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TCC culinary students prepare healthy suppers in a hurry

Delicious dishes like Santa Fe Quinoa Salad and Libyan Soup with Couscous sound yummy. They also sound time consuming, but students in TCC’s Culinary Arts program demonstrated firsthand just how quickly a home-cooked healthy meal can be made.

The TCC chefs-in-training participated in an “Iron Chef Healthy Cooking Demo and Competition,” preparing a nutritious one-pot meal using a secret ingredient in 30 minutes. The secret ingredient turned out to be chicken breast – though most of the meals could also be served as vegetarian dishes.

“It’s all in the preparation,” said Chef Deanna Freridge, who teaches Culinary Arts at the college. “It’s easy to learn how to create a meal using one or two pots.”

The students – Kian Young, Ashley King, Joseph Duquette, David Hannah, Carolyn Jones and Latasha Selby were judged on appearance, creativity, flavor and texture in the competition held at the Norfolk Student Center. The judges – Chef Don Averso, Counselor Ivory Warren and Media Coordinator Steve Cushing – selected Selby’s Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Chicken Chili as the winner. Selby received a backpack ideal for a chef and a cookbook on one-dish suppers.

“The texture, the colors and the taste were very good,” Averso said. “There are some things you want to look at and eat with your eyes.”

Selby’s chili – which includes cumin, coriander, oregano, honey and golden raisins – is a favorite of her husband. Her winning recipe is below.

SWEET POTATO, BLACK BEAN, AND CHICKEN CHILI

2 4-ounce chicken breast diced medium
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 large onion, diced
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons chili powder
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 chili pepper minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 cup beef stock
1 tablespoon honey
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained
1 14-ounce can pureed tomatoes
1 cup of carrots chopped
4 teaspoons lime juice
2 tablespoons golden raisins
2 tablespoons diced tomatoes

Preparation

Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken breast, sweet potato and onion and carrot. Season with 1/2 salt and pepper, add honey, stirring often, until the onion begins to soften, about 4 minutes. Add chili peppers and seasonings, and salt to taste. Stir constantly for 30 seconds. Add broth and tomatoes puree and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook until the sweet potato is tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

Add beans, tomatoes, lime juice and raisins; increase heat to high and return to a simmer, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and garnish with parsley. Serve over rice with pita bread or tortilla chips. Recipe can also be used as leftovers on a soft taco.