YMCA Growing Communities Sessions Recipes (December 1st - 7th)

“...no one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.” 
― Julia Child

Thank you to all the awesome kids, parents and and volunteers who came to our Growing Communities sessions at the YMCA this week. We hope you have a fantastic time, because we know we sure did (and always do). You can find a tip sheet with the day's chili recipe here, as well as a presentation on the benefits of kids' cooking literacy here. If you have any questions, or want to tell us how your cooking went, give us a shout at info@growingchefsontario.ca

Now, come join us in the kitchen!



Lentil Chili - recipe here

Root Vegetable Slaw

  • 1 kohlrabi, peeled and shredded
  • 1 carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 1 golden beet, peeled and shredded
  • ½ celery root, peeled and shredded
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and shredded
  • ½ cup dried fruit (optional, can use cranberries, apricots, raisins, whatever you like)
  • ½ cup shredded coconut (optional)

Orange Dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • ½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil (or coconut oil)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

DirectionsIn a medium bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the salad dressing until well combined, and set aside. Peel all of the root vegetables, and shred in a large bowl using a fine mandolin with a shredder attachment, or the largest holes on a cheese grater.  Combine with dressing to taste and dried fruit and coconut if desired.

Italian Salad

  • 2 head romaine lettuce, washed, dried and cut into large, bite-sized pieces
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped hothouse cucumbers
  • 1 large carrot, peeled into ribbons
  • Two tomatoes, chopped


  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh Italian parsley, roughly chopped
  • 10 big leaves fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons honey

DirectionsCombine all ingredients for the dressing in a food processor or blender, and pulse until you have a smooth dressing. Mix together all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl and combine with the dressing to taste.  Serve immediately.

Fennel, Pomegranate & Orange with Feta Salad

  • 2 bulbs fennel
  • 1/2 red onion, very finely sliced
  • 200g (7oz) feta cheese
  • 2 small oranges, peeled and carefully sliced
  • seeds of 1/2 pomegranate
  • leaves from small bunch fresh mint, torn


  • 1 1/2 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 30ml (2 tbsp.) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • salt and pepper 

Directions:  Make the dressing by mixing together the vinegar, oil, honey, salt and pepper in the bottom of a shallow serving bowl. 

Trim the fennel bulbs, reserving any of the little feathery fronds, and remove any tough outer leaves. Quarter the bulbs and cut out the central core. Finely slice the fennel, lengthways, and toss it into the bowl containing the dressing, with the reserved fronds. Add the onion, orange slices and mint. 

Toss the salad and scatter the pomegranate seeds and feta on the top - don't add the seeds before tossing, or they will leach out their crimson juices. 

Brussels Sprout Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped*
  • 1 ripe bosc pear, chopped
  • ½ cup grated pecorino romano cheese


  • ¼ cup liquid bacon drippings
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste


Warm Maple-Bacon Dressing: Cook the bacon on a skillet over medium heat until it reaches desired done-ness. Place the strips of bacon on a cutting board, chop, and set aside. Pour the bacon fat into a measuring cup. Reserve ¼ cup of the fat, and discard any remaining. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk well in a bowl until combined.  Set aside until ready to use.

Brussels sprouts Chopped SaladRinse the Brussels sprouts well. Chop off the rough end, and thinly slice them from tip to tail. Alternately, you can separate all of the leaves individually. Add all ingredients for the salad to a large serving bowl. Pour desired amount of maple-bacon dressing over the salad, and toss well until everything is coated.

Apple Pie Mini Mason Jars

Apple Pie Filling

  • 4 medium apples
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water

DirectionsPeel, core and slice apples. Melt butter and cinnamon over medium heat. Stir in apples, sugar & 3 tablespoons water. Cover and cook stirring occasionally for 4-6 minutes or until very slightly softened. In a small dish combine cornstarch and water. Add to pan while stirring and continue to cook until apples are soft (not mushy) and filling is thickened. Let bubble 1 minute. Cool.

Food Processor Pie Dough

  • 12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening
  • 6 to 8 tbsp (about 1/2 cup) ice water

DirectionsDice the butter and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and shortening. Pulse 8 to 12 times, until the butter is the size of peas. With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball. Dump out on a floured board and roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.


Enjoy your delicious dinner!


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