White House Executive Chef Cris Comerford has created a series of healthy recipes for homemade school lunches that are in keeping with USDA's MyPlate project, unveiled by First Lady Obama in June. MyPlate encourages citizens to fill half their plates at each meal with fruit and vegetables, following the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Comerford's kid-friendly lunchbox meal is anchored by Chef In A Pocket. (Above: Comerford holds the sandwich, mid-prep)
"Basically it's a Chef's Salad that we're gonna like put inside a Pita bread," Comerford says in an instructional video for the lunchbox meal, created by TheStir.com. She uses ham for the sandwich she makes onscreen, but says that any kind of lean meat can be used.
The Top Toque is mother to Danielle, a middle schooler, so in addition to cooking for the Obamas and every First Family since 1995, as well as world leaders, royalty, and celebrities, Comerford has plenty of personal experience with school lunches. (Above: Comerford with Mrs. Obama in the White House kitchen)
To give kids a big dose of fruit and vegetables, Comerford adds Veggie Chips with Hummus Dip and Melon Kebabs with Yogurt Dip to the meal. Packaging kids' lunches in a fun way is key to making fruit and vegetables a must-eat, Comerford says. The Melon Kebabs are tiny chunks of melon on mini skewers; kids "love anything on a stick," she says.
"It's cool for them to see," Comerford says. "When they open their lunch box, isn't it nice to like get a surprise in there?"
The open-for-interpretation, low-on-details recipes issued by the White House are below; the video is a must-watch. Be sure to pack the meal in air-tight containers, and include an ice pack in the lunchbox. Check out another of Comerford's White House Lunchbox Recipes: Whole Wheat Pasta Primavera with Grilled Chicken. More info on MyPlate is at www.ChooseMyPlate.gov.
Chef In A Pocket
Whole Wheat Pita Bread
Any kind of lean meat and cheese
Pack everything into the Pita, and top with Hummus.
Veggie Chips (or Sticks) with Hummus DipIngredients
Cucumbers, celery, blanched string beans or tomatoes
Slice vegetables for dipping
Instructions for making the Hummus are in the video.
Melon Kebabs With Yogurt Dip
Use two types of melon for variety: Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Honeydew Melon, or Crenshaw
Cut melon in small chunks, and place on mini skewers.
1/2 Cup Plain Yogurt
1 Tsp Vanilla
Blend all ingredients together.
*Video from TheStir.com