat for a "Spaghetti, Spaghetti" family feast. She created a pasta dish featuring whole wheat pasta and spaghetti squash smothered in a zesty red sauce made from a large assortment of pureed vegetables. The salad offering was made from spinach and she prepared green beans with toasted almonds as the side dish. Most children (and adults!) thoroughly enjoyed their healthy dinners and went back for seconds.
Additionally, in 2012 Katherine prepared a creative kid-friendly make-your-own quesadilla event called "Play with Your Food." She presented a beautiful assortment of colorful ingredients from which children could select to put inside their whole wheat quesadilla. Offerings included pomegranate seeds, spinach, blueberries, shredded carrots, red bell peppers and other healthy fixings to encourage children to try new foods.
7. Lastly, the inaugural Earth Day Community Celebration at the JCC in 2012 was a resounding success. 2,000 people from all over the community came out for an interactive day of learning by doing to gain appreciation for the need to protect and preserve our world for future generations. While the 30+ exhibitors provided activities ranging from scavenger hunts to looking at pond water through a microscope, visitors also learned about gardens and planted seedlings in recycled bottles to start a home garden.
2013 promises to be just as healthy at the JCC. In addition to the nutrition class beginning on February 12 (#3 above), the JCC has prepared a nutrition presentation for the public at the Indiana Historical Society on Saturday, February 16, 10 am-3 pm, as part of the IHS's "Love Your Heart" event. Katherine Matutes will have a number of interactive projects to entertain and teach youth (as well as their parents) about portion sizes and how they have changed drastically since the 1940s, how to make healthy food choices, and what percent of food groups should be present in a balanced meal. Kids will create a sample dinner plate with modeling clay, there will be illustrations to color, puzzles to solve and foods to sample.
This event is free and open to the public at the Indianapolis Historical Society, 450 West Ohio Street in Indianapolis.
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