Hospitality house offering cooking classes to community members

Article Published: Jun. 6, 2013 | Modified: Jun. 6, 2013

Every week at the grocery store, some items cost a little more.

Feeding a family continues to get more expensive. While some families have the discretionary income to handle rising food costs, others deal with the issue by choosing less expensive, sometimes less healthy groceries.

That’s why Allison Jennings, food services coordinator at Hospitality House of Boone, is offering “Cooking Matters” to the general public.

This six-week-long class teaches participants how to select nutritious and low-cost ingredients and prepare them in ways that provide the best nourishment possible to their families.

If you could use a little help stretching your food dollars, consider signing up. There is no income requirement to participate and no charge for the class. Participants practice fundamental lessons, including knife skills, reading ingredient labels, cutting up a whole chicken and making a healthy meal for a family of four on a $10 budget.

Adults and teens take home a bag of groceries after each class, so they can practice the recipes taught. The funding comes through the Second Harvest food bank of North Carolina. Let Jennings know of your interest by email at ( or by calling her at (828) 264-1237. She will let you know when the next class series is planned.

This healthy dessert recipe was taken from the Cooking Matters website, North Carolina strawberries, now in season, would make a great fruit topping.

Fruit Tarts

Developed by Chef Jenny Herman, Boulder, Colo.
Serves: 6, 1 tart per serving
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

6 slices whole wheat sandwich bread
4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 Tablespoons skim milk
2 Tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups cut-up fresh fruit

Remove cream cheese from refrigerator and allow to warm to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice crust off bread. Flatten with a rolling pin or the bottom of a heavy skillet to about 1/8-inch thick. Place on a baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.
While the bread is baking, in a small bowl, mix together cream cheese and milk with a fork until smooth. Stir in honey and vanilla. Spread a generous tablespoon of cream cheese mixture on each piece of cooled bread. Arrange about 1/3 cup of fruit on top of each tart.

Use your favorite combination of fruit to make these tarts. Diced mangoes, apples, pears, melon, pineapple, berries and orange or grapefruit segments all make good toppings.

Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D. is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and extension agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups. For more information, email or call (828) 264-3061.

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