Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
Friday, August 19, 2011
This final Back to School food post is all about those ever elusive snack ideas. Our kids are asked to bring a snack in addition to their lunch each day, not to mention they're always hungry right after school. We'll see if I can occasionally provide something a little more homemade for the sake of nutrition and these might just be some good options:
At School Snacks...
Homemade Granola Bars: We are granola bar fans in our house and for as much as we eat and buy them, I'm sorry to say I've never tried my hand at actually making them. Well this is the year! Chewy Granola Bars & Coconut Granola Bars are 2 options I plan to try.
Ham and Cheese Roll-Ups: As I've already mentioned numerous times, the kids aren't big sandwich fans. But if you take the bread out of the equation they've always really liked these. Although they are a good stand-in for lunch, I think they're an equally easy snack to pack along with lunch. Use your favorite thin-sliced lunch meat and favorite hard cheese (colby-jack, monterey jack, cheddar). Slice cheese into 3 inch or so long "sticks" and wrap lunch meat around each stick.
Sour Cream Fruit Dip: Fruit is an easy no-fuss at school snack and it's made all the better by sending along a little container of this dip. Cherries, strawberries, and sliced apples would all be good options for the fruit.
Jam Pockets, Etc.: I like that these are self-contained equaling low mess and that there are different flavor combos suggested both sweet and savory depending on your mood and kids likes.
Peanut Butter Power Balls: These are interesting and definitely something the kids could help make.
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup non-fat dry milk powder or soy protein powder
1/2 cup raisins or mini-chocolate chips
1/4 cup honey
Graham cracker crumbs
Mix all ingredients expect the graham cracker crumbs in a large bowl. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls. Roll in crumbs and refrigerate (or freeze; they will thaw by snack time)
After School Snacks...
Since we all know we're just about to make and eat dinner, an after school snack should be quick to make with minimal help from Mom and not a meal in and of itself. I think these might fit the bill.
Creamy Cheese Cinnamon Toast: These could easily be a great breakfast option too and I like that they take the idea of cinnamon toast a bit further with the addition of cream cheese.
Chocolate Banana Quesadillas: Umm, yes please! and use nutella instead of chocolate chips and you've got snack-time bliss, mom included!
Mini Tortilla Cheese Pizzas: Although I've already admitted my kids aren't pizza fans, they are mexican food fans so we'll see how these go over. And what a great at home lunch option for days off school or weekends.
And 3 drink/smoothie options:
The Purple Cow: My memories of this drink are vivid! When I was little (1st grade, kindergarten, and younger) I went to a lovely daycare and this drink was occasionally served during snack time and I kid you not it's the only thing I remember about the food there. It must have made quite an impression if I'm still remembering it over 25 years later! I will most definitely be making this for my kids and if we're feeling extra naughty we might just throw some vanilla ice cream in there!
Cherry Chocolate Smoothies:
Combine 1 cup low-fat milk, 1/2 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt, 1/2 cup frozen or fresh pitted cherries, and 2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips in a blender or food processor and mix until smooth.
And just a few extra no-explanation needed ideas that are possibly a bit out of the ordinary:
Mini muffins, mini bagels with cream cheese, chips and salsa, 100 calorie microwave popcorn, hard-boiled egg, carrot sticks & hummus, sugar snap peas & ranch
Thursday, August 18, 2011
And now for school lunches. We can definitely use some help in that department. My children have some different tastes than most, they are not very excited about most kid foods aside from chicken nuggets and fries. Pizza doesn't float their boat, neither does mac and cheese, pb&j, sandwiches in general--in other words pretty much every easy child lunch out there. Don't get me wrong though, I'm glad they like the things they do because it's what I like it's just that it doesn't translate into easy brown bag lunch making or picnicking either for that matter.
Not only do I want lunches to be relatively simple in concept, they need to be easy prep too. Our kids will be making their lunches the night before as part of the homework routine, so it needs to be something they can put together on their own for the most part. That said, I think it will be fun to try our hands at some recipes for the sake of learning some age appropriate cooking skills. Here's a list of things I hope to try making together with my kids:
Stuffed Pita Pockets:Not very original, but may be just what my kids need to jump start regular sandwich eating. Neither school age child has ever been a big sandwich eater, which let me tell you can put a real wrench in lunch options, particularly brown bag lunch options. But maybe if we try some meat, cheese, veggies in a pita with ranch or some other sauce in separate container for dipping or pouring on just prior to eating we'll have success.
Sandwich on a Stick: I could not love this idea more! There again, it's an atypical sandwich option and I don't know any kid who doesn't love eating things off of sticks. Plus, what a fun thing to prepare thus encouraging children to help in their lunch making process and it can obviously and easily be personalized.
PB&J Blossoms: These are just too cute! My kids are not enticed by peanut butter and jelly but just might be if they're in a fun shape and especially if they helped me make them. We shall see!
Ham and Cheese Empanadas: At first glance I sort of balked at these, but only because I thought they look ridiculously time intensive for a kids school lunch. Upon closer inspection though I saw that they actually look pretty simple and relatively quick. Add to that the fact that they're kid-helper friendly and I think they'll be worth a try. And really the options for fillings are endless, the concept lends itself to all kinds of combos. Will let you know how they turn out.
Taco Roll-Ups: Oh boy do we have some mexican food fans in our house! So naturally these ought to be right up their alley. I can imagine cooking up a batch of the meat and beans and freezing what we don't use right away for easy assembly later on.
Best Tuna Salad: An easy variation on the old standby to hopefully mix up the sandwich rotation a bit as needed.
Pinwheel Bites: Who doesn't love pretty, bite size food? Who cares that it's nothing new, just seen in a new way and that might just be enough to make all the difference. Take virtually any sandwich combo you can think of and put on bread that you've rolled out a bit and then roll it all together and slice into pinwheels, definitely fun lunch material. Substitute tortillas for bread and you've got an even more unusually fun option. I'll be giving herbed cream cheese with sliced ham on a tortilla a try. So tricky!
Homemade Lunchables: Another genius idea for sure. My kids love lunchables, which not surprisingly I'm unwilling to provide them on any regular basis, but making our own? You betcha! There's no recipe or link to share for this because it's a pretty basic concept. We're thinking a small divided container (ziploc brand or something comparable), ritz crackers or something similiar, sliced cheese any thickness or shape you want, thicker sliced meat-ham steaks anyone?, all divided out just like lunchables and maybe some sort of fruit (cups or applesauce or fresh), and for fun a miniature candy bar because we all know the dessert is what makes the kids interested in those store bought special in the first place.
Bento Boxes: Love this idea! Although several of the items shown at this link are a bit out there as far as my kids tastes go, the idea is definitely usable. Heck, I want to eat all the boxes shown here! Our favorites are the Mexican Bento (cheese quesadillas? Who'da thought?!), Americanized Bento (liking the turkey bologna sandwich filling and boiled egg addition), All-American Bento (egg salad never looked so good!), and the Mediterranean Bento (pita and hummus, so appetizing and kids love dipping so it may just work). Mainly I just think opening a container with any number of those options diplayed in such a fun appetizing way is sure to be a hit!
Another link: Our Best Bites has a little post on kids lunches in their archive for even more ideas, some of which I've covered a version of already but check it out!
That's all I got and I think it's great start for us. Here's to hoping that we have happy school lunch-making and eating kids this year!
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Monday, August 8, 2011
Friday, August 5, 2011
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
6 tablespoons honey
5 tablespoons lime juice (1 large lime)
1 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound chicken, cooked and shredded (I do mine in the crock pot so that shredding is actually an option-2-3 chicken breasts, chicken broth, dash each of cumin, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder-high for 3-4 hours if chicken's frozen, 2-3 if defrosted=works like a charm! )
Several corn tortillas
1/2 cup frying oil, veggie works fine
1 pound monterey jack cheese, shredded
16 ounces green enchilada sauce
1 cup heavy cream
Mix the first four ingredients and toss with shredded chicken. Let it marinate for at least 1/2 hour. Pour about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9X13 baking pan. Fill tortillas with chicken and shredded cheese (save about a cup for sprinkling later) and tightly roll. If using corn tortillas, heat tortillas for 45 seconds to a minute in the mircrowave before assembling. This helps the tortillas be more pliable and less likely to crack and fall apart. Heat oil in skillet over med-high heat. Add assembled enchiladas seam side down to hot oil. Press firmly with spatula. When lightly golden turn over and repeat. Place crispy enchiladas in sauce covered dish. Mix the remaining enchilada sauce with the cream and leftover marinade-if you have any. Pour sauce on top of the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until brown and crispy on top.