Panzanella Salad with Tomato Grilled Cheese

Posted by on Mar 23, 2017 in after school, cooking with kids, healthy food, lunch time, school food, wellness | 0 comments

Today our Junior Chefs will be putting together some gooey grilled cheese sandwiches and a Tuscan Panzanella Salad for a side. Both dishes will feature tomatoes, a favorite of ours! Tomatoes are a red food, known for keeping our hearts healthy and diets full of antioxidants. We will use just two different types of tomatoes today but did you know there are over 1,000 types in the world? What are your favorite kinds? Feel free to share below!

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Panzanella Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 baguette
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley

For Vinaigrette: 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 lemons juiced, 2 T red wine or apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper to taste!

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Tear baguette into cubes. Toss bread with olive oil in bowl,

spread onto baking sheet and bake 10 minutes.

3. Hand out and chop cucumbers and tomatoes. Dice onion.

4. Pluck parsley from stems.

5. Combine all ingredients in a bowl with bread cubes.

6. Squeeze lemons. Mix and whisk together ingredients for dressing.

Tomato Grilled Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 1 baguette
  • 2 slicing tomatoes
  • 1/2 lb grated cheese
  • olive oil
  • 4 T butter + extra

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Directions:

1. Brush a bit of olive oil onto bread

2. Slice tomatoes and cheese

3. Layer bread, cheese and tomatoes to build sandwich

4. Heat a little bit of butter in a skillet until melted, grill    sandwiches for 2-3 minutes

5. Serve with Panzanella Salad and Enjoy!

 

Bon Appétit!

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our famous turkey tacos!

Posted by on Feb 15, 2017 in cooking with kids, healthy food, lunch time, Recipes, school food | 0 comments

Taco Beef Mexican Food

Across all of our schools our students look forward to their Taco Tuesday’s!

We are excited to share our most beloved recipe with you all so that you can recreate them at home.

Ingredients: 

  • 3 T canola oil
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 small poblano pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 heaping T of dark chili powder
  • 2 t cumin
  • 1 t coriander
  • 1 t oregano
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 15 oz can of crushed tomatoes

Directions: 

Heat oil over high heat, then reduce to medium heat. Add onion and salt. Cook until translucent. Add peppers and garlic, cook for 3 minutes. Then add turkey meat and seasonings. Cook until golden brown.

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A Taste of Hope

Posted by on Apr 28, 2016 in news and happenings, school food | 0 comments

HOPE-Logo-30th_Full-1Early in 2008 when Belinda DiGiambattista first came up with the idea for what was to become Butter Beans, she knew that she needed to increase her knowledge of the food service industry.

BlogPost_PaulShe turned to her new found friend and mentor Paul Neuman, an experienced and renowned caterer and Chairman of the Board of The HOPE Program  He suggested she contact the HOPE program in regards to searching for staff to serve lunch in her schools.  Thus began a relationship that has grown and strengthened over the years.  

Just as Butter Beans serves a unique and necessary niche for school lunches and wellness nutrition, the HOPE program does the same for the unemployed and underserved.  Located in downtown Brooklyn, the HOPE program creates opportunities for New Yorkers living in poverty or less-than-ideal situations to achieve economic self-sufficiency through employment and advancement.  

Their Food Works program consists of 8 weeks or 100 hours of intense training in all facets of the food service industry.  Students who qualify learn food and worksite safety, food prep skills and are given the information necessary to complete the Food Protection Certificate exam as well as the OSHA 10 certificate for general worksite safety.   

Incoming students must pass a rigorous admissions test, demonstrating basic knowledge of English and math.  They also must show up from 9 – 5 daily to learn necessary skills such as computer training, resume writing and interviewing.  After they have completed the required training they are placed as working interns with one of HOPE’s many partners.  

logo (4)Butter Beans, LiLac Chocolate, Murray’s Cheese, Finanicer, and Brooklyn Seltzer Boys are just a few of these organizations.  Janis Quarles, Business Development Manager for HOPE says that the HOPE students have a 73% placement rate and once they are hired at one of HOPE’s partner businesses they are offered continued support with other life skills.  

Butter Beans currently has 10 HOPE graduates on staff.  That is roughly 30% of all Butter Beans on-site  school staff.  Belinda describes the relationship as “special” and says that one of the many reasons she loves having students from HOPE intern for Butter Beans is that the internship process enables the students to get familiar with the Butter Beans philosophy and allows both parties to determine if they are a good fit while offering real world training for the intern.  

The mutual respect between the partners is clear as it continues to grow.  Eight years later Belinda describes Janis as “wonderful” and Janis says Belinda is “amazing”.  I can attest that both speak the truth.

On a personal note, in my role as Supervisor for a Butter Beans school client, I had the opportunity to conduct working interviews with several HOPE interns (all of which have since been hired).  I was impressed by the professionalism, skills and knowledge they brought to the kitchen.  Both organizations advocate and support sustainability of our most important resources:  food and people.    

Empowerment, integrity, dignity and professionalism.  Exemplified in this on-going and amazing partnership.  And again,  I am so proud to be a part of this evolution!

This post was written by Tammy Chalala, Butter Beans Food Service Supervisor 

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this is school lunch?

Posted by on Apr 5, 2016 in healthy food, lunch time, nutrition, raising children, school food | 0 comments

FullSizeRender (9)I am a Registered Dietitian with an MS in Nutrition.  Prior to joining Butter Beans I was employed by the public school system.  My job was to teach “Healthy Living” to after-school students grades K – 5.  

Initially I was impressed with the NYC school food program.  Whenever bread was served it was whole wheat.  Fresh fruit was always offered.  Milk was low-fat or skim.  Meals were served on biodegradable plates.  But as I looked closer I realized that although all the meals included a protein, starch and vegetable the choices were not always representative of these food groups.  There was a heavy focus on carbohydrates, i.e., potato or corn as vegetable often paired with an entree of pizza or a burger.  A typical example:  Cheeseburger deluxe or fish and cheese sandwich.  Deluxe toppings.  Sweet potato wedges (frozen).  Accompanied by milk (mandatory) and a fruit (fresh or frozen).  The lack of fiber, micronutrients and vitamins is obvious.  Some schools provide a salad bar.  The school where I was placed did not.  The food waste was off the hook.  

Then I met Butter Beans.  

FullSizeRender (10)On that exact same day the Butterbeans menu was BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches or herbed tofu (so delicious!), steamed kale, herbed roasted potatoes, and carrot ginger soup. All made from fresh ingredients.   

Plus the salad bar which is always available and includes at least two fresh fruits, a spread, a specialty salad, two crudités, two meats, cheeses, eggs, lettuce and greens, yogurt, granola, pickles or olives, sunflower butter and jelly sandwiches, and pita.  Milk is offered but the kids can choose.  

The immediate differences were obvious.  

Even if a child doesn’t want any of the hot food options s/he could still create a great lunch from salad bar alone.  Most make choices from both.  But equally important, in my opinion, is the minimization of food waste.  Kids are not forced to take a milk and a fruit.  They are offered the choice.  They are encouraged to “take a taste” of something they may not be sure about.  

How important is that?  

Studies have shown that even if kids are on a “food jag” or “picky eaters” that they will intuitively balance their nutritional needs over a week or so.  They just know what their body wants.  

Choices are key.  

Butter Beans offers choices to any child who may be hesitant to try a new or unfamiliar food.  We don’t require a child to take a food, instead we help them choose, educating them in the process.  

I am so proud to be a part of this food revolution!

This post was written by Tammy Chalala, Food Service Supervisor for Butter Beans

 

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Employee Spotlight – Luis Melara

Posted by on Feb 11, 2016 in healthy food, lunch time, school food | 0 comments

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This week we highlight the great work of our newest school supervisor, Luis Melara! Luis has been working at Butter Beans for almost two years and was recently promoted to supervisor at the Churchill School for his great work there.

Luis, from Brooklyn, says his favorite part of working for Butter Beans is working in the school environment. For Luis, any bad day can be cured by chatting with the kids at lunch. Luis likes that Butter Beans offers healthy food and loves to encourage the students to eat veggies and fruits everyday at lunch. He hopes some day to manage his own food or service business.

In his free time, Luis loves to explore new foods. He’s always looking for new ways to cook up his classic chicken dishes. Additionally, he loves to draw and sketch and is a big fan of street art. Ask him what’s on his radio, and it’ll always be classic 90s hip-hop. Best of all, Luis is known around Butter Beans as a legendary story-teller; you’ll have stop by lunch sometime to hear him tell a tale!

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Trending Towards Healthy – The Year in Food

Posted by on Jan 28, 2016 in families, fast food, featured articles, Food for thought, food politics, healthy food, healthy lifestyle, local food, news and happenings, nutrition, raising children, school food, sustainability | 0 comments

Looking back at the year in food, we feel more strongly than ever that we are part of a larger movement towards healthier eating. As this article from NPR points out, evidence of these trends can be seen in the biggest producers. Reacting to consumer demands, even McDonald’s has taken steps to use healthier, more sustainably produced ingredients. This shows that clearly we are part of a larger movement changing how everyone eats, not just those already shopping at Whole Foods.

We at Butter Beans are often told that we are just providing good food to a small niche. This article proves that change we are part of is now reaching all parts of the food system and our “niche” is only growing. Sales of foods marketed towards health and sustainability conscious consumers surged in 2015, indicating that a much larger trend is only beginning. As the health benefits of nutritious eating become more and more apparent (especially for young kids in schools), all kinds of consumers are acting to create a change.

If you believe in critical tipping points that propel major changes, this past year hinted that one such shift may lie near on the horizon. Often the best way to measure the success of a movement is to follow the actions of the largest and most influential actors in the industry. The fact that big, highly profit-driven companies such as Kraft are seeking to include more natural ingredients in their products makes us hopeful for the future. Healthy foods are no longer just for yoga-moms and crunchy-foodies; now all kinds of Americans are showing concern for the kinds of foods carried by even large chain supermarkets and fast-food joints. This is how a paradigm shift occurs. At Butter Beans, we see everyday how we can shape the next generation of healthy, food-educated consumers to demand that America becomes a nation that embraces nutritious food.

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