Party Snacks for Kids

May 22nd, 2017

Ice Cream Cone Fruit Sundaes

My “young chefs” class ended last week with an amazing party! I wanted easy party food that the kids could make entirely by themselves. I mentioned to my daughter that I wanted ideas like “ants on a log”, celery filled with cream cheese and topped with a row of raisins. Being a savvy and incredibly smart teenager, she immediately directed me to Pinterest. I was amazed by the magnitude of creativity and passion from so many different people. Beautiful photos, great ideas, and inspiring possibilities. I really just scrolled though the photos jotting down ideas as I went. Here’s what we made:Apple Doughnut Slices, Ice Cream Cone Fruit Sundaes and Trail Mix.

Apple Doughnut Slices: Cut round apple slices about ¼ inch thick. Cut the apple so the core is in the center of each apple slice. Using a small cookie cutter, cut out the center core. You should have a round, doughnut shaped apple. You might need to blot the apples dry in order for the spread to stick.  In a small bowl whisk together whipped cream cheese, a tablespoon or two of milk and 2 tablespoons of honey. If you want add a drop of food coloring. Spread the whipped cream mixture on the apple and top with colored sprinkles.

Apple Doughnut Slices

Ice Cream Cone Fruit Sundaes: Super easy and very cute these are perfect for a kids party or afternoon play date. Basically, cut up your favorite fruits and put them into an ice cream cone. You can even top with whipped cream or a drizzle of chocolate.

Ice Cream Cone Fruit Sundaes

Trail Mix: The great thing about trail mix is that you can customize it with your favorite treats. Also, if you’re lucky, you can add in a few new things for your kids to try. Here’s what we included at school (remember we are nut and seed free at school, but if your family is allergy free, please try adding things like pecan pieces, dried coconut, dried fruit pieces, sunflower seeds, etc.):

Cheerios
Kix cereal
Yogurt raisins
Dried cranberries
Chocolate chips
Mini pretzels

Trail Mix

 


Baked Cornflake Chicken Nuggets with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

March 14th, 2017

Baked Cornflake Chicken Nuggets

Some days I sit down to write a post and I’m filled with thoughts, a rapid moving, overflowing inner dialogue just bursting to come out. I can barely type fast enough to keep up with the steady stream of personal commentary. Today my mind is quiet (I guess I shouldn’t complain). My kids are doing their homework independently (aliens must have replaced my actual children with look-alike clones), dinner is made and sitting on the counter, and the house is more or less clean. What now?

I was talking to a friend the other day about the hustle and bustle of our respective households. We both agreed that while raising children can be exhausting and overwhelming and frustrating, there is nothing more wonderful than a house filled with laughter and noise and chaos. At realizing how much we actually enjoyed the tumult, my friend threw her head back, laughed out loud and said “beautiful chaos”. What a great way to sum it up.

I think I will keep this short and sweet, take advantage of the momentary quiet, and maybe enjoy a cup of tea….

Here’s an easy recipe for Baked Cornflake Chicken Nuggets….they’ll keep all the “aliens” happy (and maybe even quiet for a few precious minutes)!

INGREDIENTS

Chicken Nuggets:
3 boneless, skinless, chicken cutlets cut into 1” cubes
1-cup flour
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups ground cornflakes (I buy a box of cereal and pulse it in the food processor until I have mostly fine crumbs)
1-2-teaspoons poultry seasoning (MSG free. I like Trader Joe’s 21 Blend Salute)
Kosher salt (use sparingly as the poultry seasoning often contains salt)
Canola oil cooking spray

Honey Mustard Sauce: (Just mix all the ingredients together)
¼ cup honey
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup Dijon mustard
1-tablespoon white distilled vinegar or lemon juice
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or 2 teaspoons of Frank’s Hot Sauce

* This recipe for Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce comes from a great website www.pinchofyum.com

DIRECTIONS:

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly spray a rimmed cookie sheet with the cooking oil (I like to do this over the sink to make sure the floor doesn’t get slippery).

Take out three medium sized mixing bowls. Put the flour in the first bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat with flour. Put the eggs into the second bowl. Take out about 5 or 6 pieces of chicken and put them into the beaten eggs. In the third bowl, add the ground cornflakes and the spice mixture. Mix well. Drain the chicken on the side of the egg bowl and add the chicken pieces into the cornflakes. Using a fork (or your fingers) coat with crumbs. Place on the prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with all the pieces of chicken (you might need 2 cookie sheets). Spray the top of the nuggets with cooking spray and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Put into the oven for about 7-8 minutes. They should look a bit browned on top. Turn them over and cook another 5-6 minutes. Remove and serve hot with sauce.

* I was recently at a restaurant in Nyack, NY called Strawberry Place. They have wonderful, home cooked food that makes you want to return day after day. In particular they make a Buffalo Chicken Wrap. These nuggets would work great in a wrap filled with lettuce, tomato, onion, blue cheese dressing and Franks Hot Sauce!

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Crab and Corn Chowder

February 22nd, 2017

Crab and Corn Chowder

It’s not often you hear the question “What should I do with all this leftover imitation crab?”. Yet just last night I found myself saying these exact words. My husband offered his thoughts “throw it out, we’ll never eat it”. Cindy (the nanny, babysitter, house manager, tie breaker, jack-of-all-trades) also had some words of wisdom “you remember that salad you made, a long time ago, with those things in it, it may have had crab, it was really good, you should make that”. I hoped that Mr. Google had some better ideas.

It turns out Mr. Google was not as prolific as I had hoped. But he led me to Mrs. Pinterest and she had several good ideas: Spicy Crab Sushi, a deconstructed California Roll Salad that Gina at SkinnyTaste perfected, Crab Mac and Cheese (yum), Poor Man’s Lobster Roll (double yum), Crab Summer Rolls, Hot Crab Dip, Cucumber Cups with Crab Salad (I made these for the first time when I was 15 and taking adult education classes at the Cumberland School), and Crab and Corn Chowder (winner winner, crab dinner).

So I went back to have a chat with Mr. Google and he introduced me to a few famous friends: Emeril makes a Crabmeat and Corn Bisque (Bam!), Mark Bittman makes a Corn Chowder (I love that he uses the cob to make a corn stock), and Rachael Ray makes a Chicken and Corn Chowder (undoubtedly with EVOO and her famous chop and drop method). All delicious, but not exactly what I was thinking of. Then I found a recipe on Food52 from Kim at Something New for Dinner that looked perfect. I took a bit from column A, a handful from column B and a dash from column C and now I have a great, easy, inexpensive, somewhat light, recipe for Crab and Corn Chowder (that really needs to be pronounced “chowda”).

P.S. So I’ve used all the leftover imitation crab (I keep hoping that if I say “imitation crab” enough it might sound appealing…). But I’m actually interested in trying out some of the other recipes I found. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m headed back to the Asian market to buy some more!

P.P.S. I wrote this post before I actually made the soup. Is this a faux pas? Regardless, what I failed to mention is that no matter the name of the so called “crab”, the soup was delicious. A new personal favorite. I guzzled down a large bowl in a matter of minutes and plan to indulge again for dinner. It was rich and well flavored and filling without any guilt because I used milk instead of heavy cream and about half the butter found in other recipes. Bam!

CRAB AND CORN CHOWDER

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 large stalks celery, diced
1 red pepper, diced
4 ears of corn, remove the kernels from the cob and set both aside
1 Idaho potato, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
½ teaspoon paprika
Salt/pepper
2 cups of milk
3 cups of corn stock (you will use the corn cobs to make a 10 minute stock)
1 bay leaf
1 ½ – 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (you can always add more later)
2 cups imitation crab, diced (real crab will work too)
3 scallions, thinly sliced for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

In a large, heavy bottomed pot, melt the butter. Add the onions and sauté about 5 minutes. If it is cooking too fast i.e. the onions are starting to brown, either turn down the heat or add a bit of extra virgin olive oil. Once translucent, add the celery, pepper, corn, potato, and garlic. Cook about 2-3 minutes. Add the flour, Old Bay, paprika, salt and pepper and cook another 2-3 minutes. Stir regularly to prevent the flour from burning.

In a separate pot, add the 4 corn cobs and cover with water (at least 4-5 cups of water). Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook about 10 minutes. The water will smell flavorful. Strain and reserve corn stock.

To the large pot with the vegetables, add the milk, corn stock and bay leaf. Simmer gently for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Add the Worcestershire sauce and crab. Cook just another minute or two, until the crab is hot. Serve with scallions on top.

 

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Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

February 16th, 2017

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Breakfast can be a tricky meal in my house. During the week the kids are up quite early for school and need to be out the door on the double. On the weekends I like to sleep in just a bit, so they’re on their own as far as food is concerned. It’s really easy to pick up some muffins at the market or maybe some chocolate babka and call it a day. But then I read the labels and think; with just a bit of effort I can really do better than store bought pastries loaded with refined sugar, fat and fillers. Enter Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins. These muffins are delicious and so easy to make. They are made using just one bowl and you basically throw everything in (I actually Google recipes that use melted butter or oil for baked goods because I hate having to drag out the Kitchenaid). While, I can’t claim to make homemade muffins every week (my name’s not Martha after all), I do make an effort to pick up those brown, over-ripe bananas whenever I see them.

INGREDIENTS:
3 very ripe bananas
6 teaspoons butter (unsalted), melted
¾ cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1-teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
1½ cups of all-purpose flour
1-teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of Kosher salt
½ cup mini chocolate chips
Cooking spray

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a mini muffin pan. In a medium sized mixing bowl mash the bananas with a fork until smooth. Stir in the melted butter. Mix in the baking soda and salt. Then mix in the sugar, beaten egg, and vanilla. Finally add the flour. Stir until just combined. Mix in the chips.

Scoop (about 1/4 cup) batter into each muffin cup. Bake about 18 minutes. Edges will be just lightly browned and the top spongy. Remove to a cooling rack.

*Adapted from Simply Recipes Banana Bread http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/banana_bread/

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Eggs: Two Ways

February 10th, 2017

Eggs

Well it’s a snowy wonderland outside and a chaotic zoo inside. I find that whenever the kids are home from school we seem to eat six meals a day instead of three. Plus snacks. I become the queen of some fictitious cooking show about being creative with whatever is in your refrigerator at any given moment. Basically I have eggs and some old vegetables. Not particularly exciting, but a fun challenge. So I started with Egg Muffins. We had just made these at Young Chefs club to mostly positive reviews. One of my young friends said “I love these” and I said “I’m so glad you like them” and she admonished me by stating “I said I love these, not just like!”

I moved on to hard-boiled eggs. Saved half for snacks and used the other half to make Egg Salad. This is a super easy egg salad and is just as delicious for breakfast as it is for dinner. Yes, you heard me, dinner. Moreover, it’s kind of fun for the kids to pick and choose their favorite way to eat it. You can have toast or English muffins or lettuce cups on the bottom and sliced cucumber or avocado or Sriracha on top. Or really anything you want. When was the last time someone offer you “anything you want?”

Egg Muffins

Egg Muffins with Broccoli, Ham and Cheddar Cheese

INGREDIENTS:
10 eggs, beaten
1 crown broccoli, blanched, florets small chopped
1-¼” piece of ham, small diced
¼ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt/pepper
Cooking spray

DIRECTIONS:

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a medium sized bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Using a ¼ cup measuring cup, scoop mixture into the prepared muffin pan.

Bake about 18-20 minutes or until the tops are just dry.

Easy Egg Salad

INGREDIENTS:
8 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and diced
½ cup celery, finely diced
2 Tablespoons onion (red or white), finely diced
¼ cup light Mayonnaise
¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons mustard
Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Mix all the ingredients together until well blended.

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