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This Recipe Will Make the Competition Green with Envy

Posted by Jessica Milteer, USDA Food and Nutrition Service in Food and Nutrition Initiatives
May 27, 2011

Cross posted from the Let's Move! blog.

Dr. Seuss wrote about green eggs and ham but McDougle Elementary School didn’t stick to the script. The Chapel Hill, North Carolina school stirred its way into the semi-finals of the Recipes for Healthy Kids Challenge by adding added nutritious brown rice. They also used chopped spinach to give the dish a vibrant green color.

Stir Fried green rice, eggs and ham
Stir Fried green rice, eggs and ham

When the First Lady and USDA launched the competition last September, they challenged teams of school nutrition professionals, chefs, students, and community members to develop creative, nutritious, and kid-approved recipes can be incorporated into School Lunch menus.

McDougle’s students are no strangers to cooking up success and have used the kitchen as classroom for some time. Each grade level has access to a "kid's kitchen" which allows students to experience math, science, social studies and language arts through cooking activities.

McDougle’s team members included nutrition professional Ryan McGuire; Chef Andrea Reusing, Lantern restaurant; community members Joe Palladino and Liz Cartano; and student Bridget P. The team made sure their Stir Fried Green Rice, Eggs, and Ham was ready for the spotlight by giving about 30 students each from four schools a chance to give the dish a thumbs up or down before it was entered into the contest.

The Judges and audience got a chance to see the McDougle team prepare the recipe on site. Attendees were also able to get lifestyle, eating and other health tips from the food service company Chartwells which sent staff to the event.

McDougle Elementary’s recipe was one of 15 that made it into the contest’s semi-finals.  The recipe is currently posted on the Recipes for Healthy Kids website with all of the other finalists so you can try the Stir Fried Green Rice, Eggs, and Ham and as many others as you like. You also have until May 31 to get your vote in for the “Popular Choice” award. Prizes for winning schools range from $1,000 to a grand prize of $3,000.  You can make your vote count by going to the Challenge site.

6 Servings

  • Spinach, blanched, drained (5 oz.)
  • 5 oz. of Egg, Whole, Raw, Fresh
  • 1 Tbsp of Water, cold
  • 1/4 Tsp of Salt
  • 1 Tbsp of Oil, Trans Fat free
  • Ham, Hormel, Nitrate free (2 oz.)
  • 3 Cups of Rice, Brown, long-grain
  • 1/3 Cups of Onions, spring or scallion
  • 1 Tsp of Oil, Sesame


1)  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spinach, quickly drain, place in an ice bath and drain again, squeezing out all excess water from the spinach.  Chop spinach very finely and set aside.

2) Whisk together eggs, water and salt until combined well.  Spray hotel pan or saute pan with pam and cook half of the egg mixture in steamer or stove top and set aside to cool.

3)  Heat a wok or tilt skillet on a medium heat until hot.  Add vegetable oil and ham.  Cook for about 2 minutes until ham begins to color.

4)  Add rice and toss to coat with oil.  Reduce heat and cook, covered and stirring frequently, until rice is hot. Add remaining egg mixture to the rice and stir frequently.

5)  Add chopped spinach, chopped and cooked egg and sesame oil and cook until 141 degrees or warmer.