Cooking Connected March - April 2022

by Enrique Ortiz, SNAP-Ed Nutrition Educator

Food insecurity in Douglas County is on the rise, making the need for food more crucial than ever. More and more people are cooking at home, but many lack the proper knowledge and skills needed to make a healthy and well-balanced meal in their kitchens. Food insecurity is becoming a massive problem in our community, so I would like to highlight one of our programs called Cooking Connected! Cooking Connected will begin on March 24th and comes from our SNAP-Ed curriculum Create Better Health. The course was developed and Cooking Connected Cooking Tools Electric Pan, Spatula, Spoons ect.. evaluated by a team of SNAP-Ed program specialists, registered dietitians, and Utah State University Extension nutrition faculty. The goal of Cooking Connected is to educate families and give them the knowledge and cooking skills to lead an active and healthy life on limited resources. Cooking Connected is also designed to empower our SNAP-Ed audience to cook more well-balanced meals with the food they can find in their home pantries.

Cooking Connected is a fun interactive series that takes place virtually (via Zoom) and allows us to connect with families with children (ages 5-18) in their kitchens and teach basic nutrition and cooking skills. Knowing behavior change does not generally occur after attending only one educational session, this program is a designed six–week course where each week builds off one another. Each week/lesson has two components. We will discuss a nutrition topic based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and cook a “Create Recipe” together with participants each week. “Create Recipes” provide multiple substitutions/alternatives to encourage families to customize the recipe with ingredients they already have in their home pantry. Cooking Connected was designed to keep participants engaged and actively learning new material while practicing the skills needed to create a healthier lifestyle.

Here is the list of lessons that will be discussed with the meals that will be cooked along with it: Enrique Ortiz making a pizza

  1. Introduction to MyPlate
  2. Skillet Meal
  3. Meal Planning & Grocery Shopping
  4. Chicken Casserole
  5. Nutrition Label Facts
  6. Black Bean Quesadilla
  7. Fruits & Vegetables
  8. Stir-Fry
  9. Protein & Food Safety
  10. Easy Scrambled Eggs
  11. Healthy Eating Patterns
  12. Pizza

At the beginning of each week, participants will pick up their meal kits that contain all the ingredients needed in that week’s recipe. Families will take their meal kits home and cook in their kitchens, while a SNAP-Ed Nutrition Educator will be cooking alongside them virtually in the Dreher 4-H Family Building. During the first week of Cooking Connected the participants will be provided with all the cooking equipment needed throughout the entire course. As an incentive to attend more classes, participants who attend four out of the six classes will be able to keep all the cooking equipment given to them!

We are very excited to get Cooking Connected started! Classes will be held on Thursday evenings at 6:00 pm, starting on March 24th, and will go until April 28th. This program is for income eligible families. | Cooking Connected Registration | For any additional questions regarding Cooking Connected, email Enrique Ortiz, SNAP-Ed Nutrition Educator (