The following is a blog from NCSU student Holly Starks. It is the 5th (read the 1st week, 2nd week, 3rd week, and 4th week recaps) in a series of 5 Blogs she will be writing chronicling her experience as a Nutrition Instructor for a OFL Class she is Teaching. Holly is teaching OFL as part of a Service Learning Class that has teamed up North Carolina State Students with the Inter Faith Food Shuttle’s OFL/Nutrition Program. Through this partnership the IFFS and NCSU hope to engage students in service learning and community nutrition while expanding the reach of its OFL program. The participants in the Side by Side class at the Crosby Head Start center finished their last class this past Tuesday. It was a time of celebration as the participants received their graduation certificates and gifts for participating in the class. The families enjoyed their last meal together that was composed of macaroni and cheese, pumpkin muffins, and a variety of sandwiches. The macaroni and muffins were prepared beforehand by our chef, Sara. One of the participants, Futura, brought the sandwiches for the class to enjoy.

The last class was designated as a time of review and celebration. No new material was introduced, but we wanted to emphasize the concepts that were taught throughout the class. While the parents filled out paperwork, we reviewed the food pyramid with the kids by showing them different pictures of foods and asking them to classify which food group the foods would be in. After the paperwork was finished, everyone received their certificates with excitement. As we all finished clapping, we gathered together to eat the food that had been prepared. Everyone was pleasantly surprised by the healthy twist on the macaroni. Futura exclaimed, “ This is really good, I like that it is still creamy.”  The class agreed that the dish was delicious. When making the macaroni, Sara made some healthy additions by adding tomatoes and broccoli to the dish. She also used whole wheat penne pasta instead of elbow macaroni. When making this dish you can personalize it by adding ingredients that you like or substituting with ingredients that are more available or on sale [the recipe is listed below]. The pumpkin muffins were also a good recipe for the class to try. They are relatively easy, very flavorful, and the kids loved them. However, Sara sadly expressed that there is currently a pumpkin shortage, which may make it harder to make these muffins with pumpkin until next fall. Despite this, the muffins can be substituted with sweet potato to still make for a delicious, healthy, and affordable snack.

After celebrating and eating, the kids were instructed to stand at a point on the floor labeled “start.” We explained to the class that we were going to play a review game and that the parents would answer the questions. If the parents correctly answered the question, then their child would move forward on the “game board” marked out on the floor. The parents were quizzed on questions about cooking, gardening, and nutrition that they had learned in the past six weeks. The game was neck and neck up until the lighting round when Chanta and her son Seven took the lead and won the game. At the end of the game, the class was complete. The families were sad to see that the class was over, as were we. We will miss them all!

Macaroni and Cheese

 serves 10


  • 1 (16 ounce) package of whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cups of 1% milk
  • 1 Tablespoon of butter
  • 2 ½  tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 ounce chunk of low-fat cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 10 ounce block of part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup of 1% cottage cheese
  • Non-stick cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 375oF
  2. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain pasta in colander and set aside.
  3. Peel and rinse onion.
  4. Finely chop onion.
  5. Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until hot. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside to keep warm.
  6. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft, about 4-5 minutes.
  7. Add flour to melted butter and onions and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  8. Add hot milk slowly to flour mixture and stir continuously, using a whisk or mixing spoon, over medium heat until sauce thickens (this is the white sauce). Sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in salt and black pepper.
  9. Grate cheddar cheese into a small mixing bowl, and measure and mix in breadcrumbs.
  10. Grate mozzarella cheese into a separate small bowl.
  11. Mix macaroni into white sauce, along with shredded mozzarella cheese. Stir in cottage cheese to combine.
  12. Coat baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and put macaroni mixture in dish.
  13. Sprinkle cheddar-breadcrumb mixture evenly across the top of the macaroni.
  14. Bake 15-20 minutes or until browned and bubbly. Remove from oven and let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.