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Eldorado class shows how cooking healthy doesn't have to be expensive

Posted on 6/28/2017, 5:00 AM

ELDORADO -- Visitors to the Eldorado Memorial Library on Tuesday got the chance to learn a new recipe as part of the University of Illinois Extension's adult cooking and nutrition program.

Robin Johnston, an educator with U of I Extension's Illinois Nutrition Education Program, teaches the adult cooking programs and said Tuesday's recipe was part of the summer selection of recipes the program offers.

On hand were Kaleb Pullam, who works as a chef at Eldorado Rehab and Healthcare, and librarian Miriam Richardson. Together, the two prepared "Cheesy Rice and Tomatoes," which features diced tomatoes, onions and bell peppers along with whole grain brown rice lightly stir-fried in an electric skillet with a light amount of olive oil.

Johnston said her program seeks to educate people, particularly in the low-income demographic, how to prepare healthy and nutritional food options.

She also gave participants a hands-on pasta identification quiz in order to highlight some important distinctions.

"This particular spaghetti is a gluten-free pasta made with corn and rice," she said. "Gluten-free foods used to be less available and more expensive, but that has changed in recent years."

She also pointed out the whole-grain pasta options, saying that they were more nutritionally sound because of the way they are processed.

"When they make regular pasta, a lot of the really nutritious parts are removed. That mostly just leaves a raw starch, which is not as healthy," she said.

The point of her program, she said, is to make the public aware of healthy yet tasty food options.

"There are a lot of great recipes we have that do not contain excess sugar or salt, but they still taste very good," she said.

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