Be a Food Hero

By Cindy Brown

Does your camp kitchen menu need some fresh ideas to accommodate campers’ changing dietary needs, reflect new cuisines or food trends, or include a wider variety of healthy items? You can be a “Food Hero” with new quantity-sized recipes for your camp.

Oregon State University’s (OSU) Food Hero website ( is a go-to resource for quick, tasty, healthy recipes and helpful tips. Food Hero was launched by the OSU Extension Service to encourage healthy eating among low-income Oregonians, in part by promoting home cooking as well as increased fruit and vegetable consumption.

For those cooking for a crowd, the website offers Quantity Recipes developed and approved by child nutrition specialists to meet the USDA meal pattern requirements for schools and child centers. There are currently almost 80 Quantity Recipes on the website, ranging from breakfast items to main dishes to salads to healthy desserts and snacks. Some examples include:


  • Apple Spice Baked Oatmeal
  • Breakfast Banana Split
  • Breakfast Pumpkin Cookies
  • Morning Muffins
  • Overnight Oatmeal


  • Asian Carrot Salad
  • Broccoli Raisin Salad
  • Cowboy Salad
  • Spring Green Salad
  • Wheat Berry Salad

Main Dishes

  • Baked Bean Medley
  • Chicken and Dumpling Casserole
  • Garden Sloppy Joes
  • Minestrone Soup
  • Pasta with Greens and Beans
  • Rice Bowl Southwestern Style
  • Southwestern Stuffed Potatoes
  • Turkey Pumpkin Chili


  • Parmesan Peas
  • Baked Cauliflower Tots
  • Roasted Green Beans


  • Not Your Everyday Apples
  • Cranberry Applesauce
  • Creamy Fruit Salad


  • Blueberry Bling
  • Cherry Oat Crumble
  • Peanut Butter Cereal Bars
  • Fruit Pizza
  • Carrot Cake Cookies


  • Do-It-Yourself Trail Mix
  • Banana Bobs
  • Dry Roasted Garbanzo Beans
  • Hummus

At least 30 recipes are “kid approved.” This means the recipe has been tried and approved by at least 25 kids throughout Oregon, and at least 70 percent of the kids who tried the recipe “liked” the taste. A complete listing of kid-approved recipes is available on the website. You can also read comments from readers who have tried individual recipes.


The quantity recipes are available for small groups (ranging from 12 to 32 servings, depending on the recipe) and large groups (ranging from 48 to 128 servings). The quantity recipes provide cooking time and directions; a list of ingredients by weight and measure; number of servings; servings of food as required by various government food programs; yield by weight and volume; and nutrients per serving. The cooking directions are generally given for the use of a steam table, but camp cooks will easily be able to modify the directions to use their stove top, regular oven, or convection oven to prepare the recipe.

Blueberry Bling


  • 3 cups frozen or fresh blueberries
  • 2 teaspoons margarine, softened
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Place frozen blueberries in a 9-inch pie plate. If using fresh blueberries, wash and drain before placing in a pie plate.

3. In a small bowl, use a fork to mix margarine, flour, sugar, oats and cinnamon.

4. Sprinkle oat mixture over the blueberries.

5. Bake for about 25 minutes. Enjoy while warm!

6. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Makes: 2 cups

Breakfast Banana Split


  • 1 small banana
  • 1⁄2 cup oat, corn, or granola cereal
  • 1⁄2 cup low-fat vanilla or strawberry yogurt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon honey, optional (skip for children under the age of one)
  • 1⁄2 cup canned pineapple tidbits or chunks


1. Peel and split banana lengthwise. Place half in two separate cereal bowls.

2. Sprinkle cereal over banana, reserving some for topping.

3. Spoon yogurt on top and drizzle with honey.

4. Decorate with reserved cereal and pineapple.

5. Serve immediately.

6. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Makes: 2 servings

Creamy Fruit Salad


  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1 large apple, chopped (3 ¼ inches in diameter)
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 orange, chopped
  • 3⁄4 cup low-fat piña colada yogurt


1. Put pineapple chunks in a medium mixing bowl.

2. Prepare apple, banana, and orange as directed and add to bowl.

3. Add yogurt to bowl and mix gently with a spoon until fruit is well-coated.

4. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Makes: 4 cups

Do-It-Yourself Trail Mix


  • 1 cup whole grain square-type cereal
  • 1 cup whole grain o-type cereal
  • 1 cup whole grain puff-type cereal
  • 1 cup dried fruit of your choice
  • 1 cup small pretzels
  • 1⁄2 cup nuts or seeds


1. Set out a bowl of each ingredient with a serving spoon.

2. Let each person add a spoon of each ingredient to a plastic bag or other container. Shake to mix.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Makes: 6 cups


Rice Bowl Southwestern Style


  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped vegetables (try a mixture such as bell peppers, onion, corn, tomato, and zucchini)
  • 1 cup cooked meat (chopped or shredded), beans, or tofu
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 2 Tablespoons topping: salsa, shredded cheese, or low-fat sour cream


1. In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat (350 degrees in an electric skillet). 

2. Add vegetables and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp.

3. Add cooked meat, beans, or tofu and cooked rice to skillet and heat through.

4. Divide rice mixture between two bowls. Top with salsa, cheese, or sour cream and serve warm.

5. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Makes: 2 cups

Minestrone Soup


  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1 large potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 can (15 ounces) chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each or 3 1/2 cups) low-sodium vegetable or beef broth (see notes)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, drained
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1⁄2 cup uncooked macaroni
  • 2 small zucchini, sliced
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper


1. In a 5-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion, celery, and carrot, stirring constantly until onion is soft but not browned.

2. Add potato, tomatoes, broth, beans, and basil.

3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Add macaroni and zucchini. Cook another 15 minutes.

5. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

6. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Makes: 10 cups

Cindy Brown joyfully works for the Oregon State University Sherman County Extension as a 4-H Youth Development/SNAP-Ed Educator in Moro, Ore. As camp director for the Sherman County 4-H Camp, she also uses the Food Hero recipes in many of her kids’ cooking classes and day camps, and is currently working with the staff at Sherman County School to conduct cafeteria taste tests of Food Hero Quantity Recipes that are being considered for school menus.