Virtual Kitchen | YMCA DC

Virtual Kitchen



Welcome to the Y’s Simple Cooking with Heart Class. Below you will find lessons where we coach you through various cooking skills, from knife skills to braising meats. This curriculum was created by the American Heart Association.

In each class, we’ll cover a culinary topic and a nutrition topic, then cook our way through 2-3 recipes. We’ll focus on decreasing salt, fat, and sugar in our cooking by developing bold flavors with herbs and spices. In each class, you will find videos of the nutrition and culinary components, the recipes, skill cards for the skills learned in class, and related recipes to practice at home. Wash those hands and let’s jump in!

Follow us on Instagram at YMCA DC Food and show us what you are cooking #YMCACommunityTable.

Class 1: Knife Skills and Quick Cook Dinner

Welcome to Class 1! We’re excited to cook with you over the next 5 weeks. This week we’ll review basic kitchen safety skills. We’ll also cover knife skills and the benefits of cooking at home. On the menu: Quick Chicken Fajitas and Pico De gallo.

Class 2: Salads: Buying, Storing, and Preparing Fruits and Vegetables

You made it to class 2! It’s great to have you back. I hope you’ve been working on those knife skills! This week, we’re going to focus on eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. We’ll make a salad that’s satisfying enough to be a main course, and we’ll be baking a crustless peach pie for dessert. Let’s get started!


Class 3: Grains: Varieties and Cooking

Welcome to week 3! Did you make any satisfying salads last week? This week we’ll be focusing on whole grains. Caroline will clarify what makes a whole grain “whole” and why that makes them so good for us. Rafael will teach you tricks to cooking grains and how to make grains shine in a main course.

Class 4: Chicken: Breakdown and Roasting a Whole Bird

Welcome to class 4! I hope you’ve put your grain knowledge to use over the last week! Today we will be discussing the nutritional information of chicken. We’ll talk about why it’s cheaper to buy a whole bird instead of cut up pieces, and we’ll show you how to roast a chicken.


Class 5: Meats, Beans, and Braising

Welcome to Class 5! You’ve made it to the end of our beginner series. Are you feeling more confident in the kitchen? Did you try roasting a whole chicken last week? This week you’ll learn about braising, both with meats and beans. You’ll also learn all about red meat from a nutrition standpoint. Get ready, it’s chili time!

Level 2, Week 1: Roasting and Root Vegetables

Thank you for joining us for Level 2 of Simple Cooking with Heart! We’ll be building on the skills we learned in the previous section while adding some delicious new recipes to your repertoire. This first week we are focusing on root vegetables, what they are, what they do for your body, and how to prepare them. Get your ovens ready and your knives sharp!


Level 2: Week Two – Fish and Shellfish

Quick and easy to prepare, fish is an absolute go-to for these hot summer evenings. This week we’re focusing on flavorful and nutritious ways to incorporate seafood in your diet. Enjoy!

Level 2: Week 3 – Beans and Legumes

Hearty, nutritious, and shelf-stable; beans are the ultimate protein powerhouse. From meat substitutes to dips and soups, beans are the epitome of versatility- learn about all the delicious possibilities this week!

If you are a community organization that would like to provide live cooking classes for your SNAP-eligible community please click here. If you are a SNAP-eligible individual and would like to take live cooking classes with the Y, please click here.


Enjoy these videos in addition to our pre-recorded classes.



Question: How can I tell if I cooking oil is hot enough to cook with?

Answer: Recipes often say to add your ingredients “when the pan is hot”. But how do you know? It’s ready when the oil starts to shimmer, or appear dimpled, when you tilt the pan.

Question: What are the benefits of processed vs raw tomatoes?