kid friendly fun foods

mini pasta frittatas

What do you do with all of the leftover spaghetti noodles from dinner last night? Here’s a great way to use those noodles and create a great lunch box item or a great after school snack for the little ones. I actually got the idea from an episode of Rachael Ray but I changed the ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need

  • leftover spaghetti noodles
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk or half and half
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese, your favorite or a blend
  • fresh spinach leaves, chopped
  • lunchmeat ham, chopped
  • salt, pepper and any  family favorite seasoning ( I love Spike Seasoning in eggs)

*Some different options could be cherry tomatoes, small broccoli florets, mushrooms, etc.

Place spaghetti noodles in paper lined or baking cup sprayed with non- stick vegetable spray. Add in a sprinkle of ham, spinach and cheese. Whisk together eggs, milk and seasoning. Pour or ladle egg mixture into muffin cup to fill almost to the top. Bake at 375° for 15 -18 minutes or until set and lightly golden.
You can make this a fun event with the kids… let them help fill the cups with their favorite items. You can use whatever kinds of veggies, cheese, meat that your kids like. They are always more willing to eat the fun foods that they have helped to create! For re-heating, simply microwave  about 30 seconds.  What a great way to send a healthy, fun lunch to school for your kids!

 

not your average chip

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Kale chips. Yes, that’s what I said kale chips! Kale is so incredibly healthy. The nutritional value in a serving of Kale is off the food chain! (Being possibly the most extreme form of the term “off the chain”, ‘off the food chain’ is used to describe a situation where every aspect of it is completely dope & radical.) Kale is loaded with vitamins… One cup has 684% daily value of vitamin K and 206% A. Other vitamins include B6, folate, thiamin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. Kale is also rich in minerals… including manganese, copper, potassium, calcium and iron.

Ariel is not really a vegetable girl. So imagine my surprise when it turns out that she loves kale chips! You may have a picky little eater at home or you just might like to have them as a healthy, nutritious and low calorie snack. So easy to make…. and if you want a little quality time with the kids, let them help tear the kale into pieces and toss with the seasoning. (Bonus, kids are more likely to try something they helped to make!)

Preheat oven to 300°. Soak kale in a large bowl of water, letting dirt fall to the bottom. Remove and rinse well. Shake and let dry on towels. Cut kale into small pieces, removing stem. Toss cut kale in a large bowl with olive oil. Season with your favorite spice, salt and pepper. Ariel really likes it seasoned with Spike seasoning if you can find it. I liked it with nutmeg. Experiment to your liking! Spread oiled and seasoned kale  in one layer onto baking sheet. Bake until crispy about 15 minutes, maybe a little longer.

Enjoy and have no guilt about eating your not so average chips!

*Note… If you are taking prescription anticoagulants you should consult with your doctor before consuming large quantities of kale.

pizza night

photoPizza night. No, not takeout pizza night. A new and better pizza night. This falls into so many categories on my blog. Things for mothers and daughters to do together; quality time; kid friendly foods and in a rush – quick and easy recipes! There’s something great about  family spending time together in the kitchen. It can be as grand as you like spending all day preparing a holiday meal or a theme night with lots of new recipes. It can also be as simple as hanging out around the bar putting your favorite toppings on your own personal pizza!

For the crust, I just purchase naan bread which as an Indian flatbread. This should be available at most grocery stores, I get mine at Walmart supercenter. If you can’t find naan bread or if you just prefer, you can use pita bread (not the pocket kind). I just prepare a platter with all of our favorite toppings. Get the whole family involved in washing the vegetables, slicing and placing on the platter. The toppings are endless. Instead of tomato sauce, I like to use  chopped fresh tomatoes…all varieties, orange sunburst cherry tomatoes are excellent used here. You can use grape tomatoes, roma, whatever you like…mix them up!  I get pepperoni sliced fresh at the deli, super thin. You only need 1/4 to 1/3 of a pound for 4-6 people. Some other favorite toppings at our house…fresh mozzarella, mushrooms, basil and red bell pepper.

When all of the toppings are sliced, diced and ready, have everyone start by brushing a little olive oil on their naan bread and let the toppings begin! Place all of the prepared pizzas on baking sheets or a pizza stone really works nice if you have one. Place in a preheated oven at 400°. Bake till cheese is melted and bubbly…this only takes about six minutes. Quick, easy, fun and delicious for the whole family. What night is gonna be your “new” pizza night?photophoto

lemon waffles with lemon curd and macerated strawberries

IMG_8237This is one of those great Saturday or Sunday morning breakfast items, but it is easy enough for the weekday! To make it a time friendly and simple breakfast use your favorite waffle mix. Prepare as the package directs. Add the zest of 1 lemon stirred into batter. To macerate the strawberries…(This can be done the night before or at least 30 minutes before serving.) slice enough strawberries to top number of waffles you’ll be making. Sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons of sugar and fresh lemon juice. Stir and set aside.(you could also add a little fresh chopped mint if you like)  If doing this the night before place in refrigerator. Cook waffle in waffle iron as directed. Top with some store bought lemon curd, macerated strawberries and dust with powdered sugar. Careful, you just might become addicted! Enjoy!

bird’s nest cupcakes

IMG_2934Just in time for Easter or a spring party… these cupcakes are so pretty and they taste fantastic! The icing on these is from a Jell-O recipe, sooo good! Ariel and I made them last year for her class at school. We’ll make them again this year! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 dozen prepared cupcakes…Use your favorite recipe or boxed white or yellow cake mix
  • 1 3oz. package Jell-O vanilla instant pudding
  • 1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple in its own juice, undrained
  • 1 cup thawed Cool Whip
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • green food coloring
  • mini Robin’s eggs candies

Place coconut in a glass bowl or one that won’t stain from the green food coloring. Add a couple drops of food coloring at a time mixing to color coconut. Add food coloring as needed until desired shade is reached. Set aside. Mix dry pudding with pineapple and its juice. Gently stir in whipped topping. Let stand 5 minutes until thickened. Top each cupcake with pudding mixture, careful not to go all the way to the edges of cupcake. Top with green coconut and Robin’s eggs. Enjoy!

homemade waffles

homemade-waffles-lemon-curdAriel wanted waffles for breakfast this morning so I went to my recipe file and pulled out a waffle recipe I got from my mom. This makes a really thick, fluffy waffle. I’m not sure where she got the recipe but it’s a good one. As I usually find myself, I started thinking…mmm…what could I do different? So i thought about what I happened to have in the fridge and came up with lemon curd and fresh blueberry waffles! I made the batter traditional and just topped them differently. This is good because, like Ariel…she just wanted plain syrup…you can please all palettes with one recipe! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1  3/4 C. all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 1/2 C. milk
  • 1/2 C. vegetable oil
  • 3 egg whites, stiffly beaten
  • for topping as desired; powdered sugar, lemon curd, fresh blueberries or raspberries, syrup, melted butter.

Measure dry ingredients into mixing bowl. Blend. Combine beaten egg yolks and milk. Stir into dry ingredients. Stir in oil. Carefully fold in egg whites. Do Not Overmix! Pour approximately 3/4 cup batter onto preheated waffle grid, cook until set and golden. Serve as desired with assorted toppings. Enjoy!

*Note- If you are only serving this with the lemon curd, you could add 1 tsp. fresh grated lemon zest to the batter for an additional burst of lemon flavor. homemade-waffles

yum yum tum caramel apples

caramel-apples-dip-2It’s well into October and what do you have to do in October? Go trick or treating? Yes, but not until the 31st! Carve a pumpkin? Yes, I still haven’t done that yet! Well what then? You have to make caramel apples! Ariel and I went shopping after school yesterday and she picked two of the prettiest Granny Smith apples you’ve ever seen. Then we filled a bag with caramels and we were on our way. Tonight we made the apples. She couldn’t wait…”Can I melt the caramel?” she kept asking. Yes, as soon as I get everything else ready. “Can I melt the caramels?”. You get the picture! So we finally melt the caramels.

Then comes the fun part…dipping the apples and rolling them in the nuts. Messy but fun! But the best part of all was still to come…Eating them! We sliced one up and served it with additional caramel ( Hershey’s caramel sauce ) and chopped pecans and shaved chocolate for dipping. So freakin’ yummy! I asked Ariel what we should name them and of course she said “yum yum tum caramel apples”! Here’s how we made them…

This recipe was just for two large apples so adjust accordingly.

  • 2 large granny smith apples + 2 popsicle sticks
  • 16 brach’s caramels
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 2 Tbsp. Hershey’s caramel sauce
  • Chopped nuts
  • Additional caramel sauce and chopped nuts as well as shaved chocolate for dipping

*NOTE  you can use your imagination with toppings…crushed oreos, crushed toffee bars, miniature m&ms, chocolate chips, whatever you like!

Melt the caramels, water and caramel sauce in a glass bowl in the microwave for 2 minutes, stir until smooth. Dip each apple, swirling and tipping bowl to coat. roll in chopped nuts. Place on greased wax paper to cool. Serve with additional caramel sauce and toppings if desired. Get your” yum yum tum” on and enjoy!caramel-apples-traycaramel-apples-presentation-3

crunchy fish nuggets

fish-nuggets-1Do you ever wonder what’s in a frozen fish stick? Minced fish. Have you seen that commercial where the little girl says “You gave me minced fish?” Well there’s more in there than minced fish. Sugar, corn gluten, monosodium glutamate and a bunch of other things I can’t pronounce. Here’s a healthy and much tastier way to serve your kids some fish. I also use this fish for my fish tacos, check out the link. Here’s what you’ll need for the fish nuggets:

  • 1 lb. (about 3 pieces) tilapia, or your favorite white fish
  • 1/2 cup milk

Flour mixture:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. each onion powder, salt and pepper

Note* You can change the spices if you like. I use these spices for the fish for tacos. You could substitute with lemon pepper and parsley or whatever you like.

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • vegetable or canola oil cooking spray

Preheat oven to 4oo degrees. Cut fish into large nugget size pieces, set aside. Mix flour and spices together in a shallow dish. Place panko crumbs in a shallow dish. Beat egg whites with a mixer until soft peaks form. Dip each piece of fish first into milk, then roll in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess flour. Dip into egg whites, then roll into panko crumbs. Place onto well greased baking sheet. Spray each piece on all exposed sides with the cooking spray. This is what makes the fish crispy. Bake until golden brown, turning once. About 15 minutes, depending on thickness of fish. Serve with lemon and tarter sauce or ketchup if desired. Hope you and your kids love this. Enjoy!

PB&J sushi rolls

This is a new twist (or should I say “roll”) on an old favorite. Kids love peanut butter and jelly but its more exciting when it comes in a different shape! Here’s what you need:

  • peanut butter
  • jelly
  • white or wheat bread

Yeah, that’s all you need. Cut the crust off of the bread slices. Smash the bread as flat as you can ( by the way, kids like to help make these too… they get to play with their food while making it!). Spread lightly with peanut butter and jelly. Roll up into a log, slice into 1 inch slices…voila’…sushi!

funky monkey rolls

funky-monkey-rollsLet the kids go bananas! This is a favorite fun food they’ll all be sure to like and one the kids will have fun helping to make. A great healthy snack or fun in the lunchbox. Bananas (brain food), peanut butter (protein) and chocolate (yummy)!

  • 1 small banana, cut in half lengthwise
  • peanut butter
  • Nutella, chocolate hazelnut spread
  • wheat flour tortilla

Spread one half of the tortilla with peanut butter, the other half with chocolate spread. Place bananas in the center and roll up lengthwise. Let the kids enjoy!