CHICAGO (CBS) – “Eat healthy.” Easier said than done, right?
Cart after cart leave the Pilsner pantry every day. Each one is full of nutrients and full of potential, which Sophia Yunez shares through recipes in her free cooking class.
The sophomore at the University of Illinois Chicago medical student searches the shelves every week for seasonal and surplus deals.
“For example, we had a lot of peaches coming through the pantry, so we tried to do something with peaches,” said Yunez.
Leftover canned pork has recently been turned into delicious salad wraps. Extra tilapia received rave reviews after Yunez suggested baking it in the oven.
One customer told Yunez: “’They always love to eat fried fish, but they really liked the recipe you gave us.’ She explains that her version had almost no oils but was heavily seasoned.
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The course promotes healthy eating by teaching pantry visitors how to use pantry items. Sometimes participants explore a new ingredient or learn new skills.
“The idea is that it’s a little bit different from what people already know how to cook, and it’s financially accessible and healthy,” Yunez said.
It’s a great recipe for Francisco Rivera volunteer studying nutrition in college.
“Being able to teach people what I’ve learned about nutrition so far in a community-based setting is almost like a perfect way to just immerse myself in what I want to keep doing,” said Rivera.
All the sizzling and chopping by volunteers eventually caught the attention of a future cook who passed by. The man who said he didn’t even know how to properly cut vegetables told Yunez he could come back next week.
Guaranteed on the menu: something delicious.
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The Pilsen Food Pantry Cooking takes place on Thursdays from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at 1850 S. Throop St. in Chicago. Sign up here.