Beat the Afterschool Slump with Kid-Friendly Snacks
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
The end of summer is a big deal for kids. If your young ones have already gone back to school, they’re transitioning from camp and family vacations to rowdy rides on the school bus, binders filled with homework and snacks before soccer practice. If they haven’t gone back yet, those days are coming up fast. This school year, ease their back-to-school shift with easy kid-friendly snacks. These recipes for kid-friendly midday refueling will satisfy and re-energize your kids while still leaving room for dinner. Here are some wholesome, homemade Food Network favorites:
Salty square crackers are suited to so much more than out-of-the-box snacking. Take it from Trisha, who drizzles saltines with butter, brown sugar and chocolate for Sweet and Saltines (pictured above), reaching that perfect cross between salty and sweet. Hey, it’s a whole lot better than passing kids a candy bar.
Instead of peeling open a store-bought granola bar, hand your kids a bar that was made right at home. Once they try these nourishing squares of oats, nuts, coconut and dried fruit, the only granola bars your kids will be begging for are Homemade Granola Bars.
Before you unleash a bag of greasy potato chips on your kids, think about giving your kids a crunch factor that won’t slow them down. Alex Guarnaschelli bakes Apple Chips by the batch, sweetening the thinly sliced fruit with an easy-to-make simple syrup to make them shiny and even crispier.
You could buy trail mix by the bag, but fixing your own loaded batch is definitely the way to go. For Pumpkin Seed-Dried Cherry Trail Mix, just toss pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds and sunflower seeds in pure maple syrup before baking. You can store cooled trail mix in an airtight container so it’s ready when the kids fly in the door.
And that’s just the start of it. Food Network’s guide to Snacks for Kids is a go-to resource for parents and kids, loaded with wholesome, out-of-routine homemade snacks. Have them ready to go after school, or load up plastic baggies for on-the-go snacking.
Smoothie of the Month: Blueberry and Chia Seed
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
Here is a simple nutritious smoothie for getting back into a post-vacation routine. Although it tastes like summer and is delicious when made with fresh blueberries, the smoothie can be prepared well into the fall with frozen berries of any kind.
Famous for their endurance-supporting qualities, chia seeds also give the smoothie an Omega-3 boost and provide fiber and protein that can help keep sippers satisfied. Since the seeds thicken when soaked, they also add body and a creamy texture to the smoothie once blended. The coconut butter supplies a touch of richness and also a hint of sweet flavor that tastes great with blueberries and vanilla.
Blueberry and Chia Seed Smoothie
Make 1 large or 2 small smoothies
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1½ cups almond milk, divided
1 cup blueberries
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 heaping tablespoon coconut butter or coconut oil
Raw honey, to taste
Place chia seeds in a cup or jar, add ½ cup almond milk and stir thoroughly to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes or store in the fridge overnight (the mix will keep up to 4 days in the fridge). Place in an upright blender with remaining ingredients and blend until smooth, adding honey to taste.
Amy Chaplin is a chef and recipe developer in New York City. Her cookbook At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen is available this fall. She blogs at Coconut & Quinoa.
Photo by Stephen Johnson
In the Kitchen With: Katie Workman
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
For thousands of us, fall is the real season of renewal, when back-to-school planning encompasses everything from freshly sharpened pencils to visions of easier, tastier — and saner — mealtimes. If those visions are starting to blur a couple of weeks into the new routine, take heart and meet Katie Workman. The mother of an 11- and a 14-year-old, she is the author of The Mom 100 Cookbook: 100 Recipes Every Mom Needs in Her Back Pocket.
The book’s frank and funny tone, elevated comfort food and down-to-earth suggestions for involving kids in the kitchen have endeared Workman to legions of fans (and helped spawn a sequel due out next summer). Last month, she stopped by Food Network Kitchen in New York’s Chelsea Market to make her Taco Night tacos and dish on late-night cooking, the one kitchen tool she can’t live without and annoying food habits all parents should avoid. Here are some questions and answers from our conversation, plus three family-friendly recipes worth incorporating into your repertoire right now. (For more on Katie’s visit, check out The One Recipe: Katie Workman’s Taco Night Tacos.)
Food Network Kitchen: How often do you cook?
Katie Workman: Every day — though not necessarily at dinnertime. I’ll come home from an evening out and cook food for the next day. My kids are like, “Can we please order pizza?” and I’m like, “No.”
FNK: But you admit you do go out sometimes. Is that where you get your inspiration?
KW: Not really. It’s more from the food I might come across at a market or shop. When I see beautiful food in the prepared-food case, I look at it closely to figure out what’s in there and how I can replicate it.
FNK: You come from cookbook royalty. [Workman's parents founded Workman Publishing.] Cookbooks must play a part in your meals, too.
KW: I taught myself to cook from The Silver Palate Cookbook. It was so different from everything else at the time. It had an energy and joyfulness. It’s about how entertaining can be fun, lively and exciting. The recipes have a genius combination of flavors. And now they are so recognizable. Once my friend came over and looked in the fridge. “Is that Chicken Marbella?” she asked. She could spot it in a leftovers container! From Cucina Rustica I learned about good ingredients and the importance of taking something away — the beauty of just a few ingredients. David Tannis, Mark Bittman and Ina Garten‘s books were huge for me, too. Now, I rarely use a cookbook to follow a recipe through. I use it for inspiration.
FNK: What about equipment — do you have a desert-island pan you can’t live without?
KW: Yes! The 6-quart All-Clad saute pan with lid. I cook large amounts of food and do it very often.
FNK: What’s your biggest peeve when it comes to food and kids?
KW: I don’t think it’s attractive for people to brag about what good eaters their kids are. On the other hand, I also don’t like it when they say, “All my kid will eat is chicken nuggets.” You have to ask, “What are you putting on the table every night?” There’s so much processed food out there — even if it’s vegetarian or organic — it makes children unfamiliar with real food. It’s OK for kids not to like everything. I don’t like everything. If they don’t like Brussels sprouts, it doesn’t mean they don’t like all vegetables. You have to keep trying.
FNK: What are the home runs from the book?
KW: People go berserk for the Fudgy One-Pot Brownies. And the Lemon Chicken gets you over your fear of the broiler. It was inspired by the Lemon Chicken at Rao’s, where I got to eat once in my life. You broil the chicken and make an incredibly simple sauce you just pour over it. A lot of sauce remains, so you have to serve it over a starch like rice or potatoes.
FNK: Why do you cook?
KW: The great motivator for me is other people. I like to cook knowing someone is going to be eating it. That’s the joy of cooking. It’s not about the technicality — it’s about comfort and flavor.
Get the recipes from The Mom 100 Cookbook: 100 Recipes Every Mom Needs in Her Back Pocket:
Fudgy One-Pot Brownies
Barbecue: A Classic and a New Kid
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
by Michelle Park
There is arguably no other American cooking tradition quite as lore ridden as barbecue. This month, we’ve handpicked two cookbooks devoted to that mouthwatering marriage of meat and smoke that will urge you to partake before summer officially ends. The first is one of the most-classic books we have on the subject, and the second is sure to become one.
The Complete Book of Outdoor Cookery, James A. Beard and Helen Evans Brown (1955)
When navigating something as American as barbecue, who better to turn to than quintessential American cooks? A little antiquated on some fronts, pheasant being less common than it used to be, The Complete Book still has much to offer anyone entering the foray of outdoor cooking — something tells me corn pudding and grilled sausages won’t go out of style anytime soon. Inside, you’ll find a handy guide of times and temperatures for nearly every cut of meat you can put over a fire. True to its title, the book also dedicates entire chapters to tried-and-true sauces, marinades, appetizers and sides to round out your all-American feast — each, of course, matched with its ideal meat pairings. At once authoritative and approachable, this book is the trustworthy friend you’ll consult before any cookout. The American palate may have since graduated beyond French dressing, but we think this book is here to stay.
The New Kid
Smoke: New Firewood Cooking, Tim Byres (2013)
Tim Byres is the co-owner and chef of the acclaimed Dallas restaurant Smoke and, most recently, the author of a James Beard Award-winning cookbook of the same name. Smoke starts out modestly enough, with homemade rubs, pickles and a host of bright sides to beautifully complement your meat. Then, for its greater half, it dives headfirst into four grand barbecue feasts: a seafood boil, a pig roast, a campfire breakfast and a Tejano barbacoa, all meticulously planned out, from the drum grill you’ll need to build to the Mezcal and Key Lime Meringue Pie you’ll serve for dessert. What’s most refreshing about Byres is that he doesn’t spend too much time coaxing you into believing all this work will be worth it. He just starts digging a barbacoa pit and fully expects you’ll join in. He briskly walks you through different types of firewood, tools and chiles, then describes a pig roast with the same efficiency. There’s even a section on canning safety and method. The recipes can be involved — like the Pork Jowl Bacon with Half-Sour Cucumber Salad, which combines no less than four separate recipes. But the gorgeous photos and Byres’ informative blurbs are all the convincing you’ll need, making Smoke a great pick if you’re looking to step up your barbecue game.
Vote on Your Least-Favorite Foods as a Kid — Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
On this past Sunday’s episode of Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off, the kids faced one of their toughest challenges yet, cooking their least-liked foods. And they couldn’t lie to Rachael and Guy — their parents were on hand to spill the beans on what the kids really hate the most. The whole idea behind the mini challenge was to, hopefully, get the kids to like those foods, or at least find an appreciation for them. And along with Rachael and Guy, each kid chef had to taste his or her creation, so there was no getting out of it. It’s worth mentioning that some kids didn’t change their minds!
Thinking back to when you were a kid, what was your least-liked food? It was most likely an ingredient, like a vegetable, that now, as an adult, you don’t mind or maybe even love. Brussels sprouts? Yeah, they stank, but wasn’t it always because Mom overcooked them? You know better that the little cabbages are perfect roasted or sauteed, not boiled to within an inch of their lives.
Vote in the poll below, and if you don’t see the ingredient you didn’t like, feel free to add it.
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See Food Network talent dish on the foods they hated as kids below.