Published On: Tue, Mar 31st, 2020

Kids Learn While Cooking & Needy Family Will Eat, Too

Space of Mind Schoolhouse and Community Classroom Project’s Chef Blake Malatesta to Provide Families with One-For-One Healthy Meal Boxes
Each box sold will ensure a box goes to a family in need

Delray Beach, FL – Space of Mind Schoolhouse and its nonprofit 501(c)3 initiative, Community Classroom Project, along with its Chef, Blake Malatesta, are preparing fresh ingredient dinner boxes and school lunches to encourage family meal prep, learning and life skill development through culinary arts and healthy eating.  For each meal box purchased, one will be donated to a local family in need.

Each meal box, with prices ranging from $24 to $45 for a family of two or four, includes a set of ingredients for a healthy family dinner and dessert , a recipe to follow and a link to watch Chef Malatesta demonstrating each step for families to learn some culinary tricks while preparing their meals together. The school lunch boxes are $10 and include an interactive cooking demo with educational information, including the science, math and cultural influences behind each recipe.

The program test launched on March 21 and 60 meals were distributed, with 30 being purchased by Space of Mind Schoolhouse families, and 30 donated to families served by Delray Beach non-profits, WiseTribe and the EJS Project.

The meals must be ordered online at Space of Mind Schoolhouse and can be picked up at the Space of Mind Schoolhouse at 102 North Swinton in Delray Beach.

“As we all struggle with our new – and hopefully temporary – normal, we want to encourage family engagement and the development of new rituals and skills in our homes,” said Ali Kaufman, founder and CEO of Space of Mind and Community Classroom Project.  “We also believe that EVERY family right now should have access to meals and resources that will reinforce togetherness, reduce hunger and reinstate sanity at this crazy time.”

The mealbox menu will be changed each week.  The first meal box contained the ingredients for Mediterranean Spiced Chicken Pita with Warm Orzo Salad, with the recipe below.   
Mediterranean Spiced Chicken Pita with Orzo
Ingredients
1 ½ l.. Chopped Chicken Breast
4 ea. Pitas
8 oz. Orzo
1 ea. Lemon
1 ea. Yellow Onion
½ ea. English (European) Cucumber
½ cup Tzatziki (Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce)
1 oz. Sweet n’ Spicy Pickled Pepper
3 oz. Feta Cheese
4 oz. Red Wine Vinaigrette
1 tsp. Whole Dried Oregano
1 tbl. Mediterranean Seasoning
2 oz Flat Leaf Parsley
4 oz Arugula
At Home Ingredients
4 tbl. Olive oil (divided)
2 ¼ cup   Water
To taste   Kosher Salt (for chicken & pasta water)
To taste   Fresh Ground Black Pepper (for chicken & pasta water)

Prepare To Cook
When you receive your meal, remove all items and organize on your work surface. If not cooking immediately, place perishable items in the refrigerator (chicken breasts, feta cheese, cucumber, red wine vinaigrette, arugula, flat leaf parsley, tzatziki sauce, and pickled peppers). All other ingredients can be left out in dark dry storage till ready to cook.

When ready to cook, get your ingredients Mise en Place (French for things in place) –organized on your work surface. Grab all kitchen tools and get ready to cook. BEFORE STARTING read through each step carefully to have game plan of how you will be cooking.

Step 1. Prepping Onion, Cooking Chicken
If you prefer to use an oven to warm the pitas instead of a microwave, preheat the oven to 375°F. Halve, peel, and thinly slice the onion. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper. In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned chicken and sliced onion in an even layer; season with salt, pepper, and the Mediterranean seasoning. Cook, without stirring, 3 to 4 minutes, or until browned. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes or until the onion is softened and the chicken is cooked through. Turn off the heat.

Step 2. Finishing Cooking Chicken, Start Cooking Orzo
While the chicken and onion cook, in a medium pot add 2 ¼ cup of water with salt and pepper. Heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, stir water to create current then carefully add orzo and 1 tablespoon of olive oil, continue to stir for additional 1 minute. Cook orzo till slightly al dente. When cooked to personal doneness, turn off heat, pour out into colander to remove excess water. Place pot back on stove top away from burner (you will use it to mix orzo, wipe inside of pot with paper towels to remove excess water when cooled slightly. Let orzo drain for 2-3 minutes (removing as much liquid as possible. Transfer orzo back to pot.

Step 3. Finishing Orzo, Cutting Cucumber, Warming Pita
While the orzo cooks, wash and dry the cucumber; halve lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise. If using the microwave, wrap the pitas in a damp paper towel and microwave on high 1 minute, or until heated through and pliable. If using the oven, wrap the pitas in aluminum foil and place directly onto an oven rack; warm 7 to 9 minutes, or until heated through and pliable. Transfer the warmed pitas to a work surface and carefully unwrap.

Step 4.  Ready to serve
To the pot of cooked orzo, add the sliced cucumbers, red wine vinaigrette, oregano, feta cheese (crumbling before adding), and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Taste, then season with salt and pepper if desired. Fill the warmed pitas with the tzatziki, cooked chicken and onion, and pickled peppers, arugula, and finish building with slight squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Serve the finished pitas with the warm orzo salad on the side. Enjoy!

About Space of Mind
Space of Mind (SOM), a modern schoolhouse, is based in Delray Beach, FL, and has been redefining education through social homeschooling for students, families and communities since 2004.  Designed for students in grades 1 to 12, as well as post-high school graduates, SOM is a boutique educational experience for our global and social world. Programs focus on individualized home education curriculum, extra-curricular enrichment and college admissions, as well as private and group coaching, classes, workshops and travel.  Our flexible and personalized online and on-campus environments foster academic, social, emotional, life skill and creative development for all kinds of learners at every age. Space of Mind graduates have a 100% college acceptance rate with almost 40 graduates attending top schools nationally.  SOM employs 20 full-time coaches and multiple part-time contractors with specialties in all disciplines and is actively hiring. www.myspaceofmind.co
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Space of Mind is located at 102 North Swinton in Delray Beach, Florida.  For more information, please visit findspaceofmind.com or call 877-407-1122.

About The Community Classroom Project
The Community Classroom Project (CCP) is an innovative new nonprofit organization whose mission is rethinking current approaches in education and reducing school-related stress by bridging the gap between students, parents, educators, schools, and the community. Located in downtown Delray Beach on the campus of Space of Mind, the CCP is dedicated to increasing lifelong learning engagement and fostering all members of our community to think differently, together. More at www.ccpdelray.org.

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