One of the goals of Bucks Knocks Out Hunger is to pack 100,000 meals of rice and beans or macaroni and cheese for local food pantries. The meals are nutrient-dense, very filling, and can stay on the shelves for up to two years. But how many times can you eat rice and beans before it gets boring?
We know that pantry patrons want variety in their diet, just like anyone else. So we hosted a joint Cook Off with Bucks County Opportunity Council to create some recipes, using only BKO Hunger meals and items typically found in a food pantry. Participants couldn’t spend more than five dollars to supplement their meal pack, and were limited to cooking on a stove or in a microwave (no ovens or slow cookers allowed).
Six cooks, four judges, and dozens of BCOC volunteers gathered on Friday morning at the Moumgis Auditorium at Delaware Valley College. The meals ranged from mac&cheese with bacon and kale, from Cathy Snyder of Rolling Harvest Food Rescue, to a spicy chili, by Melissa Mantz of Bucks County Housing Group and a Mexican twist on rice and beans, by Tim Philpot of UWBucks. Lynn Sabo of UWBucks and Allen Childs of BCOC also contributed awesome rice & beans recipes.
The judges, Jessica Sweeney of First Federal of Bucks County, Edie Kwanoski, Sue DiPaolo, and Karen McCollick, sampled each dish with care. They deliberated on the nutritional value, taste, affordability and originality of each meal. After much consideration, they determined the Outreach Spicy Chicken Rice and Beans salad, by Lauren Purcell, the winner!
Danielle Bush accepted the award for her sister, and all in attendance dug in to the food to test it out for themselves. The meals were even better than expected, and everyone left the event feeling full and happy.
All recipes collected today will be distributed by the pantries with the BKO Hunger meals, being packed on June 20th. If you have an idea for a recipe using an Outreach meal, send it our way (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Check out more photos from the event here.
About the contributor: Katie Pilot is the Marketing Associate at UW Bucks. She is a recent graduate of Villanova University with a major in Communication. She started as an intern last summer and was happy to stay with the organization and continue spreading the word about the great things UW Bucks does for the community.