Contestants enjoy healthy-cooking class

March 13, 2019
1 of 3
Registered dietitians and nutritionists Lindsay Fraser and Kitty Finklea prepared both healthy recipes in front of the contestants to demonstrate how quickly and easily they could be made.

FLORENCE, S.C. — The Conference Room at the McLeod Health and Fitness Center was filled with delicious smells on Tuesday night as part of a live cooking demonstration for the United Way of Florence County’s 2019 Florence’s Biggest Loser program.

The demonstration was led by registered dietitians and nutritionists Kitty Finklea and Lindsay Fraser; who prepared two healthy recipes for the attending contestants to sample.

“When you cook for yourself, you are much more connected to what you are making,” said Fraser. “Your food is getting a personalized approach because you control and know exactly what you are putting into it. When you go out to eat and order something like pork, you don’t know what cut you get, how it was prepared, what seasonings they are using, or how much salt they already added.”

Fraser started the cooking demonstration by preparing her Taste of Texas Skillet recipe. Finklea then prepared her healthy Chinese rice and veggies dish that used tofu instead of chicken to give the contestants a sample of a vegetarian meal option. Both recipes can be found below.

“I think Lindsay and I picked our recipes because they are not only easy to cook and cook fairly quickly, but they are also very adaptable,” said Finklea. “For both of these you can sub out the main meat for other options like tofu or turkey and use whatever vegetables you’d like. We also both picked these because they have such a high quantity of vegetables. When you can, try to increase the quantity of vegetables you have on your plate versus the amount of meat.”

This is the last nutrition event for the 2019 competition. This year’s competition will conclude on March 28 with a finale party sponsored by Pepsi of Florence, Pee Dee Food Services and the Senior Citizens Association in Florence County.

Recipe #1: Taste of Texas Skillet

This is a great quick and easy weekday recipe that can easily be reheated for leftovers. Serve it over a bed of fresh greens for added veggies.

Serves: 4 Serving size: 1¼ cup


1-1.5 pound(s) lean ground beef (93/7)

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

2 medium bell peppers, diced

1 large onion, diced

1.5 cup frozen corn

1- 15.5 ounce can no salt added black beans, drained and rinsed

1- 14.5 ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes

1 Tbsp chili power *

1 tsp cumin*

1 tsp paprika*

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup cooked brown rice

*Add more or less to your taste preference


In a non-stick large skillet, add garlic, onion, peppers. Begin sautéing over medium heat for 3 minutes, and then add ground beef. Sprinkle with chili powder, cumin, and paprika seasonings. Brown the ground beef, then drain the excess fat from the mixture (noted: there will be some water draining from the veggies). Then, add frozen corn, rinsed black beans, and can of diced tomatoes. Cook over medium heat until heated through. Once the corn is no longer frozen, add rice, and stir together until thoroughly heated and mixed together. Serve over a bed of fresh greens, and sprinkle with cheese, a Tbsp. of low-fat sour cream and a side of guacamole, if desired.

Recipe #2: Chinese Veggies & Rice

Serves: 4 Serving size: 1½ cup


1 cup brown rice

½ pound broccoli

2 medium celery stalks

1 medium carrot

1 small jalapeno or other chili pepper

1 clove garlic

6 ounces of boneless chicken pieces or firm tofu

¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce

1 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp cornstarch

2 Tbsp canola oil

½ tsp ground ginger


Cook rice following package directions. Set aside. Cover to keep warm. While rice is cooking, make veggie mixture. Rinse and chop broccoli and celery. Peel, rinse, and chop carrots. Rinse and mince jalapeno. Peel and finely chop garlic. If using chicken, remove any skin. Cut chicken into small pieces. In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, and cornstarch. Add 1 teaspoon of minced jalapeno. Stir. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add ground ginger and stir. Add chicken or tofu. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly browned and starting to cook through, or about 2 minutes. Add chopped veggies. Stir frequently. Cook until veggies are tender and chicken is completely cooked but not dry, about 5-7 minutes. Add soy sauce mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Serve over, warm brown rice.


>> Use any veggies you like. Be sure to cut all veggies into equal-size pieces so they cook evenly. Add denser veggies, like broccoli, celery, and root veggies, to the skillet first. Add veggies with a high water content, like squash or spinach, last.

>> Cook more rice than you need for this recipe. Use it in another recipe later in the week or flavor with herbs and cheese and use to fill veggie burritos.

>> Use fresh ginger instead of ground. Peel and finely chop a 1-inch piece of fresh ginger. Add 2 teaspoons to the soy sauce mixture and stir.