As a participant in May’s Champions for Kids Jennie-O Make the Switch Simple Service Project, I gave up drinking soda, to save money and funnel that savings into donating food to help kids in need in our own community. With “Healthy Switch” being the theme, I wanted to be sure the recipes we created and used to build our healthy eating food pantry donation, would show kids that healthy food can also taste good and be fun to prepare. We’re going to be saving somewhere between $30 and $40 a month, not buying soda! We’ll be healthier and be able to make better use of the money we’re entrusted with. What an awesome opportunity to be able to do extra giving and involve our kids. Giving up soda has been a real stretch for me and I have to admit to breaking down and having one, Saturday. However, my husband cheered me up and helped me get right back on track, when he reminded me that in the span of time I have gone without, I would normally have consumed nearly 40 cans of soda!!! Only one in that span of time really HAS been a “healthy switch” for me and now I’m inspired to keep going! Even if I never achieve perfection, the dramatic decrease in sugar has got to make a profound effect on my health and weight, over time.
I have had an absolute blast this week, cooking with my daughter, taking pictures and talking about the importance of making choices that make a difference, for ourselves and for others. It’s important to me that my kids develop a servant’s heart and no matter whether we have a little or a lot, it’s critical to be wise stewards of what we do have, so we are able to share with others. The CFK Jennie-O Healthy Switch Simple Service Project has been an awesome opportunity to put that into practice! Since this project is about making a healthy switch that can benefit kids in need, I decided to give up soda and use the money saved to donate to our local food pantry. I wanted to make our donation something that would inspire and encourage kids to make good food choices, so we decided to put together some recipe pages of healthy dishes that kids can make and then include the ingredients to make each one, in our donation. My ten-year-old went through one of our cooking with kids cookbooks and helped me pick the recipes she wanted to make. We chose Turkey Burgers, Dressed Up Baked Potatoes and Fruit Smoothies. It turns out that the meat mixture from the Turkey Burgers also makes some fantastic meatballs, so we included them, too.
Our first step was to make a shopping trip to Walmart for all the recipe ingredients, one set for us to prep for the recipe card pictures and one set for our donation. You can see the shopping trip by visiting my Google+ album. Then we brought everything home and started our fun cooking session. By the time we were finished, our ten-year-old had completed an entire dinner for our family and modeled for lots of pictures, plus prepped a couple lunches for later in the week! She was definitely feeling pretty accomplished and we had a lot of fun!
The recipes we made are below, and the recipe pages we printed out to include with the food pantry donation are here.
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 1 lb. ground turkey sausage
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 2 Tablespoons Spike Seasoning
- 1 apple, grated
- 1 onion, minced
- 1 bell pepper, minced
- whole wheat buns
- sliced tomatoes
- ketchup and mustard
- Grate the apple and chop the pepper and onion.
- In a large bowl, mix the ground turkey and turkey sausage with a fork.
- Add the chopped veggies and apple and mix to combine.
- Add the eggs, Spike seasoning and oats.
- The easiest way to mix this is with your hands!
- The turkey mixture will not hold together in the same way that hamburger does. It will be more loose and seem really juicy, but that is good. Your burgers will be moist and delicious!
- Shape the burger patties and lay them on a cookie sheet. (We made six large burger patties and had enough meat mixture left over to make 12 big meatballs to eat with our spaghetti lunch, the next day. )
- Place the cookie sheet in the fridge for at least an hour. This helps your burgers to become a little firmer.
- Cover the top rack of your broiler pan with foil. Your turkey burgers will be very juicy as they cook and this will make cleaning your pan so much easier.
- When the burgers are done chilling, move them to the broiler pan. Broil them on high, on the center rack of your oven, for 8 minutes on each side.
- When your burgers are done, remove the broiler pan from the oven and put it on a wire cooling rack. It's time to build your burgers!
- We had some fresh lettuce from our garden to put on the whole wheat buns and since we couldn’t find large slicing tomatoes, we added cherry tomatoes sliced in half. You could also use onions and pickles or any of your favorite toppings to make your burgers.
- 10 lb bag of russet potatoes
- diced turkey ham, chicken or turkey
- diced fresh veggies like: tomatoes, onions, celery, kale, carrots, or bell peppers
- grated cheese
- plain yogurt, butter or sour cream
- salt and pepper
- At our house we like to save money AND save time. We often buy a 10 lb bag of russet potatoes and bake them, all at once, to save electricity and extra baking time through the week. Baked potatoes can be kept in the fridge in a ziptop bag for several days and reheated in the microwave for a minute or two when you’re ready to eat them. That makes them a quick and nutritious lunch option! We even make twice-baked potatoes, occasionally, and then flash freeze them for future lunches.
- Choose enough potatoes to make baked potatoes for your family or bake the whole bag to get a head start on your week's lunches. Scrub the skins clean under cold water and then prick the skins with a fork, so the steam, from baking, doesn’t make them burst in the oven. Place all the potatoes on a cookie sheet, so they are easy to put in, and take out of, the oven.
- Bake them at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until a fork slides into them easily. SECRET TIP: If your baked potatoes are done before the rest of your meal is complete, you can wrap them in a clean dish towel to hold in the heat and keep them warm until your meal is ready.
- Eat your baked potatoes hot from the oven or cool some of them and store for lunches, later on.
- As a side dish we often eat our baked potatoes with just butter or sour cream, but there are some other delicious options that are so much healthier. Especially if you are eating baked potatoes as a lunch, it’s a good idea to dress them up with some nutritious toppings, like the ones listed above.
- For our lunch, today, we had turkey ham, onions and tomatoes in the fridge. So, we diced those up and ate them on our baked potatoes with some salt and pepper. Delicious!!!
- Serve and enjoy!
- ¾ cup frozen fruit or berries
- 3 bananas, peeled and broken into pieces
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 - 2 cups of almond milk, (varies by how thick you want your smoothies to be)
- Place all the ingredients in your blender .
- Pulse the blender off and on, until the frozen fruit begins to break up. Then you can turn the blender on medium or high speed and allow the smoothy to blend until it is nice and creamy.
- Pour into glasses and serve! These are so good and they’re good for you, too! Enjoy!
Once our cooking and picture taking session was complete, we printed up our recipe pages and slipped them into sheet protectors. Then we were able to pack up the ingredients, for someone else to prepare all the recipes, and make our trip to the Blue Valley Community Action Center Food Pantry in our hometown. Blue Valley Action operates the food pantry, here, as well as through two churches in the community and three FoodNet centers throughout the county. They also oversee the WIC and Commodity food programs for our county.
We made two plastic bags, one for refrigerated items and one for freezer items. Then we packed the dry goods into a reusable tote and were able to fit one of the plastic bags on top. Adding the recipe pages to the top of the tote finished off the project and it was time to make our delivery. As we got to the Food Pantry, we got so involved in our conversation with the coordinator, I didn’t remember to snap a picture of our daughter actually making the donation. She was so excited because the coordinator was explaining that hers would be a happily-received gift for a family who really needs it. She praised her for being involved in such an important project and told her that the idea of putting a kit together with recipes is such a fantastic idea, because it provides a family with items that work together, instead of them just finding random items that have been donated and trying to figure out how to use them together. I know this has instilled a new desire in my daughter to find ways to make a difference in the community and I’m so grateful to Champions for Kids and Jennie-O for including us.
There’s still lots of time left in May and a fantastic opportunity for you to “Be One of Millions” and get involved with this month’s CFK Simple Service Project! Check out their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter to see what others are doing and get some ideas for your own family. I gave up drinking soda to make my healthy switch and to help provide some healthy food for needy kids. What healthy changes could you make to save money that could be used to impact your community? Check out all the ideas and get started. I can’t wait to hear about your Healthy Switch!
I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™. #JennieOCFK #CBias #SocialFabric