Kids are back to school and you’re back to your routine. Even though I'm a full-grown, college-educated adult with no kids of my own, the start of September is still back-to-school season for me, because I'm a school counsellor. All three recipes below are healthy, nutritious and most importantly, tasty enough for even the pickiest eaters. These are convenient make-ahead recipes even for the busiest parents!
Seasoning saltines using an altered method from Joanna Gaines friend Beck, makes crisp, buttery crackers that are great with creamy dips like my hummus. They're also really yummy on top of soups or salads. I like them for parties and kids school snacks because they're easy to make and can be prepared in advance. In fact, these taste better if you eat them a day or four later. And they can be so filling, they're sure to be a huge hit!
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 0.7 ounce envelopes dry Italian or Mediterranean dressing mix
- 1 tablespoon crush red pepper flakes (leave out if you or the kiddos don't like pepper)
- 1 tablespoon dried dill (not necessary if you use the Mediterranean mix)
- 1 1lb box saltine crackers
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large (14-16 cup) deep container, with a tight-fitting lid, combine the oil, lemon juice, dressing mix, pepper flakes and dill. Whisk to combine.
- Add the crackers and turn them over a few times to ensure they are fully coated. Let stand for 5 minutes, turning the crackers over twice.
- Place the crackers on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, allow to cool then store for tomorrow's snack!
- To make the hummus, mix one can of chickpeas with remaining oil mixture (about 1/4 cup) and 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese in a food processor.
Apple Cheese Wraps (serves 4 )
Do you remember eating Lunchables as a kid? I never liked them. I liked the idea behind it but it always tasted fake (not to mention my parents complained about the price). If you have kids who love Lunchables, why not save money by making it yourself? It's so easy and so much healthier because you'll know exactly what's in it. This snack covers all of the critical food groups with fibre, protein and good carbs. The best part? It's fully customisable. Add nuts or grapes or whatever else you like for added health benefits.
Prep Time: 2 mins
- 1 apple
- 1 slice lemon
- 2 slices cheddar cheese, cut in half
- 2 slices pre-sliced deli turkey or ham, cut in half
1. Slice the apple into 1/2 inch thick slices. Rub the apple with the lemon wedge to prevent from going brown.
2. Slice the cheddar cheese into 1/2 inch wide slices and the ham in 1/2 or in 1/4 (the ham needs to be large enough to wrap around the apple).
3. Place an apple slice and a cheese slice on top of the deli meat and fold over deli meat to wrap.
4. Serves with crackers and a dip of your choice for a satisfying on the go snack.
Gluten Free Sandwich on a Stick
It's the kids' turn to pack their own lunches. Introduce them to this submarine skewer and they'll have a blast expressing their creativity and sliding on their favorite sandwich ingredients. Best of all, it's practically mess-free since the dressings will have to be on the side—no knives, squirting, or spreading required.
8 (6-inch) skewers
4 oz. deli sliced lemon chicken or smoked turkey breast
1 cup chopped arugula or spinach
4 oz. your favourite cheese, cut into small squares
1 cup grape tomatoes
1/2 cup small dill pickles
3/4 cup ranch dressing or deli mustard (optional)
1. Soak skewers in water for 30 minutes.
2 Thread skewers with chicken (or turkey) arugula, cheese, tomatoes and pickles. Serve with ranch dressing or mustard for dipping.