Organization helps young moms-to-be in financial need

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QMI Archives

Elizabeth Baird, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:17 AM ET

Almost 10 years ago Ottawa TV cook Pam Collacott started volunteering at Buns in the Oven, a program in Ottawa for young moms-to-be in need of financial help and support. These are the “Buns Moms” who come weekly to any of the nine Buns sites to cook a meal together, picking up cooking skills and nutrition info as they work alongside each other in the kitchen. And then sitting down to eat together. Buns provides an opportunity to share valued knowledge about pregnancy and babies, parenting, health and life skills, friendship and more in a warm relaxed setting.

Pam was perfect for Buns. She already had an impressive set of experiences including Home Ec teacher, her own cooking school, and author of four cookbooks. According to Pam, she had no sooner started cooking with the young women at Buns when “a new cookbook began to write itself.” The cookbook, aptly named, Buns in the Oven, Great Recipes for Today's Families, is full of the kind of recipes, tips, variations and information any starting-out cook will find invaluable and enticing.

Did you know?

Buns in the Oven is a Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program from the Public Health Agency of Canada and is jointly managed by the Young Parent Support Network. To order copies of Buns in the Oven cookbook, go to www.ottawayoungparents.com or to General Store Publishing House at www.gsph.com

Mexican Lasagna

This recipe is a hit every time it’s made at Buns — and it’s made often.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb. (750 g) ground turkey, chicken, or lean beef, crumbled (if desired, replace some or all of the ground meat with reconstituted TVP, see below)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 1/2 cups (875 ml) extra chunky salsa
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 container (475-500 g) light cottage cheese or light ricotta
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) minced fresh parsley
  • 2 cups (500 ml) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
  • 12 to 15 small whole-grain flour tortillas
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded, diced
  • Chili powder
  • Optional toppings such as shredded lettuce, chopped green onions, chopped tomatoes, sliced black olives, guacamole or diced avocados

In large skillet, cook ground meat, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Stir in salsa. Heat to boiling. Season lightly with pepper. In medium bowl, stir together cottage cheese, egg, parsley and 1 cup (250 ml) of Monterey Jack cheese. To assemble, lightly grease or spray bottom and sides of 13-x 9-inch (3.5 L) baking pan. Cover bottom and sides with a layer of tortillas (about half). Spoon in meat mixture in an even layer. Cover with a layer of remaining tortillas. Top with cottage cheese mixture in an even layer. Sprinkle diced tomato and remaining cheese evenly on top. Sprinkle lightly with chili powder. Cover and refrigerate at this point if desired. Bake in 350F. (180C.) oven until hot and bubbly, about 30 to 45 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting into squares. Let each person garnish with toppings of choice. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

TIP: TVP is Textured Vegetable Protein. It is high-fibre, high-protein, low-sodium meat substitute made from soy flour after the soybean oil has been extracted from it. It is available dehydrated in several textures and flavours and is available in supermarkets. To reconstitute: In a heatproof bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) dry TVP with 1 1/3 cups (325 ml) boiling water. Let stand until liquid is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. This is the equivalent of 1 lb. (500 g) ground meat.

Amy’s Quick Potato Soup

From Amy Kerluke, Pam’s daughter and mother of three little boys, comes this recipe for creamy comfort in a bowl.

  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled, sliced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, sliced
  • 1 or 2 cloves of raw or roasted garlic
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • Sodium-reduced or sodium-free chicken or vegetable broth
  • Milk, optional
  • About 3/4 cup (175 ml) shredded cheese, old Cheddar, or your choice

Place potatoes and carrots in a saucepan with the garlic, salt and pepper. Add enough broth to just cover vegetables. Cover pot, simmer mixture gently until vegetables are very soft. Puree vegetables using hand blender, blender or food processor; or mash with potato masher until smooth. Add milk or more broth to desired consistency. Add shredded cheese to taste, stirring until cheese melts. Taste and adjust seasoning and serve hot. Makes about 6 servings. Variations: Here are other vegetable options: potato, cubed peeled squash, onion, cauliflower, carrots, peas, zucchini or your choice.

Oven-Fried Parmesan Chicken

This is a recipe everyone loves, and bears repeating until you can make it by heart.

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp. (15 ml) milk
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) paprika
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 6 bone-in chicken thighs or breasts, skin removed

In small bowl combine egg and milk. In second bowl, mix Parmesan, flour, paprika, salt and pepper. Dip chicken pieces in egg mixture, then in Parmesan mixture to coat. Place on lightly greased pie plate or baking sheet, pieces not touching each other. Bake in preheated 350F. (180C.) oven until chicken is no longer pink inside when you cut into the thickest part, and when the outside of the chicken is brown and crisp, about 45 minutes. Makes 6 servings. TIP: Wash your hands, knives, cutting boards, bowls, any other equipment you have used with hot soapy water as soon as you finish. Rinse and let air dry.


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