As part of the BPS Farm to School Initiative, the Department of Food & Nutrition Services’ Alexandra Emmott taught a baking class to the kindergarten and first grade students at Mission Hill K-8 in Roxbury.  Students in the class were able to see and hold a variety of locally grown squashes and learn about the Massachusetts storage crops harvested in the fall and served on the lunch line all winter long.

As part of an exercise in opening a bakery lead by teacher Kathy D’Andrea, students also got a chance to bake muffins using roasted and pureed butternut squash. The baking flexed kitchen skills, reading abilities, and basic math. And the muffins? Sweetly fragrant, tender-moist, and heartily kid approved!

Here’s the Recipe:

Homemade Butternut Squash Muffins

makes 12 muffins

  • 1 cup cooked and pureed butternut squash (can substitute another winter squash or sweet potatoes)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pepitas for topping

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners or butter & flour.

Whisk together the butternut squash, sugar, oil, and eggs.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined. 

Divide the batter between the 12 muffin cups – about 1/4 cup each.  The batter should fill the cups about 2/3 full.  Sprinkle over the pepitas and bake until puffed and set about 20-25 minutes.  Once cooked, a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins should come out clean.  Enjoy!



Fresh ingredients at the Lilla Frederick Middle School. Thanks to Jay Manoli and his entire staff for a great pot of soup!

Boston Public Schools introduced a homemade Southwest Vegetable Soup featuring locally grown butternut squash last Thursday.  The soup, menued as part of the Farm to School Initiative’s Local Lunch Thursday Program, was warmly received by students and staff alike.  One Lilla Frederick School Student declared it “the bomb.”

Lunch looks delicious at Brighton High! Thanks to Annie Yong and her staff for sending this photo.

A hearty blend of squash, black beans, green beans and corn in a spiced tomato broth, the soup is served alongside a whole grain toasted cheese sandwich with milk and fresh fruit. In case you missed it, the Southwest Vegetable Soup will be featured again on the BPS cafeteria menu Thursday March 1st.  Can’t wait until March?  Give the recipe below a whirl in your home kitchen.

BPS Southwest Vegetable Soup

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 small onion, diced                              
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup peeled and diced butternut squash
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes, fresh or canned                                                    
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 cup green beans                    
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn                                  
  • 2 cups cooked black beans (1 can rinsed and drained)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Optional Toppings:

  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Crumbled tortilla chips
  • Low-fat sour cream
  • Greek yogurt
  • Diced avocado

Heat a medium soup pot over medium heat.  Add the oil and onion and sauté 1-2 minutes until soft and aromatic.  Add the garlic, stock, tomatoes, chili powder and cumin.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the squash is tender – about 30 minutes.  Add the green beans, corn, and black beans.  Cook an additional 5 to 10 minutes just until everything is heated through.  Season with salt and pepper, top with desired toppings, and serve. 

Getting children involved in the kitchen is a great way to get them to try those veggies they just refuse to eat. Few kids will snub their noses at foods of their own creation. ChopChop provides simple, easy to read recipes and articles about food and nutrition. Here is their mission statement:

…to educate kids to cook and be nutritionally literate, empower them to actively participate as health partners with their families, and help establish and support better eating habits for a lifetime of good nutrition. ChopChop is published by ChopChopKids, Inc., a nonprofit corporation.

Check out their website and get your children into the kitchen today!