There is much to learn about health and food through Cooperative Extension’s EFNEP

Joanna Rogers Contributing columnist

Hello, my name is Joanna Rogers and I am the Youth Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, EFNEP, assistant here in Robeson County.

In EFNEP we offer a series of six lessons where participants learn about cooking healthy foods, food safety and exercising more. Participants learn simple ways to be healthier, try new recipes and learn fun new exercises they can do at home. Over the past year, EFNEP has adapted and made changes to help fit the needs of the youth here in Robeson County. We give each participant the option to choose a platform that works best for them. We took our traditional curricula and turned them into virtual learning experiences. We now offer Zoom live sessions for K-12th grades, Google Meets for K-12th grades, and prerecorded lessons with a live, interactive component for each grade level three through 12. Each curriculum is designed for each grade level, with fun, interactive learning and recipes.

What other things does EFNEP offer in Robeson County?

This past year EFNEP and 4-H partnered for the “Cooking With Ms. Jojo” series. Youth participants in 4-H got to cook live with Ms. Jojo and learned about food safety and taking favorite everyday foods and making them healthier. We teach helpful tips to help make cooking in the kitchen easy and more fun. We are currently in the process of working on other upcoming dates for more “Cooking with Ms. Jojo” live Zooms and other platforms near you.

Below is one of our most popular recipe, chicken quesadillas. This recipe incorporates several food groups: grains, vegetables, dairy and protein.

Chicken Quesadillas

Makes 4 servings

Serving Size: 1 quesadilla

Ingredients

· 1 cup skinless chicken, precooked and shredded

· 2 tablespoons chunky tomato salsa

· ¼ – cup onion, chopped

· 1/4 – cup green bell pepper, chopped

· 1/2 – cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

· 4 whole-wheat tortillas

Directions

1. Mix chicken, salsa, onion, and green pepper together.

2. Spray a skillet with cooking spray and place it on stove on medium heat until hot.

3. Place 1/4 of the chicken mixture on the bottom half of a tortilla and top it with 1/4 of the cheese.

4. Fold tortilla in half, top to bottom, covering filling.

5. Place tortilla in heated pan and brown for approximately 2 – 4 minutes. Turn tortilla over and brown other side.

6. Cut folded tortilla into 3 – 4 wedges.

7. Repeat steps 2 – 6 for remaining tortillas.

Joanna Rogers is the 4-H Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program assistant at North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center. She can be reached at 910-671-3276, [email protected] or by visiting the website http://robeson.ces.ncsu.edu.