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Wildly Good Lunch at Mansfield Middle School

We had a wildly wonderful time yesterday at Mansfield Middle School in Storrs, Connecticut. Is there any better feeling than getting a response like this? This young man came up to thank me for lunch. Kids love eating fresh, deeply flavored food -- even lasagna with spinach and mushrooms!

It was so good I could probably eat a thousand batches of it!

Jodi Abele cooks in the Mansfield Middle School cafeteria


Jodi Abele (shown above) and her team made 300 lunches from scratch for the students, including Harvest Lasagna, Green Salad, Roasted Apples, Good Whisk Bread, and Cocoa Cookies. All the recipes are from my book, Wildly Affordable Organic.

Stephanie Nardi in Mansfield Middle School cafeteria cutting up fresh produce for school lunch

Schools rarely have the staff or budget to do even thrifty meals completely from scratch like this. Dietetic intern Stephanie Nardi was among the volunteers who helped cut up apples, bell peppers, and mushrooms.

Dr. Beth Gankofskie with lasagna at Mansfield Middle School in Storrs Connecticut.

Dr. Beth Gankofskie, who used to be the cafeteria director at the school, here gets the hot trays of lasagna ready for the students. Dr. Gankofskie is now at Meredith College in Raleigh, NC.

Here's my lunch tray for the taste test before the kids arrived. It was delicious! What an amazing group of cooks! I tried the roasted apples latter and they turned out perfectly: sweet enough but not sugary and with a good firm texture. Leaving the peels on saves time and adds nutrition and fiber.

We also made Cuban Black Beans and rice. Meredith College students tested the lasagna and bean recipes in the huge quantities required to feed a school full of hungry kids.

the quiet before the storm.

I take a break with Dr. G. while the students go through the lunch line. The poster behind us shows that Mansfield Middle School is participating in the NuVal rating system to help students make more informed, healthier choices. MMS is one of only four schools using this new approach nation wide, a sign of the innovation and high quality at the school.

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