The Children's Busy Book: 365 Creative Learning Games and Activities to Keep Your 6- to 10-Year-Old Busy

CHAPTER 3

Kids in the Kitchen

You know children are growing up when they start asking questions that have answers.

—John J. Plomp

For children, the kitchen is a tantalizing place full of wonderful things to see, hear, smell, touch, and taste. Toddlers love to play with pots and pans, preschoolers love to “help,” and older children are often eager to learn to cook and bake on their own.

Kitchen activities are valuable for children. They help develop hand-eye coordination, small motor skills, and reading and math skills. Learning to prepare food will give your child practical skills she can use all her life, and being able to cook and bake for others will boost her self-esteem. Most of all, working in the kitchen is a fun and constructive way to spend time together.

If your child is interested in learning cooking and baking basics, do everything you can to encourage her. Let her work alongside you and teach her as you work. Buy a good kids’ cookbook like Betty Crocker’s Kids Cook! or one of the books in the Company’s Coming series by Jean Paré. Let your child cook or bake for friends or make family desserts. Make or buy your child her own recipe box and copy her favorite recipes using simple words (or pictures and symbols for nonreaders). Start with simple no-cook recipes that she can make with little supervision and add more complex recipes as she learns.

The kitchen is indeed a stimulating environment, but it can also be a hazardous place for unsupervised children. Always be safety conscious. Make sure dangerous objects are well out of reach and be sure to supervise use of sharp utensils and hot appliances. Better yet: Until you’re sure of your child’s abilities, tell her that only an adult can use such things.

The recipes in this section provide some tasty and fairly easy things you and your child can make together. Before you begin cooking, read through the recipe with your child and explain any unfamiliar ingredients or terms. Assemble all your supplies and premeasure the ingredients. (This will make it easier for your child to follow the recipe.) Always emphasize health and safety considerations like washing hands before touching food, holding sharp utensils by the handles, turning saucepan handles inward on the stove, and so on.

With a bit of effort and patience, you can make your kitchen a wonderful place to interact with your child as you teach her how to measure, mix, cut, sift, and more to produce edible creations the whole family can enjoy.

MAIN COURSE

Your child can use the following recipes to make delicious, nutritious main-course dishes. She may need your help at first, but she’ll need you less and less as she gains cooking experience. How proud you’ll both be when she cooks a family meal all by herself!

Hawaiian Toast

Your family will adore this exotic alternative to French toast.

4 eggs

One 8-ounce can crushed pineapple

1/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 tablespoon sour cream

1 tablespoon sugar

8 slices bread, crusts removed

1/4 cup butter (optional)

Powdered sugar

Shredded coconut

1. In a blender, combine the eggs, pineapple, milk, syrup, sour cream, and sugar until the mixture is smooth.

2. Put the bread slices in a shallow dish. Pour the egg mixture over them, then turn them to coat both sides with egg.

3. Heat a nonstick griddle over medium heat (or melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a frying pan).

4. Put 2 bread slices on the griddle and cook them until they’re brown. Turn them to cook the other sides.

5. Repeat with the remaining bread slices.

6. Dust the bread with powdered sugar and sprinkle it with coconut before serving.

Oatmeal Pancakes

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup quick-cooking oats

3/4 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk plus 13/4 tablespoons cream of tartar)

1/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1. Beat all the ingredients until the batter is smooth.

2. For each pancake, pour 1/4 cup of batter onto a hot nonstick griddle or frying pan. Fry the pancakes until they bubble and their edges are dry. Flip the pancakes and cook the other sides until they’re golden brown.

3. Serve the pancakes with butter and syrup, applesauce, or jam. This recipe makes 10–12 pancakes.

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Veggie Frittata

If your child likes omelets, she’ll love this frittata. It looks and tastes fancy, but it’s very easy to make.

1/2 medium-size yellow onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced or pressed

2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

1 cup any chopped, cooked vegetable(s)

4 eggs, lightly beaten

3/4 cup grated cheese

1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram (or oregano)

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Preheat your broiler.

2. In a medium-size iron skillet, sauté the onion and garlic in the oil until the onion is soft (about 5 minutes). Add the vegetable(s) and sauté for one more minute.

3. Mix the eggs, cheese, herbs, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables in the skillet, reduce the heat to low, and cook the mixture uncovered until the eggs are almost set (about 7 minutes).

4. Place the skillet under the broiler until the frittata is lightly browned (2–3 minutes). Cut the frittata into 4 wedges to serve it.

Chicken Pasta Casserole

Everyone in our family loves this casserole. It’s a great busyday meal because it’s assembled the night before.

One 10-ounce can cream of mushroom soup

One 10-ounce can cream of celery soup

21/2 cups water

2 cups grated Cheddar

2 cups diced cooked chicken (or two 61/2-ounce cans chicken, drained)

2 cups uncooked macaroni

1 cup diced onion

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup shoestring potatoes (or crumbled potato chips)

1. Mix all the ingredients except the potatoes in a bowl, then spread the mixture in an ungreased casserole dish. Cover the dish and refrigerate overnight.

2. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Remove the lid from the casserole and sprinkle the shoestring potatoes over the top.

3. Bake the casserole uncovered for 1 hour or until the macaroni is tender. This recipe makes 6–8 servings.

Teriyaki Chicken

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup sugar

11/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 garlic clove, minced

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

2. Mix the soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, oil, garlic, and ginger to make the marinade.

3. Place the chicken breasts in a baking pan. Pour the marinade over the chicken. (Or freeze the chicken breasts in the marinade, then thaw them later for a quick, tasty meal.)

4. Bake the chicken for 35 minutes, then serve it over rice. This recipe makes 4 servings.

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Baked Fish

For a complete meal, serve this dish with a vegetable and rice or a loaf of crusty bread.

8 fillets of any white fish

2 cups breadcrumbs

1 cup grated Parmesan

1/2 cup butter

2 tomatoes

1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.

2. Wash the fish in cold water, then pat it dry and cut it into 1/2-inch-square pieces. Spread the pieces in a 9-by-13-inch baking pan or any shallow ovenproof dish.

3. Mix the breadcrumbs and cheese in a small bowl. Rub in the butter by hand until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the fish to completely cover it.

4. Slice the tomatoes thinly and place them on top of the breadcrumbs.

5. Bake the fish for 15 minutes. This recipe serves 6–8 people.

Macaroni and Cheese

This macaroni and cheese is far tastier than the boxed kind!

2 cups uncooked macaroni

2 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, minced (optional)

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

Dash of pepper

11/2 cups milk

2 cups shredded Cheddar

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish. Cook and drain the macaroni, then put it in the dish.

2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onion until it’s tender.

3. Stir in the flour, salt, mustard, and pepper. Slowly stir in the milk. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until it’s smooth and slightly thickened. Take the pan off the heat and add the cheese. Stir the mixture until the cheese melts.

4. Pour the cheese mixture over the macaroni and stir.

5. Bake the macaroni until it’s bubbly (about 20 minutes). This recipe makes 4 servings as a main dish or 6 servings as a side dish.

Cheesy Spinach Lasagna

Lasagna is delicious, nutritious, and great for company. This recipe is easy because the noodles needn’t be cooked first.

10 ounces ricotta or tofu

10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

3 eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

31/2 cups spaghetti sauce

12 uncooked lasagna noodles

3 cups grated mozzarella

3 cups grated Muenster

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

2. In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta or tofu, spinach, Parmesan, eggs, and salt with a fork.

3. Spread 1/2 cup of the spaghetti sauce in a 9-by-13-inch pan.

4. Place a layer of 4 noodles on top of the sauce, then spread 1/3 of the spinach mixture over the noodles, 1 cup of spaghetti sauce over the spinach, 1 cup of mozzarella over the sauce, and 1 cup of Muenster over the mozzarella. Repeat this layering process 2 more times.

5. Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake it for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake the lasagna another 10 minutes or until the cheese turns golden brown. Let the lasagna cool for 10 minutes before serving it.

Bird’s Nest Pie

8 ounces uncooked spaghetti noodles

2 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup grated Parmesan paste

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup sour cream

1 pound bulk Italian sausage or ground beef

One 6-ounce can tomato

1 cup water

1 cup grated mozzarella

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 10-inch pie plate.

2. Break the noodles in half. Cook and drain them, then mix them with the eggs and Parmesan. Press the mixture into the bottom and sides of the pie plate.

3. Sauté the onions in the butter for 5 minutes. Mix in the sour cream, then spread the mixture over the spaghetti “crust.”

4. Brown and drain the meat. Stir in the tomato paste and water and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the mixture uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add it to the pie.

5. Bake the pie for 25 minutes. Then sprinkle it with mozzarella. Bake it again until the cheese melts. This recipe makes 8 servings.

Cozy Split Pea Soup

1 cup dried split peas

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1 bay leaf

2 cups water

2 cups vegetable broth

2 cups chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

3 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper

1. Put the peas, basil, bay leaf, water, and broth in a large saucepan and simmer the mixture, partially covered, until the peas turn mushy (about 45 minutes).

2. While the peas are cooking, sauté the onion and cumin in the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until the onions are golden brown.

3. Discard the bay leaf. Stir the onion mixture into the peas and season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. This recipe makes about 4 cups of soup.

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Easy Bean Burritos

One 8-ounce can refried beans

6 flour tortillas

3/4 cup grated Monterey Jack

Chopped lettuce, tomato, and/or green pepper (optional)

Salsa

Sour cream

1. Cook the beans, stirring occasionally, in a small saucepan over medium heat until they’re warm (about 5 minutes).

2. Spread about 3 tablespoons of beans on 1 side of each tortilla.

3. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the beans, then add chopped lettuce, tomato, and/or green pepper, if you like.

4. Fold the bottom of each tortilla up over the filling, then fold the right and left sides in. Fold the top over so that the tortilla looks like an envelope. Turn the burrito over.

5. Cut each burrito in half and serve it with salsa and sour cream.

COOKIES, MUFFINS, AND MORE

Baking is a wonderful activity for a rainy afternoon or a cold winter evening. Your child will enjoy making dessert for the family, treats for her lunch box, or delicious edible gifts for friends, neighbors, and relatives.

Baked Apple Crisp

4 cups thinly sliced apples (about 6 medium apples)

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup quick-cooking oats

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

11/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 cup butter, softened

1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.

2. Spread the apple slices in an ungreased 8-inch-square cake pan.

3. In a small bowl, mix the flour, sugar, oats, nuts, cinnamon, and butter with a fork until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle it over the apple slices.

4. Bake the apple crisp uncovered until the topping is golden brown and the apples are tender (about 30 minutes). This recipe makes about 6 servings.

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Chocolate Banana Bread

Wake up your family’s taste buds by putting a new spin on a familiar treat.

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup mashed banana (about 3 medium bananas)

1/4 cup milk

11/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup powdered cocoa

11/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.

2. Beat the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until the sugar is moistened.

3. Add the banana and milk and beat the mixture on low speed until it’s blended.

4. Add the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat the mixture on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened.

5. Stir in the walnuts with a spoon.

6. Pour the batter into the pan and bake it for 50–60 minutes. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean and dry.

Applesauce-Oatmeal Muffins

These tasty, nutritious muffins disappear quickly, so I always double the recipe.

1/2 cup margarine

3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar

1 egg

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup applesauce

1/2 cup raisins

1 cup quick-cooking oats

1/2 cup chopped nuts

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan.

2. Cream the margarine and sugar in a medium bowl. Beat in the egg.

3. Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir the sifted mixture and the applesauce alternately into the margarine-sugar mixture.

4. Stir in the raisins, oats, and nuts.

5. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full. Bake the muffins for 25–30 minutes.

Alphabet Cookies

These cookies are fun for kids to make because the dough handles like modeling clay.

41/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour

11/2 cups butter

3 hard-boiled egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

3 raw egg yolks

11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat your oven to 300°F.

2. Measure the flour into a large bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and add it to the flour. Mix the butter and flour with your fingers until they form fine crumbs.

3. Mash the hard-boiled egg yolks and sugar together and stir them into the flour mixture.

4. Beat the raw egg yolks with the vanilla and stir this mixture into the flour mixture.

5. Press the dough into a firm ball. Work with the dough at room temperature or cover and refrigerate it if you plan to shape and bake it later.

6. Roll out the dough. Cut it into strips 3 or 4 inches long and roll them between your palms to make ropes.

7. Shape the ropes into letters. Flatten them slightly so they are about 1/4 inch thick. If you like, decorate the letters with colored sugar or chocolate chips.

8. Place the letters on a baking sheet and bake them for 25–30 minutes.

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World

This recipe makes truly great chocolate chip cookies. My kids are always trying other recipes, but we haven’t yet found one we like as much as this. Double the batch and freeze half of the dough for instant, no-mess baking fun on a rainy day.

1/2 cup margarine, room temperature

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups quick-cooking oats

1 cup (or more) chocolate chips

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1. Cream the margarine, butter, and sugars in a large bowl until the mixture is light and fluffy.

2. Beat in the eggs, milk, and vanilla.

3. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and stir them into the dough until it’s just blended.

4. Stir in the oats. Fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

5. Cover the dough and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour. (Don’t skip this step; it makes a difference!)

6. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease the baking sheets.

7. Shape the dough into balls using a rounded teaspoon for small cookies or a scant tablespoon for large ones. Flatten the balls slightly and place them 2 inches apart on baking sheets.

8. Bake the cookies until their edges are slightly browned but the cookies are mostly still white (8–10 minutes). Don’t overbake the cookies; they’ll set as they cool. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes. Transfer them to wire racks to finish cooling. This recipe makes about 5 dozen small cookies.

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Easy Double-Chocolate Cookies

These decadent cookies are surprisingly easy to make.

1 large egg

3 tablespoons water

5 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 package chocolate fudge cake mix

11/2 cups chocolate chips

11/2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

2. Mix the egg, water, oil, and cake mix in a bowl.

3. Add the chocolate chips (and walnuts, if desired) and stir the dough until it’s blended.

4. Grease the baking sheets.

5. Drop the cookie dough by rounded spoonfuls onto the baking sheets. Use a teaspoon for small cookies or a tablespoon for larger ones.

6. Bake small cookies for 10–12 minutes or large cookies for 15–20 minutes.

7. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool for 10–20 minutes. Transfer them to wire racks to finish cooling. This recipe makes about 4 dozen small cookies.

Fudge Brownies

1/4 cup butter

11/2 cup chocolate chips

3/4 cup sugar

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom of an 8-inch-square cake pan.

2. Melt the butter and 1 cup of chocolate chips in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat.

3. Stir in the sugar, flour, vanilla, baking powder, salt, and eggs until the batter is smooth.

4. Stir in the remaining chocolate chips (and nuts, if desired). Spread the batter in the cake pan.

5. Bake the brownies until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and dry (about 30 minutes).

6. Let the brownies cool completely before you cut them. This recipe makes about 20 brownies.

Fiddle Diddles

1/2 cup butter

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup milk

6 tablespoons powdered cocoa

3 cups quick-cooking oats

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Heat the butter, sugar, and milk in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove it from the heat.

2. Stir in the cocoa, oats, coconut, walnuts, salt, and vanilla. Drop the batter by rounded teaspoonfuls onto wax paper. Wait until the cookies cool completely before sampling them.

3. Store the cookies in an airtight container with wax paper between layers. This recipe makes about 40 cookies.

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Blueberry Dessert Cake

Your child will enjoy making and eating this easy, delicious dessert.

One 20-ounce can crushed pineapple

One 16-ounce can blueberry (or cherry) pie filling

1 package yellow 2-layer cake mix

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup butter or margarine

3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.

2. Spread the crushed pineapple and its juice in the pan. Spoon the pie filling over the pineapple. Sprinkle the cake mix over the pie filling.

3. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a small cup and sprinkle the mixture over the cake mix.

4. Thinly slice the butter and place it on top of the cake mix. Then sprinkle the cake with the walnuts.

5. Bake the cake for 45–55 minutes. Remove it from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool.

6. Cut the cake into squares and serve it warm or cold with ice cream or whipped cream.

Icebox Cake

The name of this recipe suggests it’s been around for many decades. As children, my sisters and I loved making this treat as much as eating it.

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons powdered cocoa

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup margarine

11/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

3/4 cup walnuts

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Grease an 8-inch-square cake pan.

2. Mix the sugar and cocoa in a small bowl. Stir in the egg.

3. Melt the margarine in a medium saucepan. Add the sugar mixture, stirring constantly until the mixture boils. Let it boil for 1 minute, then take it off the heat.

4. Stir in the graham cracker crumbs, walnuts, and vanilla, then press the mixture into the cake pan.

5. Chill the cake until it’s firm, then frost it with canned frosting or homemade Fudgy Frosting. (See below.)

6. To make Fudgy Frosting, mix 1 tablespoon of melted margarine with 1 tablespoon of cocoa. Blend in 1 tablespoon of milk and 1 cup of powdered sugar until the frosting is smooth. If necessary, add more powdered sugar until the frosting is spreadable.

Snails

My mom has been making these treats since I was little. We called them snails because they look like snail shells. There are no exact quantities for this recipe—just use whatever you have on hand.

Pastry scraps (or premade pie shell, bread or biscuit dough, or refrigerated bread sticks)

Margarine, softened

Brown sugar

Cinnamon

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

2. Roll the pastry into a rectangular shape about 1/8 inch thick. (Roll bread or biscuit dough slightly thicker.) The sides of the rectangle should be at least 6 inches long. If you are using refrigerated bread sticks, simply unroll and separate them.

3. Spread a thin layer of margarine on the dough. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over the margarine.

5. Starting at a long side of the rectangle, roll up the dough. Cut the roll into 1/2-inch slices. If you’re using bread sticks, roll each one to resemble a snail shell.

6. Lay the snails flat on a baking sheet, 1 inch apart, and bake them for 10–15 minutes.

7. Transfer the snails to a wire rack to cool before you eat them.

Cheese Pretzels

1 cup flour

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 cup grated Cheddar

2–3 tablespoons cold water

1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.

2. Mix the flour, Parmesan, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in the Cheddar.

3. Sprinkle the water over the mixture 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring lightly with a fork, until the dough holds together.

4. Shape the dough into a ball. Cut it in half, then cut each half into 12 pieces. Put each piece on a lightly floured surface and roll it back and forth with your palms to make a rope. Shape the ropes into pretzels and place them on an ungreased baking sheet.

5. Bake the pretzels for 12 minutes. This recipe makes 24 small pretzels.

NO COOKING REQUIRED

These recipes are quick and easy to make and produce a tasty variety of snacks. Although none requires an oven or stove, some call for a sharp knife, a grater, hot water, a blender, or toaster. For safety’s sake, adults should always supervise children while they make these recipes.

Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade

If your kids are like mine, they think lemonade comes from a can. Help them make a batch of fresh-squeezed lemonade as a refreshing treat on a hot summer day.

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel

1/2 cup very hot water

3 lemons (or enough to make 1/2 cup lemon juice)

Cold water or club soda

1. In a 2-cup jar with a tight lid, shake the sugar, lemon peel, and the hot water until the sugar dissolves.

2. Squeeze the lemons to make 1/2 cup lemon juice. Add the juice to the sugar water. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 2 hours or up to 1 week.

3. To make lemonade, pour 1/4 cup of the lemon mixture in a glass. Stir in 3/4 cup of cold water or club soda. This recipe makes about five 1-cup servings.

Variation

If you don’t have lemons, make No-Lemon Lemonade by mixing 8 cups of water with 12 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 11/2 cups of sugar.

Vanilla Milk Shake

2 rounded scoops vanilla ice cream

3/4 cup cold milk

1 tablespoon vanilla pudding powder (optional)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend them until they’re smooth and frothy (about 20 seconds).

2. Pour the mixture into 2 glasses and add a drinking straw to each. This recipe makes about 2 cups.

Variation

To make a chocolate milk shake, leave out the vanilla extract and add 2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup instead.

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Fruity Pops

1 package Kool-Aid powder

1 package Jell-O powder

11/4 cups sugar

3/4 cup hot water

3/4 cup cold water

1. Mix the dry ingredients thoroughly in a bowl.

2. Measure 6 tablespoons of the dry ingredients into another bowl, then stir in the hot and cold water.

3. Pour the mixture into Popsicle-type molds and freeze the treats.

4. Store the remaining dry ingredients in an airtight container for future use.

Fruit Dip

1/2 cup yogurt, any flavor

1/2 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

Fruit slices, such as apple, orange, banana, pear, or melon

1. Thoroughly mix the yogurt and whipped topping in a small bowl.

2. Dunk the fruit pieces in the dip. Enjoy!

3. Refrigerate any leftover dip and use it within a couple of days.

Carrot-Raisin Salad

3 carrots, peeled

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained

1/3 cup salad dressing or mayonnaise

2 teaspoons white vinegar

2 teaspoons sugar

1. Grate the carrots into a medium bowl. Stir in the raisins and pineapple.

2. Thoroughly mix the salad dressing, vinegar, and sugar. Stir this mixture into the carrot mixture. This recipe makes about 2 cups of salad.

Trail Mix

Dried fruit

Chocolate chips or M&M’s

Peanuts

Granola (optional)

1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Use whatever amounts you like or try 1/2 cup each of fruit, chocolate chips or M&M’s, and nuts with 1 cup of granola.

2. Store the trail mix in an airtight container or in small Ziploc bags that can be packed in lunches or enjoyed as after-school snacks.

Waffle Sandwich

2 frozen waffles

Peanut butter

Jam, jelly, or honey

4–6 banana slices

1. Toast the waffles in a toaster.

2. Spread peanut butter and jam, jelly, or honey on 1 waffle and top it with banana slices and the other waffle.

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S’mores

Graham crackers

Chocolate squares or chocolate chips

Large marshmallows

1. For each s’more, place a graham cracker on a plate or a paper towel. Top the cracker with a chocolate square or several chocolate chips and 1 marshmallow.

2. Microwave the s’more on high for 20 seconds or until the marshmallow starts to puff up. Remove it from the microwave, top it with another cracker, and enjoy!

Finger Gelatin

3 packets unflavored gelatin

One 12-ounce can frozen juice concentrate, thawed

11/2 cups water

1. Mix the gelatin and the juice. Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan.

2. Stir the juice-gelatin mixture into the boiling water until the gelatin dissolves.

3. Pour the mixture into a lightly greased shallow pan and refrigerate it until it sets (about 2 hours).

4. Cut the gelatin with cookie cutters or a knife.