By JOSH NICHOLS
Daily Press writer
Beginning Jan. 18, fast food junkies in Moffat County can no longer use the excuse, "I don't know how to cook."
Elisa Shackelton, family and consumer sciences agent with the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Office, is offering a monthly "Healthy Lunch" program.
On the third Friday of each month during the noon hour, people can learn and practice culinary skills, learn about and sample new healthful ingredients, and take home new recipes.
"Studies have found a lot of Americans aren't cooking as much," Shackelton said. "But when people cook at home they tend to eat healthier."
Shackelton conducted a similar program with success in Kansas.
"The goal is to get people excited about cooking again," she said.
Two keys to getting people excited, she said, is teaching them fast, easy ways to prepare recipes that are healthy.
"No one wants to stand in a kitchen for three hours anymore," she said. "We want to teach people to cook healthy and fast at the same time."
Most of the recipes taught in the class can be prepared in less than 20 minutes.
A sneak preview of cooking tips that will be offered include preparing baked potatoes in a crock pot and making apple turnovers with a tortilla crust.
When people come to the class at noon, they choose a recipe from a provided cookbook and split into small groups to prepare the dish.
At 12:30, the entire group gathers to discuss what was prepared and eat a buffet style meal.
Shackelton described herself as a facilitator, not a teacher, in a class that is open to anyone.
"I anticipate people will come with more expertise than I have," she said. "Those people can share ideas and recipes."
Those inexperienced in the kitchen are also welcome.
"It's for anybody that is capable of cooking," she said. "There's no preferred age range. It's definitely a great class for bachelors."
People need to register two days prior to each class and pay a $5 fee.
The fee covers the cost of groceries and a cookbook provided to those in the class.
People will also be provided ideas on new products to look for when grocery shopping.
"There's a lot of products out there many people have never tried," she said. "We tend to get in ruts when grocery shopping."
Those interested in the class, which will be taught on the third Friday of each month at the Extension Office, 539 Barclay St., can call Shackelton at 824-9180.