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Edible Garden Program and Food Forests in Miami Dade County Schools

Cathy Nunnally, Linda Gassenheimer and Debi La Belle
Cathy Nunnally, Linda Gassenheimer and Debi La Belle

08/17/15 - 1:30 -Syndicated food columnist Linda Gassenheimer, Special wine correspondent Fred Taskerand WLRN hosts Joseph Cooper and Bonnie Berman interview Debi LaBelle, from the Education Fund and Cathy Nunnally a teacher from Charles Wyche Elementary.  Topic: The Edible Garden Program and Food Forests in the Miami Dade County Schools. The gardens and forests grow fresh produce year-round, are used in school meals and are tended by teachers and students. Cathy brings produce from her school garden for us to taste on air.

~~Dinner in Minutes~~

Chinese Salad with Asian Dressing: cool salad for end of summer supper

This simple one-dish meal made with shiitake mushrooms, chicken, cashew nuts and an Asian dressing is perfect summer evening fare.  It can be served warm or at room temperature.I’ve given substitutions for some of the Chinese ingredients, so that you can make this salad with ingredients you have on hand, if you prefer.

Sesame oil lends a nutty flavor.  Toasted sesame oil can be found in most supermarkets.  I prefer its more intense sesame flavor.

Steamed Chinese noodles can be found in the refrigerated section of the produce department.  Dried Chinese noodles or angel hair pasta can be used instead.




2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 1/2-tablespoons toasted sesame oil (divided use)

1/4 pound steamed or dried Chinese noodles

3/4 pound roasted or rotisserie boneless, skinless chicken breast

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 red bell pepper, sliced (about 1 cup)

1 cup sliced shiitake or portobello mushrooms

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Washed, ready-to-eat Romaine lettuce (about 3 cups)

2 scallions, sliced

2 tablespoons cashew nuts

Place a medium saucepan filled with water on to boil over high heat. Mix the soy sauce, vinegar and 1 tablespoon sesame oil together.   When water comes to a boil, add the noodles.  Boil 2 minutes and drain in a colander.    Run cold water through them. Set Aside.

Heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil in a wok or nonstick skillet over high heat and add the chicken, garlic, red pepper and mushrooms.  Stir fry 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat and add the noodles.  Add salt and pepper to taste and the sauce. Toss well. Divide lettuce leaves between 2 dinner plates. Spoon noodle and meat mixture over lettuce.  Sprinkle sliced scallion and cashews on top. Makes 2 servings.




CHINESE SALAD WITH ASIAN DRESSING:Per serving: 642 calories (27 percent from fat), 19.6 g fat, (2.9 g saturated, 10.0 g monounsaturated), 144 mg cholesterol, 53.7 g protein, 60.9 g carbohydrates, 8.0 g fiber, 742 mg sodium.


Here are the ingredients you’ll need for tonight’s Dinner in Minutes.

1 bottle toasted sesame oil, 1 bottle rice vinegar, 1 package steamed Chinese noodles, 3/4 pound roasted or rotisserie boneless, skinless chicken breast, 1 red bell pepper, 1 small package shiitake mushrooms, 1 bag washed, ready-to-eat Romaine lettuce, 1 bunch scallions and 1 small package cashew nuts.

Staples: Low-sodium soy sauce, bottle minced garlic, salt and black peppercorns.

Helpful Hints

  • White vinegar diluted with a little water can be used instead of rice vinegar.
  • Any variety of cooked chicken strips, pieces, roasted or rotisserie can be used.
  • Regular sesame oil or canola oil can be used instead of toasted sesame oil.
  • Any sliced mushrooms can be used instead of shiitake.
  • Minced garlic can be found in jars in the produce section of the market.
  • Walnuts can be used instead of cashew nuts.
  • A quick way to slice scallions is to snip them with a scissors.


  • Place water for Chinese noodles on to boil.
  • Mix sauce.
  • Boil noodles.
  • Make salad.

Copyright © Linda Gassenheimer

Linda Gassenheimer  is the author of 20 books including her newest,  The Flavors of the Florida Keys and Fast  and  Flavorful: Great Diabetes Meals from Market to Table.  Follow Linda on Twitter:  @LGassenheimer , Facebook:  Linda Gassenheimer

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WLRN Radio's Joseph Cooper says producing and hosting Topical Currents is the most rewarding experience of his long radio career, which began at the University of Missouri School of Journalism in the 1970s.
She's been heard in many pledge drives, dating back to May of 1989, when she began as a volunteer reader at the WLRN Radio Reading Service. While managing the "Clayspace" Art Gallery at the South Florida Arts Center, she came to WLRN to read for the RRS, when a dear friend became blind in his illness, and began using the service. At that time, Bonnie was a frequent newspaper reader on the main channel and each week reading her treasured New Yorker magazine for the benefit of the print-handicapped audience, among which was her friend.
Linda Gassenheimer hosts Topical Current's Food News & Views segment every Thursday from 1:30 to 2 PM. Join Linda with your questions and suggestions at 800-743-WLRN (9576) during the program.
Paul began his performance career at the ripe age of 10 when he crawled into acting classes at Boston's Suffolk University. A native of Boston, at age 15 he was the youngest person to be certified at Boston Neighborhood Network Television, where he interviewed "The Elephant Show" stars Sharon, Lois & Bram. Paul also worked at the renowned Boston Children's Museum in the Public Relations and Marketing department. In 1996, he acted in the WGBH public radio broadcast of the play " Turf," which won an achievement in radio award. He worked at Palm Beach's WXEL Public Radio and Television for 4 years from 2002-2006.