"Fueling the Teen Machine," by Ellen Shanley and Colleen Thompson (Bull, $12.95 softcover), answers the question: Is there life after french fries?
The authors, both dietitians who teach in the nutritional sciences department at the University of Connecticut, make a strong case for eating well and no, they don't ban foods during the middle school and high school years.
The women use the analogy of the right fuel powering a car toward good mileage and a long life to explain the importance of a good diet. Without preaching, and with an understanding of what teens like and want to eat, they outline the basic tenets of nutrition, then offer suggestions specific to the growth needs of teens.
The book also tackles timely subjects such as eating disorders, vegetarianism, dietary needs of athletes and food safety.
It contains recipes from students, teachers and parents culled from a statewide recipe contest. High school students Suzanne Johnston and Mike Pugliese submitted this version of a Taco Salad:
4 6- or 8-inch corn tortillas
3/4 pound lean ground beef or turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 cups shredded lettuce
1/2 cup green or red pepper, chopped
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
Wrap tortillas in foil, and warm in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes. Spray 4 10-ounce oven-safe custard cups with nonstick cooking spray. Carefully press 1 tortilla into each cup. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until crisp. Cool, and remove from custard cups.
In a large skillet, cook meat, onion and garlic until meat is no longer pink and onion is tender. Drain fat, and stir in tomato sauce, vinegar, cumin and crushed red pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Put each tortilla on a plate. Add lettuce, peppers and tomatoes. Top with beef mixture and cheese.
Makes 4 servings.