Monday, February 21, 2011

Homemade mac n’ cheese for 500

My kitchen is serving homemade macaroni and cheese for the whole school this Thursday.  I thought it would be informative to share the process by which a menu item is transformed from thaw and serve to homemade.  
Previously, we used a frozen, full-fat version and cut it with extra whole grain pasta.  This Thursday, we will make our own sauce and mix it with 50 pounds of Barilla Plus elbow macaroni.  To get a head start, we'll boil the pasta the day before so that we have stove space to make the sauce come Thursday morning. 

I based my recipe off of one from the Massachusetts Farm to School Project cookbook because it's a lower-fat bulk recipe.  I also heard of using cauliflower puree as a way of adding body to the sauce while sneaking in a vegetable.  I ordered a case of twelve heads of cauliflower just for this purpose. 

I tested a mini recipe a few weeks ago at home.  My husband, a mac and cheese connoisseur, approved of the lower-fat, whole grain version.  The pictures on this post are from my home batch. 

Will students approve of the new homemade macaroni and cheese?  Stay tuned for a post about Thursday's meal!    


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hello, Change!

New lunch favorite: chicken tacos w/ cheese and salsa 

Hi All, Happy New Year! Sorry it's been such a long time since my last post.  For the last three months, I've been quite busy: I got married, and I'm preparing to open my own food business this spring.  However, I would like to continue blogging about school lunch.  
30 pounds of locally-sourced roasted butternut squash

Change is the current theme in my school kitchen, and my six-person staff is accustomed (and perhaps a bit wary) of this.  As the new director of food services, I have implemented some drastic changes.  I'm proud of how far the kitchen has come in five months, and I'd like to share the successes and failures.         

Chicken and veggie stir-fry, a tough dish to make for 500
So, here's a preview of some future blog entries that will be coming your way: 
-lessons learned at a School Nutrition Association conference
-making homemade mac and cheese 
-working with a local burger company to bring well-raised and locally-source burgers to my school
-the search for quality processed products
-testing and standardizing recipes for 500 
-and of course, lots of pictures and info about changes to my school lunch menu, including menu items pictured above