Monday, November 30, 2009

Once-A-Month Cooking Festival: Snack Time

The appetite of a growing child knows no end. The more active children are, the more calories they burn, and the more often they need to refuel; consequently, the more often we need to feed their hungry tummies. For me, it often seems like I just finish cleaning up one meal, when there my boys are, in the kitchen, wanting something to eat again. If we could make a whole bunch of healthy snacks ahead of time so they were all ready to go when we needed them, this would be a great source of mercy in our lives!

Recently, I heard Jonni McCoy, author of Miserly Moms, talking on Focus on the Family about making homemade snacks. She said she often made tons of cookie dough at one time, and then froze what she didn't need right then. That way, you would already have everything ready to pop a pan of cookies in the oven (if your kids won't die from hunger within the 12 minutes they're baking!). :) There are plenty of recipes for healthy cookies out there. I love oatmeal apricot cookies. Apricots are a great source of Vitamin-A, and you probably know all about the health benefits of oatmeal already. :)

You could make up dry muffin mixes ahead of time in a large quantity and store them in Ziploc baggies. One very versatile mix I've found (courtesy of University of WY Cooperative Extension Service) is this Master Mix recipe:

4 c. enriched flour
3-3/4 c. whole-wheat flour
1/4 c. baking powder
3 T. sugar
1 T. iodized salt
1-1/3 c. nonfat dry milk powder
1 c. canola oil

-In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Drizzle oil over mixture, cut in with pastry blender, fork or fingers until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Store in covered container in refrigerator.  Keeps about 3 months.

You can use it to make breadsticks, muffins, pancakes, cobblers, tortillas and much more in a cinch.
For breadsticks:
1 c. mix
1/2 c. flour
3/4 c. water
Mix dry ingredients. Add water to form dough. Knead 12 times. Shape into pencil like strands, 1/2" thick. Cut into three inch lengths (or whatever you want.) Roll in sesame seeds if desired. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 400-degrees F for 20 minutes or until brown.

For muffins:
3 c. + 2 T. Master Mix
3 T. sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 c. water
Combine mix and water. Blend egg and water, add to mix. Stir gently until dry ingredients are moistened. Fill well-greased muffin pans 2/3 way full. 400-degree F for 20 minutes. Makes 1 dozen (a little bland but not too bad).

Pancakes (this is a great recipe)
2 c. mix
1-1/4 water or milk
1 egg, beaten
For waffles: simply add 1 T. oil

Berry Cobbler (sooooo good!)
3 c. berries (frozen mixed berries, thawed are great)
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg, well beaten
1-1/2 c. master mix
1/4 c. sugar
2 T. canola oil
1/2 c. water
Combine berries, sugar and egg in a greased baking dish or 8 x 8 pan. Combine mix, sugar, oil and water in mixing bowl. Spread over berries. 400- for 30 minutes.

Peanut Butter Refrigerator Cookies
2 c. mix
3/4 c. sugar
1-3/4 c. peanut butter
2 eggs, beaten
3 T. water
1 t. vanilla
Combine mix and sugar. With fork, blend in rest of ingredients. Shape dough into two logs about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap logs in waxed paper and refrigerate until firm or until needed. Cut into slices 1/4" thick and place on ungreased cookie sheet. 375 for 10-12 minutes. 3-4 dozen cookies.

What snacks do you like to make in large quantities?

I'd love for you to share your own ideas about this topic, or any other about bulk steps to ease meal-prep!
(Having some problems getting the link widget...for now, go ahead and use the comment section, and I'll keep trying to get it to work).

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