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Back to school snacks


September 7, 2017

School is in session and the school lunch dilemma has come to the fore. Some kids will eat anything provided, and others have extremely discriminating tastes. Parents pack a nice, well balanced lunch including a treat item, only to find, the treat and maybe the string cheese were the only items eaten, or hot school lunch was skipped or only half eaten. Parents, how do you handle the lunch routine.

Two things I would not eat in the school lunches back in the “dark ages”, were spinach, because the saturated it with vinegar and a concoction called “Football Stew”, made from diced Spam and a pale gravy over instant mashed potatoes. So I have limited advice to offer parents of picky eaters.

One thought comes to mind from listening to several parents, to many choices are being offered. Try this, the parent picks one item and the student picks one item. The rule is the student must eat the parents choice first.

One thing I liked to find in my lunch on “spinach days” was oatmeal cookies. I know most kids aren’t fond of them so I offer here instead, Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies, a recipe I found on a Nestles Chocolate Chip bag in 1976. Not quite a peanut butter cup, but just as good.

Chocolate Chip

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup peanut butter, any style

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 tsp water

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease, or line with parchment paper, cookie sheets and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine, butter, peanut butter, sugars and vanilla, beat until creamy. Beat in eggs and water.

In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Stir into creamed mixture until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips, and the nuts, if using.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes until golden and set. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: 100 two inch cookies.

Note: these are really good made with dark chocolate chips.

There is one oatmeal cookie recipe I have come across that most kids like. Double Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies are chocolate rich and crispy. They are easy to make and freeze well. If you are planning to ship cookies to service men this one ships well.

Double Chocolate

Oatmeal Cookies

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup butter, softened

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3 cups quick oatmeal

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease or line with parchment paper, cookie sheets and set aside.

Combine sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.

Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Stir into creamed mixture. Stir in oatmeal and chocolate chips. Dough will be very stiff. Add up to 1/4 cup water, if need to make dough cling together. Form into tablespoon-size balls and place on prepared cookie sheets. Flatten slightly with a fork or the bottom of a drinking glass. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Yield; 4 dozen.

Note: I often use mini-chocolate chips because they spread throughout the dough evenly.

Sandwiches seem to be the thing parents struggle to get kids to eat when packed in a lunch. Some times a whole sandwich looks daunting when you are in a hurry to get outside for as much recess time possible. Try packing just a half sandwich, or using hamburger buns. A round burger bun doesn’t look as big as a whole sandwich cut in half.

Kids, I would like to include your ideas of what makes a perfect sack lunch. What is a favorite lunch item that both you and your parents agree is a healthy food choice to include in your lunch sack? Maybe you have a recipe for a lunch item you would like to share in this column and help your friends have great lunches too.

When I was growing up refrigerator biscuits in a can came out. Homemakers quickly developed ways to use them for dishes other than biscuits, One recipe was mini pizzas. You rolled the biscuit thin, added pizza sauce and whatever else you wanted for toppings, baked for 15-20 minutes and enjoyed.

Pizza sauce is easy to make in a slow-cooker and preserve extra tomatoes from your garden. Puree in the blender and freeze for quick meals and after school snacks. Crock-pot Pizza Sauce is a mild, lightly spiced sauce, but you can add any other favorite pizza spices or increase amounts to suit your families taste.

Crock-pot Pizza Sauce

9 quarts peeled and chopped tomatoes

2 cans (12 ounces each) tomato paste

1 Tbsp salt

2 Tbsp granulated sugar

1 tsp ground oregano

1 Tbsp crushed dried basil

1 tsp Italian seasoning

If the tomatoes are very juice, drain after chopping in a wire mesh colander for 1 hour.

Combine all ingredients in large slow-cooker and cook on low over night or for 12 hours. Cool one hour and puree in batches in blender. Place mixture in a large kettle and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer one hour. Cool and pack into freezer containers. Yield: about 30 cups sauce.

Share your favorite sack lunch items and recipes and any other favorite recipes by sending them to: Welcome to My Kitchen, c/o The Odessa Record, P.O. box458, Odessa, WA 99159, email or drop them in the Welcome to My Kitchen mail tin in The Odessa Record office. Pull those sneaky pig root and red root weeds hiding out in gardens and flowerbeds to prevent seed spreading to sprout next spring.


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