tasting days with the little ones

Posted by on May 19, 2017 in healthy food, local food, lunch time, Recipes, school food | 0 comments

Screen Shot 2017-05-19 at 4.52.03 PMA few weeks ago we had the pleasure of hosting two fun tasting days with the students in Pre-K and Kindergarten at BASIS Independent Brooklyn.

We chose two specific menu days based on students eating habits and food preferences to see if we could open their palates to liking something they may have not liked (or even tried) before.

We also used this opportunity to test out our brand new stickers showcasing our little Butter Beans chef mascots that state, “I tried something new!”

We chose blackened chicken drumstick day, and our homemade fish sticks.

You would think that chicken drumsticks would be an easy win for these students, but some of them don’t love it because of how it’s described. What does blackened mean they asked?

I brought in some fresh herbs to show them the main components of the blackened spice rub that our chef creates and sprinkles onto the chicken before it gets roasted in the oven.

Then we put our food explorer hats on, and dove into the fun part.

After the students tried the chicken in our 1oz sample cups, the majority of them gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up, with requests for seconds!

IMG_1307Then came the fish stick tasting day. I came in with a handout of how fish sticks are made by hand, and shared with them that we serve wild caught pollack, a fish similar to cod but less fishy tasting, and that our chef hand breads each and every one of them for 15 schools!

To make the tasting even more exciting, we offered the option of dipping their fish sticks into three different condiments: ranch, ketchup and our homemade tartar sauce. They were a hit! Students who had never tried them before, couldn’t get enough.

Here are some fun quotes that we collected from our tasting adventures:

  • I love Butter Beans!
  • It’s very good!
  • This is really good
  • I like it
  • Super yummy
  • Best thing I’ve ever eaten
  • Can we have a Butter Beans person come visit everyday?
  • That was better than pepperoni pizza (in regards to the chicken)

With all of the positive feedback and buzz that was generated, we are sure that these students are going to be ready to dig in when they’re on the menu again!

Read More

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!

Tomato-7-680x667

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

FNK_Grilled-Tomato-and-Cheese_s4x3.jpg.rend.hgtvcom.1280.960

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!

Read More

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.

Read More

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 

Read More

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

 

Read More

Employee Spotlight – Luis Melara

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

IMG_1446

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!

Read More