You don’t have to go to Hawaii to get a taste of the islands. In fact the students at Mount Lebanon Elementary School in Pendleton, S.C. were cooking up what can only be described as a paradise for the taste buds in First Lady Michelle Obama’s Recipes for Healthy Kids competition. Our judges made their way down to Pendleton as the competition continued its tour across the country to find the top recipe that schools can easily incorporate into National School Lunch Program menus.
Mount Lebanon’s recipe, called Crunchy Hawaiian Chicken Wrap (entered in the ‘Dark Green and Orange Vegetables’ category), was among the 15 recipes chosen out of the 340 entries submitted, five were selected in each of three categories: whole grains, dark green and orange vegetables, and dry beans and peas.
Mount Lebanon’s team served as travel agents for a few hours as their Crunchy Hawaiian Chicken Wrap transported us to a land of scrumptious flavors. The wrap is a delicious treat made of seasoned chicken surrounded by sweet pineapple and crunchy shredded vegetables, topped with scrumptious poppy seed dressing — all wrapped up in a warm wheat wrap to be served as a delightful main dish.
So how did the Crunchy Hawaiian Chicken Wrap recipe become a top contender? It took a village as school nutrition professional, Vikki Mullinax; Chef Lorett Arnold-Hayes of 1826 on the Green in Pendleton, S.C.; community member Kristi Martin; parent and teacher Edie Wilkinson; and student Chandler came together to form this team of top chefs. The Healthy Kids Committee developed, tested, and prepared the recipe in the school kitchen before it was ready for prime time.
After perfecting the recipe with a pinch of this and a dash of that, Chef Lorett Arnold-Hayes and Vikki Mullinax served the entrée to the students at Mount Lebanon for lunch. Then the heat was really turned up as the committee went straight to the students for feedback. They gathered critiques on everything from the presentation to the taste of the entrée, and the rest as they say is history. The majority said they liked the entrée and would like to see it on the school menu.
Sound good? Recipes submitted by all the semi-finalists, including Mount Lebanon’s Crunchy Hawaiian Chicken Wrap, are now posted on the Recipes for Healthy Kids website where the public can vote for the “Popular Choice” award until May 31. Prizes range from $1,000 to a grand prize of $3,000.
To vote for your favorite, go to the Recipes for Healthy Kids website. Below is the recipe for “Crunchy Hawaiian Chicken Wrap” for you to try at home with your family or with your classmates. Mahalo to Mount Lebanon Elementary School for their hard work and this great entry!