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Count Colors: Smart Tips & Recipes For Schools

Krystle Kettman
Krystle Kettman | April 9, 2015


Counting colors is a necessity for you, but it’s not always so exciting for the kids you serve. Here are some tips and recipes that will get kids excited again and help kick-start your menu planning for the 2015-16 school year, too!

Here are five tips to help increase kids’ participation in school lunch and the new foodservice offerings you’re providing:

•Name new menu items something familiar…and not too exotic. For example, Stir Fry or Spiced/Glazed/Roasted Vegetables sound familiar yet are still unique.

•Encourage kids to be adventurous, and make a game out of it.

•Encourage kids’ feedback.

•Make kids a part of the decision process to choose new recipes.

•Serve new recipes along with favorite recipes to make a complete meal that will be more likely to encourage participation.



Each of these recipes includes nutritionals…including what a serving provides for the vegetable subcategories – Dark Green, Red/Orange, Legume, Starchy and Other!


Sweet Corn & Black Bean Stacked Enchiladas
Serves: 50  |  Main Dish
Meat/Meat Alternate-Grain-Legumes-Starchy Vegetables

5 lb Norpac Candy Corn (962550), thawed
1/2 gal Black Beans, drained
12-1/2 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
12-1/2 cups Shredded Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese
3 qt + 1/2 cup Green Enchilada Sauce
80 each Whole Grain Corn Tortillas – 6 in
Optional White Onion, diced
Optional Cilantro, chopped
Optional Reduced Fat Sour Cream

Combine corn, black beans and 1 pound each of the cheeses. Mix in 32 ounces enchilada sauce. Lightly coat two full size 2 inch steam table pan with pan release spray. Pour about 1 cup of the remaining sauce into each pan and tilt pan to coat the bottom. Arrange 14 tortillas over bottom of each pan. Place about 5 pounds of the corn and bean mixture in each pan on top of the tortillas and spread out evenly. Place 14 tortillas over the corn and bean mixture. Distribute the remaining corn and bean mixture (about 5 pounds per pan) evenly over tortillas. Place 12 tortillas over the corn and bean mixture. Pour the remaining sauce (26 ounces per pan) over the tortillas and spread with a spatula to cover each tortilla entirely. Top with the remaining shredded cheeses. Tent with foil and bake in a 350°F oven (325°F for convection) for 45-60 minutes or until internal temperature reads 165°F for at least 15 seconds. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting. Cut each pan 5 x 5. 

1 Serving
2 ounces meat/meat alternate, 1.5 ounces grain, 1/8 cup legumes, 1/4 cup starchy vegetables
336 Kcal, 13 g Total Fat, 7 g Saturated Fat, 32 g Carbohydrate, 885 mg Sodium, 20 g Protein

Meatballs & Noodles with Vegetables
Serves: 50  |  Main Dish
Meat/Meat Alternate-Grain-Other Vegetables-Red/Orange Vegetables

12 lb + 2 oz Reduced Sodium Beef Meatballs
3 lb + 4 oz (for K-5) Whole Grain Rotini Pasta
OR 6 lb + 8 oz (for 6-12)
8 lb Norpac Grande Classics 
Key West Vegetable Blend (962870)
1 qt Beef Broth
1/4 cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp Brown Sugar
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
1 cup Water, cold
2/3 cup Flour
1 pint Sour Cream

Bake meatballs according to manufacturer’s directions; hold hot. Cook pasta according to manufacturer’s directions; drain and hold hot. Place 4 pounds vegetables into each of two perforated steamer pans; steam for approximately 5 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°F. Meanwhile, place beef broth, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, onion powder and pepper in a 2 quart saucepan; heat until simmering. Combine water and flour to make a slurry; add to hot beef broth mixture while whisking; continue to cook until reaches a medium boil and sauce has thickened, about 5-10 minutes; remove from heat; stir in sour cream. Grades K-5 Serving: Place 1/2 cup cooked pasta in serving bowl. Top with 4 meatballs, 1/2 cup vegetables and 1/4 cup sauce. Grades 6-12 Serving: Place 1 cup cooked pasta in serving bowl. Top with 4 meatballs, 1/2 cup vegetables and 1/4 cup sauce. 

1 Serving K-5  
2 ounces meat/meat alternate, 1 ounce grain, 1/4 cup other vegetables, 1/8 cup red/orange vegetables. 
336 Kcal, 9 g Total Fat, 3 g Saturated Fat, 38 g Carbohydrate, 500 mg Sodium, 27 g Protein

1 Serving 6-12  
2 ounces meat/meat alternate, 2 ounces grain, 1/4 cup other vegetables, 1/8 cup red/orange vegetables.
439 Kcal, 9 g Total Fat, 3 g Saturated Fat, 60 g Carbohydrate, 502 mg Sodium, 31 g Protein

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