Meatball Lollipops with Coconut Dipping Sauce and Asian Salad

Nutritious School Lunch Program

June 12 2009 022

Does that not look YUMMY? This is my first year of teaching Foods with Edmonton Public Schools. What fun! One of my first goals was to promote nutritious eating, and to teach my students how to cook nutritious food. Why? Come on in to any school from Junior High (Middle School) to High School, and you will find our students drinking pop and eating chips at 7 a.m.. Our garbage cans are full of half eaten lunches packed by well-meaning parents. Fresh fruit is the biggest throw away. The new found independence of our young has them crowded around the corner stores at noon hour buying junk to eat. BUT, I have noticed a more shocking change over my almost three decades of teaching. Most families no longer pack their children lunch. They give them money, or nothing, and let them fend for themselves. Clearly, there is no concern for what they will eat, or whether they will eat, by a vast majority of our middle school student parent population.
Once I got my feet on the ground after taking on this new assignment, I had this most amazing group of young people truly interested in cooking and loving it. They were “œThe Catering Club”. The first meal we catered was to the staff. It was so much fun for the students to come in after school, and just cook. Lots of laughs. Lots of friendships built. Lots of knowledge acquired through our conversations about food and eating. We did several small projects through the majority of the year, but in March, after a minimal amount of research and course taking, we became the first school in Edmonton Public Schools to receive an Official Licence from the Alberta Board of Health that gave me permission to cook nutritious lunches for our school with my students! There isn’t even a licence like this in any of our high schools. Yes, it was a bit of an effort, but not too much. I do have my Food Safety Course, and most definitely have taught and trained my students about the importance of safety and hygiene in a food preparation environment. So, yeah! It was full steam ahead, and I started with Friday lunches.
This one I am sharing today will be the first of many I will share, but there will be no more shared until the fall, and the new school year. This was the last nutritious lunch prepared by our Catering Club, and our Foods students for this school year, and it was a great success. S0 many students came back to get the recipes from me. So many learned so much through this process.
First, the Catering Club made the meatballs with me after school on Wednesday. I froze them. Then on Thursday, the last foods class in the afternoon peeled and sliced all of the root vegetables. One group did carrots, another the sweet potatoes, another the yams and two others the white potatoes. They were all then put in huge bowls, covered with water, and refrigerated.
The following day, my grade 7 class prepped the vegetables for the salad. Some helped me with the egg omelette rolls. The grade 8 class, next, finished the prep for the vegetables for the salad, and drained the root vegetables and got them ready to roast. They also made the salad dressing. When we put all of the salad ingredients together at the end of the class, there was not a student who wasn’t impressed by their accomplishment, and curious about all of the ingredients in the salad. I always give samples to my “œchefs”. I have those little paper cups, and whoever wants a taste can have one. Almost everyone asks for a sample. This salad was rated at an “œ8″Â  out of 10 by the majority of the students in all of my classes who sampled it. They must taste it. They made it! And if they like it, they tell everyone buying a lunch that day how good it is. I try to get a lot of students sampling the food.
The grade 9 class followed. We seasoned the root vegetables, and kept them separate on their cookie sheets, and piled them into our 5 ovens. The meatballs were taken out of the freezer, and three of the kitchens fried them, then they were placed on cookie sheets and went into the oven to finish cooking. The class then got out the forty plates we had planned for, and the napkins and the forks. They got out the garnish that the Catering Club had done, and they also made the Coconut Dipping Sauce, and plated it. When the forth morning class came, everything was ready to go. They “œgot to” clean up the kitchens, and I had a little written assignment for them. Then it was delivery time. Most students love to deliver

June 12 2009 029

Not bad for a school lunch, eh? The Meatball Lollipops are so delicious with the Coconut Peanut Dipping Sauce, and the Oven Roasted Root Vegetables are a frequent request. I usually throw an asparagus spear on top, or something similar to give the students a little adventure on their plate. Today, the adventure was the salad. It had “œforeign” bamboo shoots, vermicelli noodles and reconstituted mushrooms which would be enough to contend with for most of our hungry ones.
June 12 2009 006
I think it is the mint in the Coconut Peanut Dipping Sauce that makes it sparkle. Teachers have always ordered ahead, but lately, students have started ordering ahead, too. (I only make forty lunches to sell.) This is catching on! The fourth block class delivers the lunches from 12 to 12:16 (our noon hour bell time) to those that have pre-ordered. This gets the word out. The lunch smells good. The lunch looks good. “I want that lunch.”” Today, I will buy a nutritious lunch.” With the lunches now being delivered to students just before the bell, the interest in the food is peeking. Students having the courage to buy these lunches empowers other students. Students are really, really picky eaters for a variety of reasons. Their friends are watching, and if someone eats and likes something that another thinks is, “œGross!” it is really embarrassing, and almost humiliating to that student. Eating what you like and want to eat takes a great deal of courage in a middle school at lunch.

June 12 2009 010

On nutritious lunch days we only sell food that is nutritious at our school store. Everything else is put away. Even the sandwiches. I have to break even, so this is my day to sell unprocessed food to ignite interest in healthy eating. Next year, it is my goal  that there be no junk food sold at our store, and very little processed food. They will eat what we have if they are hungry, and will enjoy it if they try it.
I TRY to have choices for student appetites and budgets. We have a lot of vegetarians at our school, so, this day I offered:
  • Meatball Lollipops with Oven Roasted Root Vegetable Fries for $3.00 ““ sold out
  • Meatball Lollipops with Asian Salad for $400 ““ sold out
  • Asian Salad with Oven Roasted Root Vegetable Fries for $3.00 ““ sold out
  • The Combo: Meatball Lollipops with Asian Salad and Oven Roasted Root Vegetable Fries for $5.00 ““ sold out
  • Oven Roasted Root Vegetable Fries for $2.00 ““ sold out
  • Asian Salad for $2.00 ““ sold only one
June 12 2009 024
There was a considerable amount of salad left. This is the third time I have made a salad, and two times there was too much left over.
June 12 2009 023
Are you aware that most families no longer cook dinner meals? Well, they “œcook”, but this new generation’s definition of cooking is to buy a meal from Costco, and “œheat” it for dinner. I confess, there are a LOT of really delicious ready made meals out there. As a matter of fact, too many. And, though they are delicious, they are FAR from nutritious. I could go on, and have, here. The point is, even many woman from my generation have gone to the dark side. One of my friends phoned me not too long ago for a good appetizer recipe. I was sharing ideas with her on the phone, and she really liked this very idea: meatball lollipops. When I told her I would e-mail her the recipe, she exclaimed (rather defiantly), “œAre you kidding me? I am not going to make them? I’ll just pick up the sticks and the meatballs and a jar of jelly for dipping sauce!” Why had I just spent the last twenty minutes discussing appetizer recipes with her? I should have just said, “œGo to Costco.” But, I cannot say that. I am vehemently committed to teach this new generation of students completely saturated in instant gratification that there are things in life worth waiting for. This is the first generation that will die before their parents. They, and their parents, need to wake up and understand how critically vital it is to the survival of their children that they cook healthy food so their children can eat healthy food to build healthy bones, teeth and tissue. Not many cook any more. Really cook. Have you noticed that? Start conversations with people you work with. Watch what they are bringing or eating for lunch.

June 12 2009 027

Vietnamese Turkey Meatball Lollipops Recipe (makes about 35 meatballs)


  • 500 grams ground turkey
  • 3 green onions, sliced sleeping style
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 T cilantro leaves, sliced
  • 1 T fish sauce
  • 1 t grated ginger
  • 1/2t pepper
  • 1/2t sugar
  • 1/4t cinnamon
  • 1/4t sambal oelek
  • 2 T flour


1.Mix all of the above ingredients together.

2.Freeze until needed.


4.Fry, browning carefully, and well on two sides (top and bottom)

5.Keep warm until ready to serve and then insert a lollipop stick in each one

6. Serve with dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce (makes eight quarter cup servings)


  • 3/4 c unsalted, roasted peanuts, chopped
  • 3 T smooth peanut butter
  • 3 clove garlic
  • 3 T minced mint leaves
  • 1 1/2t sambal oelek
  • 1 1/21 t sugar
  • 1 c coconut milk


1.Mix all of the above ingredients together.

2.Place in 1/4c containers and serve each with three lollipops


Crunchy Vegetable Noodle Salad (serves eight)


  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 t water
  • 2 t peanut oil
  • 50 g vermicelli noodles
  • 120 g carrot
  • 150 g snow peas, slice
  • 130 g cucumber, sliced
  • 200 g red pepper, sliced
  • 150 g green pepper, sliced
  • 230 g canned water chestnuts, drained and sliced1/4c fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 t sesame seeds, toasted


1.Prepare all vegetables above, as required

2.Combine eggs and water in bowl

3.Heat 1/2oil in omelet pan

4.Pour in 1/2egg mixture; tilt pan to cover base of pan with egg mixture

5.Cook until set; remove, cool

6.Repeat with remaining egg mixture

7.Roll omelets tightly; slice thinly

8.Place noodles in heatproof bowl

9.Cover with boiling water and let stand 5 minutes

10.Drain, and cut with scissors into reasonable strands

11.Peel carrot, and then continue peeling long thin strips off of the carrot for the salad

12.Combine carrot strips with remaining vegetables, noodles, chestnuts, and cilantro

13.Add dressing and mix well

14.Top with sliced omelets and sesame seeds



  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 t sugar
  • 1/4c lime juice
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 2 t fish sauce
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 2 T rice vinegar
  • 1 T Hoisin sauce


Combine all ingredients together and serve over salad.

So, this is one baby step, and I FEEL GOOD! Do you hear the music and me dancing to it?
Yeah! I feel good!
La-la-la-la! Cha-Cha-Cha!
June 12 2009 028



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