Cooking at the Frigidaire Kids’ Good-for-You Cooking Academy event

Jennifer Garner Chef Mary Sue Millken Last week my kids, Nathan and Lucie, and I flew out to Los Angeles to join several other bloggers and their families courtesy of Frigidaire. The kids were invited to cook alongside Jennifer Garner and Chef Mary Sue Millken. The event was a filmed at the world famous Smashbox Studios for the Make Time for Change - Frigidaire Kids’ Good for You Cooking Academy campaign Frigidaire is doing to raise money for Save the Children.

The Frigidaire Kids’ Good for You Cooking Academy just launched this month. It’s an online school that features daily tips, fun recipes and how-to videos hosted by Chef Mary Sue. When parents join the Kids’ Cooking Academy, Frigidaire donates $1 to Save the Children to help make sure that more children have access to healthy foods.

Cooking up a storm with Jennifer and Chef Mary Sue

The kids had a great time, though Lucie got a little bit frustrated that she couldn’t quite keep up with Chef Mary Sue. (Both did a great job!) They were excited to meet Jennifer Garner who engaged both kids by asking them questions. She couldn't have been nicer and more down to earth - even in her 4 inch high purple heels!

My kids are used to cooking with their dad, who has no qualms about handing them a knife. (I won’t go into the time he nearly chopped Lucie’s finger off, ahem.) I don’t have a tenth of the patience that he does and prefer that everyone stays out of the kitchen when I cook. Even so, I’m comfortable with having my kids get their own breakfast or snacks and let them use the the microwave and toaster. We even let Nathan, who is nearly 11, make us eggs on weekend mornings while my husband and I enjoy a dip in the hot tub.

One of the more enticing recipes the kids made was the Mexican Chopped Salad, which featured green garbanzo beans. I was really proud when Lucie started garnishing her salad (below) with red peppers to make it more attractive. Before long, I’ll have to hire her to be my food stylist!

Even with my food sensitivities to corn and honey, I gave it a taste and it was delicious. Even the kids thought so, and they’re not big salad fans. I also liked the Cauliflower “Popcorn” that was served to us at lunch by Chef Mary Sue’s Border Grill staff. This would be an easy dish for me to substitute Galaxy Nutritional Food’s Vegan Grated Topping for the parmesan cheese.

Mexican Chopped Salad

Mexican Chopped Salad

Cumin vinaigrette ingredients:

  • Nathan and Jennifer Garner1 tablespoons cumin seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey, warm
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Oven-Roasted Pepitas ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, to taste
  • A pinch of cayenne, to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup raw pepitas (hulled green pumpkin seeds), unsalted

Salad ingredients:

  • Lucie and Nathan1 head romaine lettuce, cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 1/2 cups diced leftover grilled chicken or turkey (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups canned garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large or 2 medium apples, peeled and diced (Granny Smith, Pink Lady, or Honeycrisp)
  • 1 cup corn kernels (from grilled corn on the cob, or canned or frozen corn sautéed in olive oil)
  • 1 poblano chile, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced*
  • 1 California avocado, halved, seeded, peeled, and diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup crushed corn tortilla chips

Cumin vinaigrette directions:

  1. Toast the cumin seeds in a small, dry frying pan over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, shaking frequently.
  2. Transfer to a blender along with other vinaigrette ingredients. Puree until smooth.
  3. Chill until ready to serve.

Pepitas directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine lime juice, cayenne, salt, and pepper and stir until dissolved.
  3. Add pepitas, toss thoroughly, and transfer to a baking sheet.
  4. Bake until golden, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  5. Lucie Remove from oven and cool on the pan. Serve at room temperature.

Salad directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients.
  2. Add Cumin Vinaigrette to taste. Toss until well-coated.
  3. Sprinkle with pepitas and serve immediately.

* Fresh chiles can be roasted over a gas flame or under the broiler. Keep turning so skin is evenly charred, without burning the flesh. Transfer charred chiles to a closed plastic bag and steam 10 to 15 minutes. Pull off charred skin by hand and dip briefly in water to remove blackened bits. Once peeled, cut away stems, seeds, and veins.

Copyright © 2011, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger,

Cauliflower “Popcorn”


  • The kids and Jennifer Garner1 head cauliflower
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut the cauliflower into small florets, about the size of cherry tomatoes. In a bowl, toss florets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in oven until the bottoms of florets touching the pan are golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove from oven and transfer to a large bowl. Sprinkle on parmesan cheese and toss thoroughly. Serve immediately in paper cones like popcorn.

Copyright © 2011, Mary Sue Milliken,

Disclosure: My family’s participation in Frigidaire’s Kids’ Kids Good-for-You Academy was sponsored by Frigidaire who provided us with travel, food and lodging. The kids were also given their chef whites, a kids cookbook, and a kids cooking set to thank them for participating in the event. I received a cookbook.

8 thoughts on “Cooking at the Frigidaire Kids’ Good-for-You Cooking Academy event

  1. Pingback: Eating fresh this summer with Jennifer Garner, Frigidaire and Gowalla #eatfresh | This Mama Cooks! On a Diet™

  2. Pingback: Batter up with Jennifer Garner and Frigidaire for Save the Children | This Mama Cooks! On a Diet™

  3. Shelby

    How lucky that Lucie and Nathan got an opportunity to cook alongside Jennifer Garner and Chef Mary Sue. Here’s hoping your recent trip will inspire the whole family to get in the kitchen. Involving kids in the kitchen is a great way to have fun with them while teaching them valuable skills at the same time.

    1. annemarie Post author

      Jennifer told us that she does NOT wear those kind of shoes at home. Too hard to chase after the kids in high high heels!

  4. EatPlayLove

    What a great event! While I’m thinking Jennifer looks gorgeous smiling away with the kids, I would’ve been star struck by being in Mary Sue’s presence!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *