Dawn Nickerson-Banez, local bakery owner and honorary commander, measures egg mixture for quiche in a mug Jan. 21, 2015, during a microwave cooking class for service members assigned to Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations, Dover Air Force Base, Del. The class demonstrated the healthy cooking options while living in a dorm or lodging environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. John E. Ayre) (Photo by Staff Sgt. John E. Ayre)
Senior Airman Chanelle Lamb holds a quiche prepared in the microwave during a microwave cooking class hosted by Dawn Nickerson-Banez, local bakery owner and honorary commander, for service members assigned to Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Jan. 21, 2015. The class, focused on eating healthy while living in a dorm or lodging environment was part of a monthly nutritional fitness class offered here as part of the resiliency program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. John E. Ayre) (Photo by Staff Sgt. John E. Ayre)
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. —
More than a dozen Airmen and civilians assigned to the mortuary, most with only a microwave for cooking meals, learned how to prepare food during the nutritional fitness lunch here Jan. 21.
The lunch, hosted monthly with an emphasis on healthy eating, is part of the Air Force Mortuary Affairs resiliency program.
Former Hospital Corpsman Dawne Nickerson-Banez, now the owner of Frankfurt Bakery, in Dover, Delaware, hosted the microwave-themed cooking class.
Nickerson-Banez founded the base's Dorm to Gourm program, a cooking class for Airmen in the dorms offered twice a month in the Health and Wellness Center kitchen located in the fitness center. She discovered the unused kitchen during a tour while serving as an honorary commander. Her work with the Dorm to Gourm inspired Gail Reed-Attoh, AFMAO resiliency coordinator, to invite her to the mortuary for the healthy eating class primarily for the deployers who are limited to a microwave in their lodging rooms.
Nickerson-Banez stressed keeping a balance and using fresh ingredients.
"Do it once for the whole week and then you can reach in the fridge and have fresh all week," she said, as she chopped green onions and bell peppers for the first microwave recipe.
She taught the audience how to make Quiche in a mug as well as eggs in bell peppers.
"The pepper is going to become our vessel," she said.
Whisking the eggs incorporates air and makes the eggs more fluffy, Nickerson-Banez explained as she started the eggs. Two minutes of prep, one minute to cook, she said.
One of the tips she offered is to make sure all the items being cooked are the same size and uniform so they take the same amount of time to cook since microwave cooking using induction.
Nickerson-Banez continued with more recipes you can make in a coffee mug including meat loaf, macaroni and cheese and finally chocolate cake.
"The coffee mug can go a long way," she said.
Other recipes featured were yogurt, fresh fruit and granola layered in mason jars which could be prepared at the beginning of the week and used all week for breakfast or snacks.
She sliced potatoes and sprinkled some dry ranch mix and tossed with light oil which can also be cooked in the microwave for a healthier alternative to chips.
Finally Nickerson-Banez steamed asparagus, carrots and broccoli using chicken broth as a base to compliment salmon she also cooked in the microwave.
"Everyone enjoyed the class," said Reed-Attoh. "It was interactive - she demonstrated and called other folks up to participate."
Nickerson-Banez definitely made an impression. Deployers were making stuffed peppers in the microwave the next day.
"We love Dover and the mission here," said Nickerson-Banez. "We'll do whatever we can to support that."
The next Dorm to Gourm class will teach how to make personal pan pizzas and is scheduled for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 3 at the HAWC.