We really struggled to decide what to cook for our guests for our celebratory class. Everyone had a different favorite meal. The Vegetarian Chili with Guacamole was a popular second choice, but all of our students thought it would be better with meat. We talked about ways that we could introduce some rich meaty flavors, without substantially changing the healthy and economical nature of the dish. Our experience with building flavors in the soups and stews that we already cooked this semester was really helpful!
We sautéed our vegetables in a few ounces of bacon instead of olive oil (which resulted in a few less calories but some additional saturated fat) and replaced the water in the recipe with a quick flavorful stock made with a smoked turkey wing and our vegetable trimmings. We added the chopped turkey meat and a generous amount of smoked paprika to the original recipe, for our Smokey and Mostly Vegetarian Chili with Guacamole!
Our kitchen is at the Shepard Recreation Center and there is a lot going on after school. Some of our students have good friends that play basketball in the gym down the hall and we know from experience that we should plan to feed a few extra guests. We made a BIG triple batch of chili and a double batch of strawberry shortcake with vanilla yogurt. It’s a good thing we did, too, because our young chefs wound up cooking for 18 friends, family members and coaches! We were lucky to buy some of our more expensive ingredients (strawberries and avocados) on sale and managed get everything we needed to feed everyone, not including pantry items, for a little over $30.00!
-Elena Levitan, Katey Murphy and Beth Buckman