Kid-Approved Cajun Style Shrimp, Red Beans, and Rice

By Lillian Lin-Levitan a recent ASU Nutrition student


This warming dish has some of my most favorite flavors. I take it easy on the hotter spices only because I’m serving young kids as well as the grown-ups. If you like it hot just add some cayenne pepper to taste – that’s what I do when the occasion calls for it.


First and foremost – the spice mixture

  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper


Red Beans and Rice

  • 2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 white onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • dash of salt
  • dash of pepper
  • dash of paprika


In a large pan, melt butter and sauté chopped onion and garlic.


Add rinsed, uncooked brown rice. Add vegetable broth and spices, bring to a simmer and then reduce to low. Cook according to the directions on your rice.


Once rice is cooked and no liquid remains, mix in rinsed and drained beans. Add about ¾ of the preprepared spice mixture.



  • 1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • Remaining ¼ of preprepared spice mixture


In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together.

Over medium heat, cook shrimp for about 5 minutes, stirring or flipping shrimp occasionally.


Put it all together!


Serve in a bowl with the bean and rice mixture on bottom, topped with shrimp.


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German Chocolate Cake Recipe

By : Gabrielle Hungate a recent ASU nutrition student

There are very few occasions that I will make this kind of decadent item. I try to eat healthy on a regular basis, but there are events that I am asked to make a dessert and this is a great go to treat. The frosting can be a little bit of a challenge and the texture is a little different then something you would buy in a can. The flavor and texture is delicious. It is always a hit at family events.




1 (18.25 ounce) package German chocolate cake mix

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Coconut almond frosting

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 cup evaporated milk

2 eggs, beaten

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 (7 oz. package) sweetened flaked coconut

1 cup sliced almonds




Preheat oven to 350º. Mix the cake mix, buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl on low speed for one minute until combined. Beat at medium speed

Add to a greased and floured 13X9 baking dish. Bake 38 Minutes until the cake springs back when pressed. Cool completely on a wire rack.



Coconut-Almond Frosting

Combined butter, sugar, evaporated milk and eggs* in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 12 minutes or until thickened. Add vanilla, coconut and almonds. Cool to room temperature before frosting cake.

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“Cooking Class” for the Kids During Quarantine

By: Lillian Lin-Levitan a recent ASU Nutrition student





Since Staying Home is the new normal for most of us during this global pandemic, many parents find themselves taking on the role of teacher for their kids.  I’ve been trying to figure out how to best make homeschool work for us. Yes – we are provided a curriculum from the kid’s school which we follow. But we quickly discovered we needed to add some additional hands-on learning to the mix.

“Cooking Class” has been a great interactive learning time that has added benefits of encouraging healthy eating in kids – because cooking programs have been shown to positively influence children’s food choices, attitudes, and behaviors – which in turn results in reduced instances of diet-related diseases (1). Plus, it’s fun to have little helpers in the kitchen! It has been a great way to break up the day.

I’ve found the best time for cooking class is late morning – after a few traditional school lessons and before lunch. We all know that quarantine life has us limiting our trips to the grocery store, so I plan the “lessons” around what food we already have in the house, and the final product ends up feeding the family.

Sometimes the tasks delegated to the kids is as simple as measuring or chopping veggies. Sometimes the meal is more interactive and includes baking or stovetop cooking (supervised of course). It all depends on the day – I always try to be flexible, which I’ve found is key to making this activity enjoyable for us.

Below I’ve included a week’s worth of example foods that have worked well for us. You can use it as a jumping off point to create your own kid-friendly cooking experience!


Monday – Banana Bread Muffins

These are a great kid-friendly baking option. The kids do all of the measuring, pouring, and mixing. He’s also in charge of filling up the muffin tins.


Tuesday – Veggie Hummus Wraps

This is where the kids get their chopping practice. Use whatever veggies you have / like – we often use bell peppers and cucumbers. Then have them spread hummus on a tortilla, distribute the veggies, and wrap them up.


Wednesday – Blueberry Pancakes

Measuring, mixing, and pouring pancake batter are all great opportunities for the kids to help out.


Thursday – Personal Pizzas

These are a favorite in our house. Measuring ingredients for the dough, rolling pizzas out, and getting to choose the individual toppings are a hit with the kids.


Friday – Oatmeal Cookies

            It’s fun for us to end the week with a treat!





  • Hersch D, Perdue L, Ambroz T, Boucher JL. The impact of cooking classes on food-related preferences, attitudes, and behaviors of school-aged children: a systematic review of the evidence, 2003-2014. Preventing chronic disease. Published November 6, 2014. Accessed April 22, 2020.
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Vegan and Gluten Free Pumpkin and Chocolate Chip Bars

By : Gabrielle Hungate a recent ASU nutrition student

This is a recipe that I make often that does not contain dairy or gluten. They can also be made with dairy and traditional flour. The texture is a little different but still very tasty. It is a good one to be made around the holidays but can be enjoyed at any time.




1 stick of softened smart balance or butter

1 cup of sugar

½ tsp vanilla

1 15 ounce can of pumpkin

2 ½ cup flour or gluten free

¼ salt

¼ tsp pumpkin spice

1 ¼ cup vegan chocolate chips or regular chocolate chips





In a greased 9×13 pan spread mixture flat and bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 minutes.

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Fun Facts About Salsa

By Alexandra Pettit AZFB Communications Intern

Did you know that May is national salsa month! May is also known for a very popular holiday Cinco de mayo! In celebration of this holiday, we wanted to share some interesting facts about salsa. So grab your tacos and chips and get ready to dip into these cool facts!


Fun Facts about Salsa:

  1. May is national salsa month!
  2. There are many different varieties of salsa, they all vary in peppers and ingredients used.
  3. Salsa is the Italian and Spanish term for sauce, and in English-speaking countries usually refers to the sauces typical of Mexican cuisine known as salsa picante, particularly those used as dips. (
  4. The origins of Salsa (which literally means sauce in Spanish) can be traced as far back as the civilizations of the Aztecs, Mayans, and Incas. (
  5. The Spaniards first recorded encountering salsa around in the early 1500s. (
  6. In 1948, Texas became the home to the first salsa manufacturing site in the United States. (
  7. Salsa is one of the most popular condiments along with ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise.
  8. Between 1988 and 1992 households in the US buying salsa increased from 16% to 36%. Sales of salsa overtook Ketchup sales in 1991 (in terms of dollar value). (
  9. Tortilla Chips and Salsa was designated as the Official State Snack of Texas in 2003. (
  10. Their original sauces were a mix of chiles, tomatoes, squash, and beans, among other indigents. The Aztecs passed these traditions on to later cultures in Central America and eventually the United States. (


Looking for a salsa recipe check out Fill Your Plates recipe sections for some fun salsa recipes!




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