This publication includes simple recipes that childcare center cooks and educators can use to engage children in snacking and cooking with fresh cool-season fruits and vegetables from on-site production gardens and elsewhere. This is the sixth of eight publications about childcare center production gardens.
The first publication in this series, Growing and Cooking Fruits and Vegetables at Childcare Centers, provides age-appropriate suggestions for engaging young children in food preparation.
The fourth publication in this series, Growing Cool-Season Vegetables in Childcare Production Gardens, shares easy-to-grow, child-friendly, cool-season vegetables suitable for a childcare production garden.
This publication provides a set of simple recipes for snacks and prepared dishes incorporating production garden produce for children to enjoy.
|Sugar Snap Peas—raw or lightly cooked.
Try various combinations from the roasted vegetables chart. Choose items that are in season and harvestable from the garden. Increase the amount of oil and seasoning as the quantity of vegetables is increased.
Try these combinations:
- Sweet potatoes and garlic pepper seasoning
- Red potatoes and garlic, rosemary
- Eggplant and parsley
- Carrots and parsley
- Potatoes with cauliflower, onions, and rosemary
|Use 4 cups of one or more||Use 2-3 teaspoons of one or more||Use 1 tablespoon|
Garlic pepper seasoning
Salads can be easily created by using greens and vegetables harvested from the production garden.
Peppers: red, yellow, orange, purple
Sugar snap peas
Make your own salad dressing
Use the amounts indicated in the left column, varying the flavor by choosing items from the right column.
3 tablespoons of lemon juice or any vinegar
1⁄2 cup (or less) oil
1⁄2-1 tablespoon of herbs and condiments
Salt and pepper to taste
Herbs from garden
Serves 12 to 16
Fold several kale leaves lengthwise and using the point of a chef’s knife, cut away the thick center stems and discard. Roll the remaining stack of de-veined leaves into a tight cigar shape and slice into strips. Alternately, have children help prepare by tearing the kale into bite size pieces. Toss the kale with the cheese and raisins. Whisk the lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl and pour over the salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let the salad sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.
|Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Serves 4 to 6
Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise; cut each half into six wedges. Combine sweet potato wedges, olive oil, and spices in a bowl. Toss gently to coat. Place wedges in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until very tender. Serve warm.
|Roasted Broccoli and Red Peppers
Serves 8 to 10
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Add broccoli, pepper, oil, lemon pepper, and garlic to a self-sealing plastic bag; shake until ingredients are combined (or mix together in a bowl). Spread the mixture out in an even layer on a baking sheet. Engage young children by having them shake the bag of vegetables and place them on a baking sheet. Bake until vegetables are tender enough to pierce with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm.
|Roasted Kale Chips
Serves 6 to 8
Heat oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash kale and dry well. With your hands, remove and discard the thick stems from the kale. Tear leaves into bite-sized pieces. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Toss to coat. Arrange kale pieces in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until edges are slightly brown but not burnt.
|Braised Collard Greens
Serves 6 to 8
To remove stems from collards, stack five or six leaves in a pile and make two long cuts on either side of the ribs from near the top of the leaves down to the stem end. Pull the stems free from the leaves. Cut leaves in half lengthwise, stack the halves, and cut crosswise into 1⁄2-inch slices. Repeat with all leaves. Submerge the collards in water in a large bowl or fill a sink with cold water and let rest for a few minutes. Gently lift the collards from the water, leaving the dirt behind.
In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add olive oil and diced onions. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes until onions are tender and transparent. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook for 1 minute more. Increase heat to medium and add greens. Stir until greens become wilted.
When the greens have wilted, add the cider vinegar, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste; stir. Cook until the vinegar reduces a bit and greens are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Taste and adjust for seasoning until a good balance of sweet, sour, and spicy is achieved.
|Sautéed Collard Greens
Serves 8 to 10
Remove and discard stems and center ribs of collard greens. Cut leaves into 1-inch pieces. In a pot of boiling water, cook collards 15 minutes and drain in a colander, pressing out excess liquid with the back of a wooden spoon. In a 12-inch heavy skillet, heat butter and oil over medium-high heat and stir in garlic, collards, and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté collard mixture, stirring until heated through, about 5 minutes. Drizzle collards with lemon juice and toss well.
|Sautéed Mustard Greens
Serves 6 to 8
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until tender and fragrant. Mix in the mustard greens. Cook until greens have wilted, about 3 minutes. Add pepper to taste. In a small bowl, whisk the Dijon mustard with the chicken stock. Add mixture to the wilted greens and cook until the liquid has almost evaporated. Serve warm.
|Sautéed Swiss Chard (or Spinach)
Serves 6 to 8
Sauté onions and garlic until onions are clear. Add chopped chard. Continue to sauté until greens are limp. Squeeze the juice out. Spoon greens onto toasted bread or crackers. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake for a few minutes at 325°F. Serve immediately.
Local Foods Publication Series Editor
Joanna Massey Lelekacs, Coordinator
Local Foods Program
NC Cooperative Extension
Center for Environmental Farming Systems
Childcare Center Production Gardens Factsheet Editor
Robin C. Moore, Director
Natural Learning Initiative (NLI)
NC State College of Design
with the NLI Early Childhood Gardening Team:
Karli Stephenson, Graphic Designer
Funding for this publication was provided in part by the John Rex Endowment.
The authors wish to express appreciation to J. Dara Bloom, Pam Outen, Lynn Policastro, and Debra Ireland for their assistance in preparing this publication.
This publication in the Local Foods series is the sixth of eight publications about childcare center production gardens:
- Growing and Cooking Fruits and Vegetables at Childcare Centers (LF-007-01)
- Creating Childcare Center Production Gardens (LF-007-02)
- Growing Warm-Season Fruits and Vegetables in Childcare Production Gardens (LF-007-03)
- Growing Cool-Season Vegetables in Childcare Production Gardens (LF-007-04)
- Snacking and Cooking with Warm-Season Produce from Childcare Production Gardens (LF-007-05)
- Snacking and Cooking with Cool-Season Produce from Childcare Production Gardens (LF-007-06)
- Composting in Childcare Center Production Gardens (LF-007-07)
- Vermicomposting in the Childcare Center Production Gardens (LF-007-08)
Publication date: Sept. 16, 2015
Last updated: July 12, 2017
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