Operation Success: Sartell-St. Stephen School District & Chanhassen High School (Minnesota)

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At General Mills Foodservice, we love to hear how schools are using our products in new and innovative ways to create menus that kids will love. We’ve heard from a number of schools drawing inspiration from the new Pillsbury Ciabatta and Panini breads and want to share a few examples we hope will inspire you and help you be successful in your operations.

For Monica Hinze, assistant manager at Chanhassen High School in Chanhassen, Minnesota, the breads have served as a springboard for a variety of new menu items, from amped-up versions of classic sandwiches to a delicious dessert.

“The breads are very easy to use and help our staff bring more variety to our menu,” said Monica who loves to showcase new creations for the school’s weekly sandwich day. Each Tuesday, students can choose from a grilled cheese or a specialty sandwich that rotates week to week.

BBQ Chicken Panini with Blueberry Coleslaw

One of the student-favorite sandwiches is a Monte Cristo, using the Pillsbury Ciabatta bread and layering on deli ham, turkey, strawberry sauce and Provolone cheese before baking. Another is a Chicken Caprese sandwich that can be made with either the Ciabatta or the Panini bread for an open-faced variation. In addition to chicken, the sandwich includes pesto and tomato, topped with a balsamic drizzle.

“I try to make the dishes that I like to eat,” said Monica who is always up for the challenge of adding more fresh items and making the best use of food and ingredients on hand. “When you have a quality product like the Pillsbury breads, it is easier to create menu items that appeal to kids and also please staff.”

One such dish where the team’s resourcefulness shines is a popular dessert item—a fruit tartlet. Using canned apples or pears, they mix in some cinnamon sugar and place everything on top of the Panini bread, topped with a bit of brown sugar before warming.

Turkey Caprese Ciabatta

Another school that has been experimenting and finding success with the new breads is Sartell - St. Stephen Schools in Sartell, Minnesota, where they often have a daily sandwich option. Jayme Ericson, food and nutrition supervisor, says she and her staff have fun being more adventurous with ingredients and bolder flavors for the older students in grades 5-12.

For example, a popular sandwich this past spring included a Jalapeño Chicken Popper sandwich with diced chicken combined with cream cheese, topped with jalapeños and roasted red peppers—all folded into the Pillsbury Panini bread.

Jayme credits the Pillsbury breads for helping generate some excitement among the students.

“The breads are something the kids have not seen before,” said Jayme. “It is important to change up things and give the students variety—particularly when it comes to grain items.”