We CAN and WILL work Side by Side!

The following blog post is written by Madelaine Frye. It is the last blog post (be sure to catch up on week 1 , week 2 , week 3 ,week 4 and week 5 if you haven’t already!) in a series of 6 blogs she will be writing chronicling her experience as a Nutrition Instructor. Madelaine 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. Graduation day is finally here! My name is Madelaine Frye and I am a senior Nutrition student at NC State. I have been reporting to you all on how our Side By Side classes at the Knightdale Head Start location have been progressing through our six-week healthy lifestyle adventure. Week six in the OFL Side by Side class was full of excitement and anticipation for everyone to receive their diplomas!

This week in class we played a review board game in the form of Jeopardy, which went over all of fun and informational lessons we experienced in the first five weeks. The topics of the game included MyPyramid, fruits, vegetables, and grains, label reading, kitchen smarts, and planning family meals. The family pairs did a great job answering all of the questions and even our group of class teachers joined in on the fun. We learned a lot of new facts such as the many ways to defrost meats properly all while having a great time together.

After our game, we cooked up some quick recipes of baked chicken fingers and sweet potato fries. Working with raw meat is a difficult task but we all worked together and made sure to be as sanitary as possible. The children in our class wore gloves and loved helping roll the chicken in the yogurt and spices along with shaking them in the bag filled with Italian seasoned breadcrumbs. We made up a song as a class that every sang and enjoyed while we shook the chicken.

The afternoon ended much too soon but everyone was thrilled to eat as a group and enjoy the wonderful meal we had made together. Chef Jay also brought a dish that he had made at home with whole-wheat pasta, avocados, chicken and grated cheese. When asked what everyone’s favorite part of their class experience was, Nate stated that loved trying new recipes and enjoyed the baked chicken fingers the most. Annette loved the broccoli soup made in week two so much that she had already made it at home twice. All of the children enjoyed learning the parts of the plant with our Gardener Byron and had blossoming snap pea plants at home.

Congratulations to all of our graduates! Enjoy some of our favorite recipes at your home, too!

Baked Chicken Fingers

 serves 8


  • 2 ½ pounds boneless chicken breast
  • ¼ cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 2 cups Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated


  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Cut chicken breasts into 1” wide strips.
  3. Measure and combine the yogurt, water, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add chicken strips to yogurt mixture and toss together until chicken is well-coated.
  5. Measure and put grated Parmesan and breadcrumbs into a large plastic bag.
  6. Lightly boat a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  7. Add 3 to 4 chicken strips at a time to the plastic bag, seal bag, and have child shake the chicken inside the bag until it’s well coated. Be sure to keep the bag sealed so the ingredients don’t fall out when shaken.
  8. Place the chicken strips on the baking sheet about ½ inch apart, in a single layer, making sure not to overcrowd.
  9. Spray chicken strips with cooking spray, and bake for 15-20 minutes. Repeat steps 8 and 9 if you don’t have enough room on the baking sheet to cook all the chicken strips at once.
  10. Warm tomato sauce in a small saucepan over low heat, place in a small serving bowl, and serve as a dipping sauce for the chicken fingers.

Chef’s Notes:

*For extra flavor, try adding ¼ teaspoon of one of the following seasonings to the yogurt mixture: cayenne pepper, dried thyme, dried oregano, garlic powder, or paprika.

Sweet Potato Fries

serves 6


  • 4 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of canola oil
  • Non-stick cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  2. Scrub and rinse sweet potatoes. Pat dry with a paper or kitchen towel.
  3. Leave skin on, cut sweet potatoes into thick French fry strips, about ½ inch wide.
  4. Measure and mix paprika, salt, ground black pepper, and cayenne pepper in large mixing bowl to make Cajun seasoning. Add canola oil to spices and blend with a whisk or fork until they are coated on all sides.
  5. Transfer sweet potato strips into the bowl and toss until they are coated on all sides.
  6. Coat baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray, and place sweet potatoes in a single layer on the sheet.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn fries over and bake another 10-15 minutes, or until fries are tender.

Chef’s Notes:

*For easier cleanup, line the baking sheet with a layer of aluminum foil and coat with non-stick cooking spray before placing the sweet potatoes on the sheet.

*White baking potatoes can be substituted for all or part of the sweet potatoes.

*Increase the amount of cayenne pepper in the Cajun seasoning to make it spicier.