What’s Cooking at the St. John/LUM Food Pantry


Submitted by Lynn Johal

It’s 10:00 a.m. on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, and two dozen or so clients gather at the St. John/LUM Food Pantry in downtown Lafayette in anticipation of this month’s recipe demonstration also known as Fishes & Loaves Cooking Class. There’s plenty of chatting as Kathy Murray, nutrition specialist from Purdue Extension, prepares to whip up a delicious meal for the cooking “students” in attendance. Each month Kathy create a meal based on food items currently available at the pantry. This month’s recipes are a salmon & spinach casserole (recipe below) plus a pasta & squash salad with orange dressing.

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The cooking and nutrition class was piloted over a year ago to assist clients in making healthy food choices on a limited budget. Kathy focuses on simple, tasty, nutritious recipes that are fun with which to work. She says, “Quick recipes create more time for enjoying our foods and life. Using foods available (at the pantry) can provide more resources for foods we need to purchase.” The class is composed of people of all ages and over 1/3 are men hoping to learn more about cooking.

Jim, a pantry client, is a single man who used to eat out frequently.  He says he’s learned a lot from the class, “I now enjoy cooking, am eating much healthier and it’s economical too.” Joyce and her husband say they’ve benefited because the recipes encourage them to experiment with new types of food. Rex, a client and long time pantry volunteer, encourages residents of Fowler House to attend. Madonna was raised as one of ten children and knows how to stretch food. She says, “I come to the classes not only to get recipes for myself but to also share them with my friends.” Another participant expressed, “the group has become like a family”; an unforeseen impact of the program is community building.

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Kathy Murray, nutrition specialist, Purdue Extension

Kathy Murray explains her dedication to the class, “In all my years of teaching, I have never worked with an audience who appreciates what you bring to them as much as this audience. The St. John’s/LUM Food Pantry staff is also a pleasure to work with.”

Participants agree they look forward to the monthly prize drawing. Each month from July 2013 – July 2014, an anonymous donor graciously provided a crock pot stuffed with food and a cookbook. The donation was is in memory of her mother who was a pantry donor and loved crock pot cooking.  What a wonderful way to honor a loved one!  We are presently looking for donors to provide future items; if interested call Lynn Johal (765-543-5238).

Everyone’s welcome to join us as we explore cooking preparation techniques for many types of foods. The class meets the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 10:00 a.m. at the St. John’s/LUM Food Pantry.



Salmon & Spinach Casserole


2 cups – uncooked pasta
4 cups – water
¼ cup onion (chopped)
¼ cup – green pepper (chopped)
¼ tsp – salt
¼ tsp – pepper
1 can – spinach (drained)
1 can – salmon (drained)
1 can – tomato soup
1 can – water
2 slices – bread (cubed)
2 Tbl – melted butter


Preheat oven to 350˚F. Bring water to boil & add pasta, return to boil & cook three minutes. Grease casserole dish. Drain spinach & salmon making sure you crush any bones. Mix all ingredients except bread and butter. Pour into casserole dish.  Melt butter & pour over bread cubes. Toss until evenly coated & spread on top of casserole. Bake for approximately one hour or until bubbly & brown.



For more information on the St. John’s/LUM Food Pantry, click HERE.



To learn more about the St. John’s/LUM Food Pantry, Read this LUM post, click HERE.



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Filed under Lafayette Urban Ministry, LUM, St. John's/LUM Food Pantry

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