Posted August 13, 2013 04:09 pm - Updated August 14, 2013 10:41 am
Send kids off with something healthy for lunch – from home
When kids are given healthy choices and permitted to participate in the planning (and preparing) of their school lunches, it’s likely they will select foods that will make everyone happy. Containers that come with built-in, leak-proof ice lids make it easier than ever to take a variety of good-for-you foods to school, including salads. In addition, it’s always a good idea to keep a variety of fresh fruit on hand, such as apples, grapes and bananas, for taking to school, and should you find yourself with a surplus of over-ripe bananas, they won’t go to waste if used to make a quick bread. Not only are quick breads excellent as part of a school lunch meal or for a snack, but they also make good eating for breakfast. Quick breads are exceptionally easy to make and even novice bakers can expect impressive results. Made without yeast, quick breads achieve their rise from the leveling agents they contain – such as baking soda or baking powder, which begin to work from the moment they come into contact with the liquids in your recipe. In the case of “double acting” baking powder, an additional rise occurs when the batter is placed in a preheated oven. School’s starting in many areas around the country for our kids. Let’s send them off with some new and great things – including a healthy lunch from home.
Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Build a Salad for School Lunches
• Be sure to rinse and dry lettuce and veggies.
• Put heavier items, such as carrots, or foods that contain a lot of liquid (like sliced cucumber or cut tomatoes) into the bottom of a container, preferably one that comes with an ice container in the lid fitted with a good seal.
• Place lettuce on top of veges. Do not over pack or stuff the container. Kids will need room to toss (shake) the salad with the dressing later.
• For a hit of protein, top lettuce with things like chickpeas, or sliced meat or chicken (something from last night’s supper is good).
• Seal container and refrigerate if making the night before. Don’t forget to pack a small container of salad dressing, too, sealing it in a plastic zip-lock bag in case of a leak.
• When ready to eat salad, pour on dressing. Reseal container and shake.
Good Nut Bread
Makes 1 (8 x 4 x 2-inch) loaf
2 cups all-purpose flour (measure flour by spooning into a measuring cup, then leveling off with the flat end of a knife)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 cup milk
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup sliced toasted walnuts (directions follow)
Grease bottom and ½ inch up the sides of an 8 x 4 x 2-inch loaf pan; set aside. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the egg, milk and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened. (Don’t worry if your batter is lumpy. It’s supposed to be that way.) Fold in nuts. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake in a 350-degree* oven for about 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing onto a wire rack to cool completely. When cool, tightly wrap and store in refrigerator overnight before slicing. Will keep refrigerated up to 1 week; in the freezer for up to 1 month. Makes 1 loaf.
*Kitchen Ade note: If using a dark baking pan, reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
Chocolate Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1½ cups all-purpose flour (measure flour by spooning into a measuring cup, then leveling off with the flat end of a knife)
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (2 medium) bananas, mashed
½ cup sour cream
½ cup toasted chopped walnuts or pecans (directions follow)
1/3 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.* Grease and flour two (7½ x 3 x 2-inch) loaf pans.* Cream butter with sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Stir flour mixture into creamed mixture, blending well. Add vanilla, bananas, sour cream, nuts and chocolate chips. Spoon batter into prepared pans. Bake for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes, then remove to wire rack to finish cooling. When cool, tightly wrap and store in refrigerator overnight before slicing. Will keep refrigerated up to 1 week; in the freezer for up to 1 month. Makes 2 loaves.
*Kitchen Ade Note: If you don’t have 7½ x 3 x 2-inch pans, use a 9 x 5 x 3-inch pan and increase baking time by about 5 minutes. If using dark pans, reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
Whenever you use nuts in a recipe that calls for nuts that are “toasted,” toast the nuts before slicing or chopping them.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread nuts on a baking sheet and toast for about 5 minutes or until golden brown, shaking the pan a few times for even toasting. Remove from oven onto a paper towel to cool. (Do not skip this step; nuts left on the baking pan will continue to darken.)
Cook nuts over medium heat, tossing until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Remove nuts to a paper towel to cool. (Do not skip this step; nuts left on the baking pan will continue to darken.)
Spread nuts evenly on a flat microwave-safe dish. Cook on HIGH power for 3 to 4 minutes for ½ cup of nuts and 4 to 5 minutes for 1 cup. Stir nuts few times during cooking period. Do not overcook; nuts will continue to darken after they are removed from the oven.