Category Archives: Fun in the Kitchen with Kids!

Breakfast Burrito Cups

Today, I baked these Breakfast Burrito Cups because I like the idea to keep them in the fridge or freezer and pop them in the microwave for a quick, healthy, hot breakfast.  Sweet Stackers layer foods using a stackable food storage system in a variety of containers.  This prevents foods from sticking together or getting soggy.

Breakfast Burrito Cups

Happy New Year!  Personally, I have never been into making resolutions.  This year is different and I am setting a goal that is taking one more step to eating better for the whole family.  Drumroll please…..I am not buying cereal!

Overall, I believe that we do well eating well rounded meals.  But breakfast is the one area where I think we can do better!  The mornings are hectic.  First, I am NOT a morning person.  My kids know that Mom needs to have a few sips of coffee before we can start discussing any aspect of the morning routine.  Three young kids bring the typical morning rush trying to get them out of the door on time.  Cereal is the perfect quick breakfast.  But even the cereal that we have considered to be the “less-sugar” cereals are still packed with sugar and limited nutrition.  I myself quit eating cereal for about 2 years because I realized I was starving by 9 or 10 A.M.  Unfortunately, my kids LOVE cereal and will even eat it as an afternoon snack since they can make it themselves.  So if I don’t have cereal in the house, no one will eat it.

I have been doing some research as how to make quick heathy breakfasts!  This is one of the make ahead recipes to keep in the freezer.  A variety of fillings can be used, so get creative!

Breakfast Burrito Cups

yields 12 individual cups

3 – 10 inch flour tortilla

variety of diced veggies/cooked meat [green pepper, mushrooms & ham]

5 eggs

2 TB milk

shredded Cheddar cheese – optional

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 12 count muffin tin with oil.

Cut the tortilla into quarters.  Press gently into the muffin tin to form cups.  Sprinkle the diced veggies and meat into the cups.  In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together.  Poor even amounts of egg mixture into each cup.  Sprinkle a pinch of shredded cheese on top of each cup.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake for an additional 5 minutes until the egg is cooked through and lightly browned.

 

 

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Lunch Box: Frozen Sandwiches

Attention Moms with school aged kids!

Preparing school lunches turns into a dreaded chore for Moms, especially during the morning rush.  A couple of years ago, one of my Mom friends mentioned that they freeze sandwiches.  Pull a sandwich out of the freezer when packing lunches in the morning and by lunch time the sandwich is perfectly thawed.  At the time I didn’t think much of it, but I also only had one lunch to prepare.  Now that I have two kids in school – I totally get this idea!  Of course I have two kids that have their own preferences – one like cheese, the other doesn’t – one likes mayo, the other prefers mustard.  How can I keep track??!!

Lunch Box

This is a great way to save time preparing your kid’s lunch box!  Now I make it part of our Sunday night routine.  The kids prepare clothes and backpacks and I make sandwiches for the week.   Sandwiches can be stored in plastic storage bags or plastic wrap, but I am trying to make an effort to reduce waste and especially at school.  I use an air-tight food storage container that will fit sandwiches in layers, using a Sweet Stackers tray to separate each kids lunch.  One kid’s sandwiches are layered on the bottom and the other’s layered on top – this way I can keep track when I am packing them.  Since, I am not storing the sandwiches for a long period of time, there are no problems with freezer burn or the bread drying out.  The kids love them and they do not get soggy.  Plus I like that the sandwiches are kept colder longer preventing deli meat or spreads to spoil.

Many Moms have asked, “What type of sandwiches do you make?”.  I do prefer to use whole grain breads, but I noticed that my kids get bored with the same sandwich.  All kids are different, but changing up the “traditional PB&J” can be fun and a good change for them!  This week I am making ham and cheese sandwiches using Hawaiian dinner rolls and peanut butter and Nutella on whole grain Raisin Bread.

A couple of tips:

  • Do not freeze lettuce, tomatoes or other similar toppings on the sandwich.  Pack these items separately on the side.
  • When making PB&J, smear peanut butter on both sides of the bread (at least a thin layer) to prevent the jelly from touching the bread.  Jelly will make the sandwich soggy.
  • Bento style storage containers (with dividers) are fun for the kids to store sides, dips, crackers, fruits & veggies.  (We found some neat ones in the dollar section at Target!)
  • Make your own Uncrustables – there are tools that will seal and cut the crust off.
  • Shaped sandwich cutters (or cookie cutters) are a fun way to remove crust and cut into cute shapes.

 

Do you have any great tips to share?

 

 

Coconut Key Lime Bars

Most of the time, I bake from scratch.  But there are those times when you need a quick dessert.  I always keep a couple of cake box mixes in my pantry and tada…we have super simple dessert bars!  The marshmallow crème makes a tasty and easy topping – a bit of sweet to complement the tart lime flavor.

PartyKitchen Coconut Key Lime Bars

Coconut Key Lime Bars

  • 1 box of Pillsbury Key Lime Cake Mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of butter, melted
  • 2 cups of sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup of marshmallow crème *

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease a 9 x 13″ pan.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, butter and 1 ½ cups of coconut.  Spread evenly in pan and bake for 19-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean and the edges turn golden brown.  Let cool.

Sprinkle remaining ½ cup of coconut on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 6 minutes, watching carefully until it is lightly toasted.

Spread marshmallow crème in a thin layer over the dessert bars and sprinkle with toasted coconut.

*note:  could use fresh whip cream or Cool Whip as a topping

Sweet Stackers KLB Squeeze Risers  SweetStackers risers squeezed between dessert

Layer baked goods in one container using Sweet Stackers!  This stackable food storage system insert into major brand food storage containers.  The trays are available in 4 sizes and the risers come in two sizes for either cookies or dessert bars.  They can even be squeezed flat in between bars or brownies.  Why not layer cookies and brownies in the same container?!

SweetStackers dessert storage solution

Stack the dessert tray over the bottom layer and they are ready to go!

sweetstackers.com

SweetStackers layer bakery

Tomato Harvest Bruschetta

Loving my veggie garden this year because with all of the rain – comes a huge harvest of tomatoes!  For Labor Day weekend, I made a few different recipes using tomatoes.  Bruschetta was at the top of my list!  So easy to make and you don’t need plum tomatoes.  I used the large juicy big boy-type tomatoes!

Tomato Harvest Bruschetta appetizer

Slice a baguette thin and place on a cookie sheet in one layer.  Place under a hot broiler for just a minute or two until they start to brown.  Flip to the other side and repeat.

When they come out of the oven, drizzle with olive oil and rub the top surface with a sliced garlic clove.

Toasted Baguette

Using 3 or 4 large tomatoes, slice a tomato side ways (so that the top half of the tomato has the vine) and squeeze the juice and seeds over the kitchen sink.  Repeat with the bottom half to remove seeds.

Dice the tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil, S&P to taste.

Fresh basil!  Pull 10-12 fresh basil leaves, roll them up together and slice thin.  Add to the tomato mixture and stir.

Scoop the tomato mixture on each toasted baguette slice.

SweetStackers food storage tray inserts

A fresh tomato appetizer perfect for late summer.  Ready to serve or transport to a party!

Sweet Stackers Food Storage trays appetizer

Sweet Stackers are reusable, stackable trays that insert into a container your already own.  The classic Tupperware 9×9 inch container and 8×8 inch Sweet Stackers tray set is pictured.   Two layers of bruschetta in one container without a soggy mess.  Ready to transport to a party or picnic!

sweetstackers.com

or

Sweet Stackers Etsy Shop

Promising Ice Cream….Sandwiches!

The first week of school is coming to an end.  My little one has started Kindergarten and had a rough morning.  Day 1, excited, but clung to Dad as she was getting on the bus.  Day 2, tearing up, got in line to get on the bus, then made a quick turn to run back to me.  Day 3, crying most of the morning, crying to the bus stop and needed me to hold her hand onto the bus.  Of course, she has a great day and is super smiley when she gets off of the bus!  But with all of the tears this morning, we promised her ice cream when she gets home.  Hoping to distract her from her anxiety.

But I have really, really wanted to make homemade chocolate chip cookies and tada – I had a great idea!  Ice Cream Sandwiches.

PK Ice Cream Sandwiches

Actually tried a new chocolate chip cookie recipe from Allrecipes and they were delicious!  They turned out to be the perfectly shaped, with a thin crispy outside and soft chewy middle.  I baked these an extra 2 minutes, but followed the recipe exactly.  They made 45 cookies using a 1 inch cookie scoop.

SS Cookie Rack

Love the versatility of the Sweet Stackers risers.  They elevate cookie racks at the perfect height to save space on the kitchen counter tops!

Once cooled, I transferred the cookies to a staging container to keep them extra fresh.  Sweet Stackers neatly organizes the cookies in tiers.

Sweet Stackers Cookie Container

Time to fill the cookies!  Place a good round scoop of ice cream in between two chocolate chip cookies (they bottom of the cookies touching the ice cream).  I used a smaller container to store 12 ice cream sandwiches separated using a Sweet Stackers tray.

Even though I was in a cool room, the ice cream melted quickly.  I suggest placing the container in the freezer and adding one or two sandwiches at a time.  But even is some ice cream dripped, the container and trays wipe down easily.  The trays also made a nice surface to work on.

SS Ice Cream Sandwiches

There were extra cookies for a later treat!

The kids had a great day at school and were very excited about this yummy summertime treat!
Sweet Stackers convert your food containers to multi-level using stackable trays.  Available in 4 sizes and designed to fit major brand food storage containers. Visit the Sweet Stackers Etsy Shop today.  

 

Homemade Pasta Bolognese

This is one my “go to” recipes for a weekly meal.  My version of Pasta Bolognese has a bunch of veggies too!  There is one unusual ingredient that gives it a ton of flavor – balsamic vinegar.  The balsamic vinegar gets caramelized a bit on the bottom of the pan.  Then you can scrape all of the goodness stuck to the pan and incorporate it into the sauce.  Plus the smell is amazing as this is simmering away!

Homemade Bolognese Sauce

Homemade Pasta Bolognese

  • 1.5 lbs. ground beef (or turkey)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1/2 cup green pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 – 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 – 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian herbs or fresh herbs to taste

Brown the meat over medium heat in a large sauce pan.  When almost cooked through, add the onion and carrots.  Continue cooking until the veggies are soft.  Add green pepper and garlic.  Once the meat is browned and the veggies have been cooked, add the balsamic vinegar.  Let the balsamic vinegar cook down a bit and it will start to caramelize.  Scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits.  Add the tomatoes and sauce.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer down for at least 10 minutes….or longer.

I usually add cooked pasta right into the sauce and toss with the sauce.

Enjoy!

Fresh Herb Greek Yogurt Dip

Hooray for Summer and the kids being off of school!  It was a great day to pick some fresh herbs from our garden.  All of our radishes were ready to harvest too.  This fruit & veggie plate made for a super healthy afternoon snack with my girls on the porch.  We didn’t limit ourselves to veggies, we even tried it with peaches and plums.  I love it when they at least try a new veggie they wouldn’t eat before!

I don’t think you can get any healthier than this dip!  It is only made from Greek Yogurt (which I think has the same taste and consistency of sour cream).  I chopped some fresh chives, thyme and dill and added a little salt to taste.  The kids were pleasantly surprised that they liked it!

 

Fresh Herbed Greek Yogurt Dip

Fresh Herb Greek Yogurt Dip

1 cup Greek Yogurt

1 TB chopped dill

1 TB chopped thyme

1 TB chopped chives

S & P to taste

Combine all ingredients and serve with veggies and fruit.

Lemon Garlic Baked Chicken

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy Baked Chicken should have been title of this dish!  So easy, so tasty and just a handful of ingredients.

IMG_3554

Lemon Garlic Baked Chicken

  • 2 large chicken breasts with skin on
  • 2 lemons; one sliced thin and 1 squeezed
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh green beans

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Prepare baking dish and drizzle bottom with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Layer the lemon slices on the bottom of pan and place chicken on top.  In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and S&P.  Toss the green beans in mixture and pour over the chicken.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked.  About half way cooked, spoon juices over the chicken to baste.

Serving suggestion – serve with pasta tossed in the lemon garlic juice from the chicken bake.

 

 

Rollo Turtles

These are just way too cute using the holiday shaped pretzels.  The combination of salt, caramel and sweet chocolate = yum!  Perfect for a gluten-free recipe too.   Rollo Turtles were brought to our 2013 cookie exchange party.

Gluten Free Rollo Turtles

Rollo Turtles

Rollo Turtles

20 small mini pretzels

20 chocolate covered caramel candies (Rollo)

20 pecan halves

Preheat oven to 300°.

Arrange the pretzels in a single layer on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Place one chocolate covered caramel candy on each pretzel.

Bake for 4 minutes.  While the candy is warm, press a pecan half onto each candy covered pretzel.  Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Halloween Brownie Bites

Happy Halloween!  It was a fun and festive day to spite it raining…all….day…long!  A backup plan was needed just in case we couldn’t go trick-or-treating.  I wanted to make a quick festive treat that my kids could enjoy if they weren’t going to bring home a huge bag full of treats.  There was only one hour until the school bus would arrive home.

My preference is to bake from scratch, but I usually keep a couple of box mixes in my pantry for a spur of the moment dessert.  I found a box of brownie mix and placed the brownie batter in a mini-muffin tin to make brownie bites.

IMG_3022

While they were baking in the oven – I whipped up a white glaze using 1 cup of confectioners sugar and 1-2 tablespoons of water.  Once the brownie bites were slightly cooled, pipe a dot in the middle surrounded by two circles.  Then using a toothpick, pull the glaze from the center to the outer circle.  This formed cute little spider webs.

But wait…the sun poked out of the clouds for just a few minutes to produce the most beautiful rainbow!  It soon got ominous out again, but we were able to make it around the block to trick-or-treat.  Then came home to a yummy treat!

Hope you had a Happy Halloween!!