Cooking Matters @ Alliance, Class 1: Doha Medani, Summer Intern

 Alliance Medical Ministry patients socialize and enjoy the meal they prepared together.

Alliance Medical Ministry patients socialize and enjoy the meal they prepared together.

The summer Cooking Matters class has kicked off at Alliance Medical Ministry!

Cooking Matters is a six week cooking and nutrition course that helps Alliance patients plan, shop, and cook healthy, nutritious, affordable, and delicious meals.  Alliance Medical Ministry is a site for this free, six-week program, coordinated with the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. The first class for the Summer session was Wednesday June 14th. Approximately 11 participants and a few family members came together to make colorful vegetable fajitas! 

The volunteer instructor for the Summer course is Lindsey Miller, a graduate of Public Health from Appalachian State University who will be attending graduate school in the Fall. The class will be taught in Spanish as well, thanks to volunteer interpreter! Esther Jimenez joined as the volunteer interpreter at this kick-off session.

The class kicked off with a conversation on the importance of food our lives, the barriers we face to nutrition, and what patients hope to learn throughout the course. This week's lesson plan discussed the food groups, the importance of variety and how to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in meals. The course aims to answer many common misconceptions about nutrition and wellness, including organic versus conventional foods, how to best prepare and store produce and poultry, grocery shopping guidance and more.

After discussions, patients got in groups and made delicious vegetable fajitas and pico de gallo! Inter-Faith Food Shuttle provided 40 pounds of produce for patients. Some of the produce used was provided by the garden right here at Alliance! At the end of every class, participants were provided with a bag of produce to take home and incorporate in their meals the rest of the week! This week's produce bag included mushrooms, yellow squash, tomatoes and jalapeños. 

There's still room!  Alliance patients that are interested in joining the Summer class can contact the Garden and Wellness coordinator, Jesse Crouch, garden@alliancemedicalministry.org.  Participants must commit to all six weeks of class, with no more than 2 absences to graduate. 

Colorful Vegetable Fajitas Recipes

Ingredients

  • 8 (8 inch) whole wheat flour tortillas 
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced 
  • 1 pound dry beans (black or pinto) can substitute canned beans
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced in strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced in strips
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic 
  • 1 yellow squash, halved and sliced into strips 
  • any other of your favorite vegetables, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. Rinse and soak dry beans overnight. Rinse and cook in a crockpot on low for 4-6 hours until beans are soft. (if you don't have a crock pot follow directions for stove top cooking
  2. Follow directions for cooking rice on stovetop (rice cookers are great, easy and convenient)
  3. in a 10 inch skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onions, red and green bell peppers, and garlic; stir to coat with oil. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir squash into vegetables.  
  4. Season vegetables with cumin, chili powder, and black pepper. Add additional seasoning to taste. 
  5. Cook for 5 more minutes or until vegetables are soft.
  6. Spoon vegetable mixture evenly down the centers of tortilla
  7. Add beans, rice, pico de Gallo, salsa , avocado and/or hot sauce.
  8. Roll up tortillas, and serve.

Pico De Gallo

Ingredients 

  • 3/4 pound tomatoes (about 2 medium), seeded and finely diced (1 1/2 cups) 
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro 
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped white onion 
  • 1 small fresh jalapeño or Serrano Chile, finely chopped, including seeds, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, or more to taste 

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Season to taste with additional chile and lime juice. This salsa keeps in the refrigerator for up to one day.
  3. Before you serve it, stir it well and drain any excess liquid that has accumulated in the bowl.