Philly cheesesteak earns a price break
When feeding the 50,000 students in the Detroit Public Schools, District Chef Kevin Frank not only has to stay within a budget of $1.37 per pupil per day, he’s committed to doing so while eliminating “seven ingredients of concern,” part of an initiative through LifeTime Fitness’ Life Time Foundation to better school nutrition. “This is very difficult to do without scratch cooking, and we’re strictly a heat-and-serve district,” says Frank. To “clean” up the school menu’s cheesesteak, he replaced the sandwich’s cooked meat product with one that’s more healthful, versatile and saves seven cents per serving.
- Frank found a local supplier who produces a precooked beef filling that’s typically used in a meat pie. “It’s more like ground-beef crumbles than the shredded beef I was using before,” he says. Plus it has no artificial coloring, one of the ingredients he aims to avoid.
- Previously, kitchen staff would thaw and heat frozen peppers and onions separately. The new product includes the vegetables in the crumbled-beef mixture. Each cheesesteak sandwich gets 2 ounces of beef and an ounce of mozzarella cheese for a total of 3 ounces of protein.
- Although Frank initially planned to use 3 ounces of meat per sandwich, “it was too pricey per serving,” he says. But he now gets more bang for his buck, as he cross-utilizes the meat filling in pasta sauce, shepherd’s pie and tacos.