Category Archives: Foods Labs

How to Roast a Pumpkin for Healthy Snacks and Baking

During our Nutrition unit I demonstrate how to roast a fresh pumpkin. We enjoy the roasted seeds as a healthy plant based protein snack during our video on vegetarianism and save the flesh for our healthy baking substitutions lab.

small-sugar-pumpkin

It’s easy to do!

Select a small pumpkin from the grocery section… Not a decorative pumpkin! Last year the pumpkins were nearly impossible to cut. We were later informed that the grocery store sprayed pumpkins with a laquer. Great for decorating- not for eating! Our pumpkins this year came from a local farm. You can still roast the seeds out of big pumpkins used for carving but the flesh will be bitter.

Preheat your oven to 400 F.

Remove the stem. Do this by rolling the pumpkin onto the stem and it will easily snap off.

Sharpen your knife, sharpen it again, and cut the pumpkin cleanly in half.

Use a spoon to scoop out the “guts” of the pumpkin into a small bowl.

Run some cold water into the small bowl which makes it easier to separate the seeds from the “gunk.” Put the seeds in a colander and the gunk in the compost.

separating-pumpkin-seeds-from-gunk

Spin a paper towel around your colander to remove as much water as possible.

Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking oil spray. Spread the seeds out on the sheet in a thin layer and spray again. Sprinkle with desired seasonings. We liked Cajun seasoning and have enjoyed brown sugar and cinnamon in the past.

cajun-roasted-pumpkin-seeds

Bake the seeds on the top rack in your oven for 15-20 minutes or until crispy. Allow to cool, then enjoy!

how-to-roast-pumpkin

Meanwhile, spray the inside of the hollowed-out pumpkins with a cooking oil spray. Place face down on another baking sheet and cook on the bottom rack of your oven for about 40 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork.

After the pumpkin has cooled a bit, remove the outer skin of the pumpkin. Use a stick blender to puree, or use a regular blender in batches. The pureed pumpkin can be used in place of canned pumpkin in any recipe. We use ours in our healthy baking substitutions lab, which I will post about later this week.

I hope you enjoy this recipe with your students!

I hope what you've read is useful! I post here biweekly with resources for Family and Consumer Sciences and Home Economics teachers and share my classroom happenings much more frequently on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Sign up to receive an email when new content is added to my blog. Thanks for visiting!

Homemade Rice-a-Roni

Making your own Rice-a-Roni Dish at home is simple, tasty, and inexpensive.

A few notes before we begin:

  • This recipe uses white rice and rice pasta.  Remember that white rice is “endosperm rice” and has had the bran removed, so they contain very little fiber.  Make sure that you are getting fiber in another meal, or in your side dish.
  • There are very little vegetables in this dish.  If you are serving it as a full meal, you should add a vegetable like frozen peas, carrots, broccoli, etc.  You could also serve a fresh salad on the side.

Homemade Rice-a-Roni

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb ground beef (Ground chicken or turkey makes a healthy substitute)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 1 C rice
  • 8 0z spaghetti, broken into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 C broth (Ours is leftover from our vegetable cooking lab)

Instructions

  1. Brown ground meat over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and saute until translucent.
  3. Add butter and stir until melted.
  4. Brown the spaghetti and rice for about two minutes: just until golden.
  5. Add broth and bring to boil.
  6. Cover, and reduce heat to simmer.
  7. Add frozen or fresh vegetables now, if desired.
  8. Simmer 20 minutes, or until rice and spaghetti is cooked through.

I find that a lot of my students depend on salty, processed convenience food when preparing meals.  This dish is made from whole ingredients and all of the ingredients are shelf-stable.  Students can make this dish just as easily as Hamburger Helper.

I demonstrated this dish with our grains unit.  We watched Alton Brown’s “Waves of Grains: Power to the Pilaf” while we waited for the rice to simmer and while we enjoyed the dish.

I did not add salt or pepper to this dish for the class but set the salt and pepper shaker to the side.  You can adjust the seasonings to your own taste.

Please comment below to share your favorite whole-food convenience recipes.

I hope what you've read is useful! I post here biweekly with resources for Family and Consumer Sciences and Home Economics teachers and share my classroom happenings much more frequently on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Sign up to receive an email when new content is added to my blog. Thanks for visiting!

How to Peel Peaches for Canning and Cooking

Peeling peaches for canning and cooking is quick and easy.

Alyssa and Brittney demonstrated how to peel peaches during our fruit toppings food lab.

First, cut peaches along the “equator,” just through the skin.

Place the peaches into boiling water with enough water to cover.  Cook for 30 seconds.

Take the peaches directly from the boiling water into the ice water.

When the peaches have cooled, you will be able to slip the skins right off.

Your peaches are ready for preparation in a cooked fruit recipe.

You can also use this technique to peel tomatoes for a homemade marinara.

I hope what you've read is useful! I post here biweekly with resources for Family and Consumer Sciences and Home Economics teachers and share my classroom happenings much more frequently on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Sign up to receive an email when new content is added to my blog. Thanks for visiting!