Cooking for Your Life

October 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

Nutrition Educator, Anadeli De Jesus with CHOICES class attendees at the San Marcos Senior Center


by Anadeli De Jesus, Nutrition Educator

I was excited to teach my first “Cooking for Your Life” series to older adults at the San Marcos Senior Center.  The CHOICES Nutrition Education Program taught nutrition classes there a year ago, and I was glad to hear a few older adults were still attending this center and had remembered our program.

Viola Sowell, the San Marcos Senior Center coordinator, is focused on providing their residents an environment conducive to learning, more focused activities, and a place where they look forward to attending everyday.  Typically, the older adults eat a hot-meal at lunch and enjoy their favorite game, the infamous Loteria (Bingo in English), but this month they were excited to be a part of our cooking class!  I was glad to remind them of the importance of eating healthy at any age, about basic kitchen safety, and when asked, Agustine and Maria, even said that they prepared one of the recipes, Carrot Raisin Muffins, together.

By the end of the series, they learned about the importance of eating more fruits and vegetables, drinking low-fat milk, and seemed to be happy to learn a few easy recipes to prepare without much assistance.  Some of the recipes included: Tempting Tostadas, Fruit Smoothies, Carrot Raisin Muffins, and Chicken Enchiladas Verdes.  I’ve included one of their favorites, the Chicken Enchiladas Verdes, below.

After completing the 4-week series, I was really happy to make a difference in their lives, and to work with the San Marcos Senior Center. I hope they remember a few things I taught them!

Click here to learn more about the CHOICES Nutrition Education Program.

Below is one of the many recipes taught through this program. For more recipes download our free iPhone app: iPheedaNeed.

Chicken Enchiladas Verde

Prep time: 20 minutes                                                                    Cooking time: 25 minutes

Serving size: 1 wedge Serves: 8


1 lb canned chicken breast in water, drained, or leftover cooked chicken

1 cup frozen corn or vegetable medley, thawed

2 4-ounce cans chopped green chilies (not drained)

2 cups canned green enchilada sauce or green salsa, divided

12 corn tortillas

1 15-ounce can nonfat refried beans

1 cup reduced-fat shredded cheese, such as Mexican-style, Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 lime, cut into wedges


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Coat a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Combine chicken, corn (or vegetable medley), chilies and 1/2 cup enchilada sauce (or salsa) in a medium bowl.
  3. Spread 1/4 cup enchilada sauce (or salsa) in the prepared baking dish.  Top with an overlapping layer of 6 tortillas.  Spread refried beans evenly over the tortillas.  Top the beans with the chicken mixture, followed by the remaining 6 tortillas.  Pour the remaining sauce (or salsa) over the tortillas.  Cover with foil.
  4. Bake the enchiladas until they begin to bubble on the sides, about 20 minutes.  Remove the foil; sprinkle cheese on top.  Continue baking until heated through and the cheese is melted, about 5-10 minutes more.  Top with cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

Nutritional Information per Serving:

Calories 250, Total Fat 4.5g, Carbohydrates 37g, Fiber 4g, Protein 18g, Sodium 1050mg, Cholesterol 25mg


Recipe modified by CAFB CHOICES Nutrition Program


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