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Cooking with Coan

FRANKLIN LIVING—When school lets out for the summer, that means things are just heating up in Cindy Coan’s kitchen classroom at Russellville High School. As the Family and Consumer Sciences teacher at RHS, Coan takes the same culinary skills she teaches throughout the year to high school students and transforms the lessons into bite-sized cooking classes for even the youngest participants in Russellville City Schools’ PAWS Summer Program.

Th excitement is evident on the faces of aspiring chefs as they file into Coan’s kitchen and dining area at the high school. Seated at a long table in small groups, each student is assigned a specialized job for the day’s kitchen adventure, including host, supply person, cook and cook’s helper.

“It is the No. 1 thing for the summer program. It started out with just the third, fourth and fifth grade the first year we did it, and they did so well,” Coan said. “The next year West Elementary said ‘We want to come too.’”

This is Coan’s third year of offering the summer program cooking classes, and she said her young chef protégés are always so excited to get hands on in the kitchen. From stirring and spreading to sprinkling and slicing, her student cooks get the chance to create their own tasty treats, from ingredients to finished products, using child-friendly recipes Coan has perfected over time. They also learn crucial soft skills, like teamwork and time management, good manners and organization.

Coan is sharing her recipes in Taste of Franklin so young chefs-in-the-making can continue to hone their culinary skills and enjoy time in the kitchen.\

Cindy Coan’s top recipes for


Here are several tasty recipes for children chefs – and their adult helpers! Don’t forget to observe these safety tips in the kitchen: get permission from an adult before cooking; wash hands; tie up long hair; use a potholder when taking food from a hot oven or microwave; turn off the stovetop or oven when finished cooking, and remember the stovetop will remain hot even after you turn it off; and don’t forget to clean up.

French Toast


2 eggs

1/3 cup milk

8 slices of bread

Toppings: syrup, confectioners sugar and cinnamon/sugar mix


Step 1: In a pie plate or large bowl, beat the eggs and milk with a whisk or fork.

Step 2: Dip slices of bread in the egg mixture, coating both sides.

Step 3: Place the skillet on the cooktop on medium heat.

Step 4: Put two to four slices of bread into the heated skillet at a time and cook one to two minutes on each side until golden brown. Continue with additional slices of bread.

Step 5: Turn off the cook top. Serve warm with your favorite syrup or sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and/or cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Fruit Pizza


Roll of refrigerated cookie dough (or prepared sugar cookies)

Cooking spray

8 oz. cream cheese

1 container of marshmallow fluff

Fruit of your choice, washed and sliced

Hint: Soak cut apples in white grape juice to keep from turning brown


Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To preheat the oven, press the bake button on the oven, then press the up arrow until the number 350 appears.

Step 2: Spray round pizza pan with cooking spray.

Step 3: Press cookie dough onto pan to form a crust. Use all the cookie dough.

Step 4: Carefully place pizza pan in hot oven using oven mitts.

Step 5: Cook for 12-15 minutes or until edges start to brown. Carefully remove pan from the oven using oven mitts. Set on cooling rack to cool.

While cookie crust is baking, prepare the white sauce and fruit.

Step 6: Mix cream cheese and marshmallow fluff with electric mixer until well blended. You may stop the mixer and scrape the edges of the mixing bowl so all ingredients are mixed together.

Step 7: Set white sauce aside until crust is cooked and cooled.

Step 8: Wash fruit of your choice, slice if needed and set aside.

Step 9: When crust has cooled, spread white sauce onto crust.

Step 10: Top with fruit.

Step 11: Slice and serve.

Mini Beach Cups


1 large box vanilla pudding

3 cups cold milk

10-12 graham crackers

Gummy fish

Paper umbrellas


Step 1: Pour three cups of milk into a mixing bowl. Add the pudding. Beat with mixer until well blended.

Step 2: Add two drops of blue food coloring. Mix again until pudding is a blue color.

Step 3: Place pudding in the refrigerator for five minutes to set.

Step 4: While the pudding is chilling, place crackers in a gallon size zip-top bag and crush to make “sand.”

Step 5: Once pudding has chilled and set, spoon sand in the bottom of a clear cup; spoon pudding on top; and add more sand on top.

Step 6: Decorate the beach with gummy fish and a beach umbrella.

Step 7: Enjoy!

Monkey Bread Muffins


3 12 oz. cans of refrigerated biscuit dough

1 cup of white granulated sugar

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

2 sticks of butter

1 cup of brown sugar

cooking spray


Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To preheat the oven, press the bake button on the oven, then press the up arrow until the number 350 appears.

Step 2: Grease a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.

Step 3: Place cinnamon and white sugar in a gallon-sized zip-top bag.

Step 4: Open one can of biscuits. Separate the biscuits.

Step 5: Cut each biscuit into four pieces using scissors. Place the biscuit pieces into the zip-top bag and close the bag. Shake the bag to coat all the pieces with sugar and cinnamon.

Step 6: Place all the dough pieces into muffin cups.

Step 7: Continue with remaining cans of dough.

Step 8: Melt two sticks of butter in a saucepan. Add the brown sugar and bring to a boil. Cook for one minute.

Step 9: Carefully spoon the butter and sugar mixture over the muffins.

Step 10: Bake for 17 minutes or until cooked through.

Step 11: Carefully remove pan from the oven using oven mitts. Cool on wire cooling rack.

Step 12: Remove from pan and serve.

Chicken Quesadillas


8 flour tortillas

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 bag pre-cooked fajita chicken

1 cup Mexican cheese blend

Additional oil for cooking tortillas

Optional toppings: sour cream, salsa, jalapeños, avocados


Step 1: Place 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet on the cook top. Cook chicken on medium high until heated through and warm.

Step 2: Remove cooked chicken to a cutting board to cool.

Step 3: Chop cooled chicken with a knife.

Step 4: Brush the surface of the griddle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Step 5: Heat the griddle to medium heat. Place tortillas on the griddle.

Step 6: On four of the tortillas, place ½ cup of the chopped chicken and ½ cup grated cheese.  Place a tortilla on top of the chicken and cheese and tap with a spatula. Flip the quesadilla to heat the other side.

Step 7: Remove from griddle. Serve warm with chosen toppings. Turn off the griddle.

Sub Roll Pizza


1 sub roll cut in half length-wise to form two pieces

1 jar of pizza sauce

Mozzarella cheese

Toppings of your choice: pepperoni, cooked sausage, cooked ground beef, onion, green pepper, mushrooms


Step 1: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. To preheat the oven, press the bake button on the oven then press the up arrow until the number 450 appears.

Step 2: Open sub roll and place on a baking sheet.

Step 3: Open pizza sauce. Spoon sauce on the rolls and spread all over the top of the rolls.

Step 4: Open pepperoni and other toppings and place on top of sauce.

Step 5: Top with mozzarella cheese.

Step 6: Open the oven door. Carefully place pizza in the hot oven on the top rack.

Step 7: Bake pizza for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Step 8: Use a potholder to remove the pan of pizza from the oven.

Step 9: Turn off the oven.

Step 10: Place sub roll pizza on dinner plates using a spatula.