Arianne Corbett, RD 2013-05-03 19:47:07
“I’m a progressive thinker and I like to meet challenges head on!” Debbie Mobley, SNS, director of child nutrition for Clarksville-Montgomery (Tenn.) Schools, certainly is not alone in this kind of take charge attitude toward tackling the complexities of school meal programs. All across the country, operators and industry leaders are taking exciting and assertive strides to meet the whole-grain requirements of new federal nutrition standards for school meals. In its March 2013 issue, School Nutrition reviewed some of the challenges encountered in “The Quest for Whole Grainy Goodness.” In Part II of the magazine’s coverage, we’ll take a closer look at some of the whole-grain gains being enjoyed in both large and small districts. For Mobley, one of the frustrations she needed to conquer was the inconsistency of whole-grain breads and baked goods being produced, procured and served across her 37 schools. With a large, growing district, she knew she needed high quality, healthy and delicious baked goods in every school. The answer? She centralized production. In characteristic school nutrition fashion, Mobley began by finding best practice models already in operation that could be adapted to her needs. That led her to visit the central bakery at Jefferson County (Ky.) Public Schools. Armed with a number of recipes, innovative ideas and fresh inspiration, Mobley repurposed some of her existing cafeteria space, bought key equipment and promoted one of her best bakers, Ina Moss, to be manager trainer and build an expert team. (Moss has since moved up the ranks and is now the bakery manager!) “We have the same thing you would find if you go into Publix or any other large bakery,” Mobley says of Clarksville-Montgomery’s inhouse baking operation. “We bake our own French bread, cookies, brownies and cakes.” As the first school system-based central bakery in Tennessee, the results have been exceptional. The seven bakers in the central bakery work an overnight shift, churning out whole wheat rolls, muffins and even whole-grain cookies filled with oatmeal and coconut. The staff can prepare up to 13,000 dinner rolls in an evening, and they produce 23,000 cinnamon rolls every week! “There is a high level of satisfaction from students and parents,” reports Mobley. “Parents are really impressed that we have fresh bread daily! [But] I think the response from the students has been the best part.” Not the Same Ol’ Grains Of course, such success doesn’t happen overnight. The need for new recipes, products and preparation techniques has school nutrition teams scrambling to keep up. Operators are working in uncharted waters, as they race to train staff and find products to meet the new regulations. “Brown rice, wild rice, whole-grain pasta—it doesn’t cook the same,” asserts Dawn Matthews, SNS, director of foodservice for Camdenton R-III (Mo.) School District. “One of the biggest challenges for my staff was learning how to work with [these products]. It’s still a learning process. There is a lot of taste testing and trial and error.” Across the country, Pittsfield (Mass.) Public Schools is fortunate to have a designated baker at each of its 12 schools, helping to produce such scratch-prepared items as rolls, corn bread, sweet potato bread and muffins. And the team has been ahead of the curve in reformulating recipes. For example, two years ago, School Nutrition Services Director Sylvana Bryan, SNS, decided to change a longstanding pizza shell recipe to whole wheat. It took some six months of recipe and product development. “We finally worked the kinks out,” she recounts. “Working with whole-wheat flour is different. We had to retrain all our bakers.” By the beginning of SY 2012-13, she had all her bakers on board and lots of happy customers. “The kids barely noticed the change, and our pizza sales haven’t dropped—they love pizza!” Operators are grateful for assistance from vendors who are stepping up to the plate to provide not only new products and ingredients, but resources, training and other support to help districts succeed. “There is a huge demand for training in baking. I’ve been doing workshops on how to bake bread. [School districts] are calling for help,” reports Shirley Brown, EdD, SNS, director of product training for Rich Products Corporation. Barilla America School Specialist Darcy Frawley agrees. “We do a lot of work in recipe development on menu items that not only meet requirements, but create flavor combinations that best complement the taste of whole grains. It’s not as simple as substituting a favorite sauce that used to work on semolina!” Dawn Matthews is quick to thank her own food distributors, sales representatives and brokers. “Our food distributor has chefs [available] to do demos and a dietitian to help with menu planning. Our sales rep has worked to help me find products to try out. They are all on board, everyone is doing their part, and it’s coming together really nicely,” she reports. In speaking for her own company, Alyca Judge, channel marketing manager for K-12 at General Mills Foodservice, might be speaking for the industry as a whole: “We want operators to feel confident about meeting the requirements and encouraging whole-grain consumption.” Living Local Corporate players on the national stage aren’t the only businesses committed to partnering with school districts for school meal success. Many child nutrition teams are finding expert assistance within city limits. If you are struggling to find the right product that meets your needs, local bakeries, cafés and restaurants may offer the solution. “Whatever they need, we will get for them!” declares Joe Fantini, co-owner of Fantini Bakery, who provides hamburger rolls, dinner rolls, wraps and sliced bread for Andover (Mass.) Public Schools. Fantini’s is just one area business working with schools in Andover. The school nutrition department relies on another local vendor to deliver fresh 65% whole-wheat pretzels daily—preferred by the students to a white version of a national brand! Bagels are produced nearby, as well. “[Andover] bagel orders have gone from a few dozen a day to thousands a week!” exclaims Max Gabriello, co-owner of the local, family-run Perfecto’s Caffe. “It is a great addition to my business.” Gabriello concedes that there were some initial growing pains to adding whole grains to the recipe formulation and producing the right size product. “I think at first it was challenging, but I wanted to get their business. Once I figured out what they really needed, I was able to perfect the delivery, packaging and nutritionals. I want to continue to exceed their expectations.” Such personalized service adds to the allure of working with local vendors. And savvy vendors recognize the benefits of doing the legwork to partner with schools—and reach future customers by bringing their products to the attention of students and their families. Indeed, Gabriello hopes to build on his success in Andover and promote his products—and customer service—to other area school districts. Gail Koutroubas, director of food and nutrition services for Andover Public Schools, can’t speak highly enough about her local partners. “Those businesses want our business, and the kids know them. We are giving students products they are familiar with and helping the local economy,” she notes. Assistant Director Ruthy Olney, SNS, agrees, noting, “It is so great to work with local businesses; it all comes down to the respect we have for one another.” Jeanne Reilly, SNS, of Windham Raymond (Maine) School District RSU 14, is another director who has found a local vendor willing to work together to reformulate a popular product. Her managers worked with Amato’s Pizza to develop an acceptable product. It was a lot of legwork for both parties, Reilly admits. But the pizza purveyor wanted to keep the district’s business, and Reilly believes that getting exactly the right fit for her district could not have happened with a national manufacturer “who was making pizza for everybody.” All in the “Family” There are some school nutrition operations that find solutions even more locally than area businesses—they find them among their own staff! The school managers of Forsyth County (Ga.) Schools regularly engage in district-wide recipe contests to discover winning menu items. “We have them almost every year and create a focus, i.e., sandwiches, entrées or salads,” explains Andrea Perkins, MS, RD, SNS, assistant director, food and nutrition services. “Last year, the focus was dark orange vegetables and legumes side dishes.” While working with Wellpinit (Wash.) School District, located on the Spokane Indian Reservation, Mobile Chef Advisor L.J. Klink encountered his first Indian Taco. Packed with meat, cheese and vegetables, “It’s this beautiful meal, all on top of a piece of deep-fried bread,” he explains. The downside? “It was blowing the nutritionals for a month.” To try to improve the nutritional value of this cultural favorite, Klink set out to create his first whole-grain, faux fry bread. He discovered a winner by baking up some white whole-wheat flour with 10% yeast and a simple proof. “I wanted that airiness like it was fried.” The end product went over very well, Klink recounts. In fact, “With a light spray of vegetable oil to give it a sheen, it looks the same! [The kids] don’t even know the difference.” No Magic Wand It’s one thing to comply with nutrition standards. It’s another to do so in a way that meets customer expectations. “You have to have food that tastes good,” insists Andover’s Gail Koutroubas. “If we don’t put out a quality product, it ends up costing us a lot more, because we lose participation overall.” Forsyth County’s Andrea Perkins concurs, “When we bid, quality is number one, because if we can’t entice [the children] to eat with us, what is the point?” So, start with quality products and ingredients—check. But serving high-quality menu items doesn’t mean automatic student acceptance. “It does take time; there is no magic wand. We have to continually try new things,“ says Koutroubas. Nancy Heineke, school nutrition manager at Messiah Lutheran School in Lincoln, Neb., has a similar approach. “I think sometimes [we need] to play around with [items] to see what is going to work and seek out new options.” Another strategy that works in Andover: “We use batch cooking in shallow pans and really emphasize the freshness of the food. You have a better product in the end and then you have students who will eat it,” insists Koutroubas. In Pittsfield Public Schools, Sylvana Bryan emphasizes the need for a gradual approach. “We started slowly. First, we would mix whole-wheat pasta with regular and mix brown rice and white, until the students got used to it,” she recounts. Bryan also notes that tasty combination foods, which might “hide” the whole grains, tend to go over well in her district. “We do a vegetable stir-fry with whole-wheat noodles all mixed in together,” she reports; the more flavor, the better. Her team menus the stir-fry as a side to any Asian main dish, such as chicken teriyaki. Taste testing is a key strategy for gaining student acceptance and trust among Jeanne Reilly’s students in Maine’s RSU 14. “We have little soufflé cups; if a student wants to try something first, we will put it in a little cup,” she explains, citing the recent example of an unfamiliar carrot-ginger soup. Then, if the student likes it, he or she can request a full serving. This approach allows kids to “try before they buy.” As with any consumer buying any type of item, “You want to know if you are going to be happy with your investment,” she notes. Eyes on That Prize Jackie Schultz, RD, nutrition marketing business partner for The Kellogg Company, is just one of many operators and industry representatives focused on looking forward. “The movement toward whole grain-rich items within schools should help to increase awareness of whole grains while improving acceptability among young consumers as they become more familiar and accustomed to enjoying them.” And maybe, just maybe, it’s already working. “Whole grain doesn’t seem to be a concern anymore; I think it is the preference here,” reports Ruthy Olney in Andover. “I would much rather eat one of our whole-grain muffins than a cupcake.” If whole grains are winning over cupcake lovers, you know things are looking up! TEX-MEX PASTA BAKE YIELD: 100 servings PER SERVING: 357 cal., 18 g pro., 56 g carb., 7 g fiber, 7 g fat, 2 g sat. fat, 49 mg chol., 428 mg sod. INGREDIENTS Pasta, whole-grain, shell-shape, medium—12 1⁄2 lbs. Olive oil—as needed Salsa, prepared—12 qts., 2 cups Cumin, ground—3⁄8 cup Pepper, red, ground—3⁄8 cup Garlic powder—3⁄8 cup Onion powder—3⁄8 cup Corn, sweet, reduced-sodium, canned—6 qts., 1 cup Pan release spray—as needed Turkey crumbles, fully cooked—13 lbs., 5 ozs. Cilantro, fresh—4 cups DIRECTIONS 1. Drain the corn. Clean and chop the cilantro. 2. Cook the pasta for half of the time indicated on the package. To cool, place the pasta flat on sheet trays or steamtable pans, spray lightly with olive oil and cool in a blast chiller. Alternately, cool the pasta down in a walk-in cooler. Store in sealed plastic bags or a sealed plastic container and refrigerate overnight. 3. Pour the prepared salsa into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the cumin, red pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Fold in the corn. 4. Spray four shallow steamtable pans lightly with the pan release spray. Divide the salsa and corn mixture into the four pans evenly (4 qts., 1 1⁄2 cups per pan). Fold the turkey crumbles into this sauce mix, using 3 lbs., 5 1⁄4 ozs. per pan. 5. Remove the cooked pasta from the cooler and gently fold one-quarter of the pasta shells into each pan (6 qts., 1 cup per pan). 6. Bake in a preheated convection oven at 350°F or conventional oven at 375°F for 30-40 minutes. Heat until an internal temperature of 165°F is reached. Place in a warming cart and hold above 135°F. 7. When ready to serve, sprinkle each pan with 1 cup of cilantro. Cut each pan into 5x5 portions (25 servings per pan). For each portion, serve 8.34 ozs. (236.4 g). Photo, recipe & recipe analysis: Barilla Foodservice, www.barillafood servicerecipes.com *Notes: Barilla Whole-Grain Medium Shells may be used for this recipe. According to the company: Each serving provides 1 whole-grain, 1 1⁄2 meat/meat alternate, 1⁄2 cup red/orange vegetable and 1⁄4 cup starchy vegetable. As appropriate, adjust the serving size to meet current meal pattern requirements. CHICKEN, RICE AND BEAN WRAP YIELD: 48 servings PER SERVING: 443 cal., 35 g pro., 52 g carb., 7 g fiber, 12 g fat, 4 g sat. fat, 63 mg chol., 910 mg sod., 5 mg iron, 344 mg ca. INGREDIENTS Rice, brown, roasted chicken-flavored*—2 boxes Tortilla, whole-grain, 10-in.—48 Chicken or turkey gravy, reduced-sodium—3 cups Great Northern white beans, canned, drained—3 qts. Green beans, canned or frozen, low-sodium, 1⁄2-1-in. cut—3 qts. Carrots, canned or frozen, no added salt, 1⁄4-in. dice—3 qts. Chicken, cooked—6 lbs. Mozzarella cheese, part-skim, shredded—3 lbs. DIRECTIONS 1. Cook the green beans and carrots if using frozen; drain if using canned. Dice the chicken into 1⁄2-3⁄4-in. pieces. 2. Prepare the rice according to the package directions. Reserve. The rice may be prepared in advance and then stored under refrigeration. 3. Prepare the gravy according to the package directions. 4. To assemble the wraps, steam the tortillas to make them pliable. For each tortilla: Place 1 oz. of gravy in the center and top, in layers, with 1⁄2 cup rice (#8 scoop), 1⁄4 cup each of beans and carrots and 2 ozs. chicken. Top with 1 oz. cheese. Fold in the sides of the tortilla and roll the wrap away from you to complete the assembly of each wrap. 5. Heat the wraps in a convection oven at 325°F for 15 minutes until the temperature of the internal ingredients exceeds 165°F. Hold for hot service at 140°F or higher. Photo, recipe & recipe analysis: Uncle Ben’s, www.unclebens.com *Notes: Uncle’s Ben’s Roasted Chicken Flavored Brown Rice may be used for this recipe. If using frozen green beans and carrots, the nutrient analysis will need to be revised. According to the company: One wrap provides 3 ozs. equivalent meat/meat alternate, 2 ozs. equivalent grains and 3⁄4 cup vegetable. As appropriate, adjust the serving size to meet current meal pattern requirements. BURGER PINWHEELS YIELD: 50 servings PER SERVING: 360 cal., 14 g pro., 56 g carb., 9 g fiber, 10 g fat, 4 g sat. fat, 15 mg chol., 650 mg sod. INGREDIENTS Veggie burgers—25 Carrots—6 qts. Tortillas, whole-wheat, 8-in.—50 Baby spinach, fresh—6 qts. Mayonnaise, light—1 1⁄2 cups Swiss cheese, shredded—6 cups Cranberries, dried, sweetened—3 qts. DIRECTIONS 1. Peel and shred the carrots. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Heat the veggie burgers in the oven for 6 minutes, then cut in half and into quarters. 2. Lay the tortillas on a work surface and spread 1⁄2 Tbsp. of mayonnaise on each wrap. 3. To assemble each wrap: Place approximately 1⁄4 cup of cranberries, 1⁄2 cup each of carrots and spinach, 2 Tbsps. of cheese and 2 burger pieces onto each tortilla. Fold closed, then cut in half or smaller pieces to serve as open-end pinwheels. One full wrap is the equivalent of one serving. Photo, recipe & recipe analysis: Kellogg’s Food Away From Home, www.fafh.com *Notes: Gardenburger® Classic Hamburgers may be used for this recipe. According to the company: Each serving provides 1 oz. equivalent meat/meat alternate, 1 1⁄2 ozs. equivalent grain, 1⁄4 cup dark green vegetables and 1⁄2 cup red/orange vegetables. As appropriate, adjust the serving size to meet current meal pattern requirements. WHOLE-GRAIN ITALIAN BREAD YIELD: 100 servings INGREDIENTS Flour, whole-wheat—3 1⁄2 lbs. Flour, all-purpose—3 lbs., 2 1⁄2 ozs. Yeast, instant dry—2.6 ozs. Milk, nonfat, dry—1 1⁄3 cups Sugar, brown—10 1⁄2 ozs. Salt—2 Tbsps., 2 tsps. Water, hot (110°F)—2 1⁄2 qts. Vegetable oil—2⁄3 cup DIRECTIONS 1. Place the whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, yeast, dry milk, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Blend with a dough hook for about 2 minutes on low speed. 2. Add the water and mix for 1 minute on low speed. 3. Add the vegetable oil and mix for 2 minutes on low speed. 4. Knead the dough for 10 minutes on medium speed or until the dough is smooth and elastic. 5. Place the dough in a warm area (90°F) for 45-60 minutes. 6. Punch down the dough to remove the air bubbles and let it rest for 15 minutes. 7. Divide the dough into equal loaves of about 1 1⁄2 lbs. each. Form into classic Italian torpedo shapes on a lined sheet pan. Eight loaves will make 100 individual servings. 8. Place the sheet pans in a warm area (90°F) until the loaves double in size (30-50 minutes). 9. Brush the tops of the loaves with water and cut diagonal slits. 10. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes or until browned. 11. Cut each loaf into 12-13 slices. Recipe: Polk County (Fla.) Public Schools School Nutrition Department, www.polk-fl.net/parents/generalinformation/ nutrition.htm *Notes: If this recipe passes the test with a small group of students, conduct a nutrient analysis. As appropriate, adjust the serving size to meet current meal pattern requirements. PEANUT BUTTER WHOLE-GRAIN COOKIES YIELD: 107 servings (#24 scoop) PER SERVING: 160 cal., 3 g pro., 19 g carb., 1 g fiber, 8 g fat, 3 g sat. fat, 15 mg chol., 170 mg sod. INGREDIENTS Water, cool (72°F)—2 1⁄2 lbs. or 5 1⁄2 cups Eggs, large, whole—7 ozs. or 4 eggs. Sugar, coarse*—7 ozs. or 1 cup Peanut butter, creamy—2 1⁄4 lbs. or 4 cups Muffin mix, whole-grain*—5 lbs DIRECTIONS 1. Combine the water, peanut butter and eggs in a mixing bowl. Stir with a wire whisk until well blended. 2. Add the muffin mix. Mix until all ingredients are well blended, but do not overmix. 3. Use a #24 scoop to portion dough. Roll each dough ball in the coarse sugar until coated. 4. Place the dough balls in a 4x6 pattern onto greased or parchment-lined full sheet pans. 5. Press the cookies down with the tines of a fork to create a cross hatch pattern. 6. Bake in a convection oven at 350°F for 9-12 minutes or in a standard oven at 400°F for 12-15 minutes. Rotate pans baked in a convection oven one-half turn 5 minutes through baking. 7. Serve when cooled. Photo, recipe & recipe analysis: General Mills Foodservice, www.generalmillsfoodservice.com *Notes: Gold Medal® ZT Whole-Grain Variety Muffin Mix may be used for this recipe. Raw sugar may be substituted for the coarse sanding sugar. As appropriate, adjust the serving size to meet current meal pattern requirements. BLACK QUINOA AND PINEAPPLE PILAF YIELD: 48 servings INGREDIENTS Pineapple juice, unsweetened—1 gal. Olive oil—1⁄8 cup Quinoa, black—4 lbs. Pineapple, fresh—1 cup Carrots—3 cups Garlic—1 Tbsp. Onions—3 cups Sage—1⁄2 cup DIRECTIONS 1. Dice the carrots, onions and pineapple. Chop the garlic. Cut the sage into long, thin strips. 2. Pour the pineapple juice into a pot and bring to a boil. Divide the quinoa between two steamtable pans and pour the boiling liquid over the quinoa. Cover and let steep for 20 minutes. 3. Meanwhile, sauté the carrots and onions in the olive oil until tender or the onions become nearly transparent. Add the pineapple, garlic and sage and sauté for another minute or two. 4. Remove the cover from the quinoa and add in the sautéed mixture. Over heat, bring the pilaf mixture to 165°F and serve. For each serving: Portion one half-cup. Recipe: Saint Xavier High School, Louisville, Ky., www.saintx.com, in Whole-Grain Recipes for Foodservice: 2012 Edition, Oldways/Whole Grain Council, http://wholegrainscouncil.org/files/WGFoodserviceRecipes2012.pdf *Notes: If this recipe passes the test with a small group of students, conduct a nutrient analysis. As appropriate, adjust the serving size to meet current meal pattern requirements. CORRECTION In the Part I article of SN’s whole grains exploration, “The Quest for Whole Grainy Goodness” (March 2013), quotes from AdvancePierre’s Shari Mueller should have been attributed to Nutrition Manager Katie Kovar-Strack, RD. SN regrets the error. Recipes obtained from outside sources and published in School Nutrition have not been tested by the magazine or SNA in a school foodservice setting, except for certain “Kitchen Wisdom” selections, which are evaluated by a volunteer pool of operators. When available, nutrient analyses are provided by the recipe source. Required ingredients, preparation steps and nutrient content make some recipes more appropriate for catering applications or adult meals. Readers are encouraged to test recipes and calculate their own nutrition analyses and meal patterns before adding a recipe to school menus. In addition, SN recognizes that individual schools use varying documentation methods and preparation steps to comply with HACCP principles; we encourage you to add your own HACCP steps to these recipes. BONUS WEB CONTENT One of the best things about working in school nutrition is the non-competitive spirit of sharing. Some of the operators interviewed for “Winning the Whole-Grain Campaign” offer their recipes for such student favorites as Squash Macaroni and Cheese and whole-wheat dinner rolls. You can find these online at www.schoolnutrition.org/snmagazine bonuscontent. Arianne Corbett, RD, is president of Leading Health, LLC, in Arlington, Va., and a former manager of nutrition advocacy at SNA.
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