Snacks and lunch-box treats on the menu

Wednesday, August 6, 2003

Our church has just recently finished vacation Bible school, and what a great week it was. The children enjoyed many fun activities but at the same time learned some very important messages. A great portion of the extra activities involved animals. Each night there were different animals that visited the children during their worship time. The children had a good time, and whew, it's over for another year.

Another favorite activity each evening was the snack time. Nicole and Michele did a great job organizing and planning for a neat treat each evening. One of the favorite snacks of the week were the homemade funnel cakes, made by Don and Sue Hunt. This dynamic couple of fryers served up a hot, powdered sugar-covered treat that pleased everyone. As we all enjoyed the treat, it made us think of how quickly fair time is approaching.

I will share a recipe with you for funnel cakes, and maybe this will hold you over until the fair in a few weeks.

Funnel Cake

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

1 1/4 cups flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Beat together all listed ingredients. Pour liquid Crisco oil into an electric fryer about half full. Pour one large spoonful of mix in a funnel, but put your finger over the bottom hole to keep it from running out until you are ready. When grease is hot, place funnel over grease and remove your finger and swirl the mix in hot fryer. Cook one side until brown, flip over and cook other side. Take out and place on paper towel to drain and sprinkle sifted powdered sugar over hot cake.

Don and Sue enjoy cooking and they have shared a couple of their favorite recipes with me. They said this salad is really delicious on a hot summer day.

Frosty Strawberry Salad Circles

1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, packed in juice

1 (8-ounce) container reduced-fat soft-style cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups chopped strawberries

1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Drain pineapple, reserving 2 tablespoons of the juice. In a medium-size bowl, with an electric mixer on high speed, beat the reserved juice, cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla until smooth and fluffy. Fold in the pineapple, strawberries and pecans. Spoon the mixture into three 12-ounce juice concentrate cans, or into a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan. Cover and freeze for six hours or until firm. Tear off the paper from the juice cans and let the salad stand at room temperature for 35 to 45 minutes to thaw slightly. Or let the salad in the loaf pan stand for 15 to 20 minutes. Cut into nine round slices, or cut the loaf pan salad lengthwise in half, then crosswise to make eight equal pieces. To serve, place on salad plates lined with butterhead lettuce. This makes eight or nine side-dish servings.

Don and Sue have made this strawberry cake on many occasions and Don remarked that it is very moist, and even better on the second day.

Strawberry Cake

1 box white cake mix

1 package strawberry gelatin

1/2 cup oil

Few drops red food coloring

1/2 cup water

4 eggs

1/4 cup strawberries, drained

Prepare a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or three 8-inch round baking pans. Combine all ingredients; mix well. Pour into a greased and floured pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Allow to cool, then frost with the following icing.

For the icing: 1 stick margarine; 1 box powdered sugar; 1/2 cup strawberries, drained, reserving liquid. Combine margarine, sugar and strawberries; add red food coloring, if desired, and enough juice from the berries to make the frosting easy to spread.

Jackie Mueller of Jackson shares a dessert recipe that she just raved over. She said it is delicious and very easy to make.

Banana Cheesecake Dessert

2 packages (21.4 ounces each) strawberry no-bake cheesecake mix

3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

1/4 cup sugar

3 cups cold milk

1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, well drained

3 medium-firm bananas, sliced

1/2 cup chocolate ice cream topping, warmed, divided

1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping, divided

1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed

1/3 cup chopped pecans

Maraschino cherries with stems

Set aside filling and strawberry topping packets from cheesecake mixes. Place the contents of the crumb crust mix packets in a large bowl; add butter and sugar. Press into an ungreased 13-by-9-by-2-inch pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine the milk and contents of filling packets. Beat on low speed until blended. Beat on high for 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Spread over the crust. Refrigerate for an hour. Spread contents of strawberry topping packets over cheesecake. Top with pineapple and bananas. Drizzle with 1/4 cup of chocolate topping and 1/4 cup caramel topping. Spread with whipped topping, making a note that your dish will be very full. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until set. Before serving, drizzle with remaining chocolate and caramel toppings. Top with pecans and cherries. Yields 16 to 20 servings.

My niece Christa received a smoothie machine for her birthday and absolutely loves it. She may even be a little fruity after eating so many smoothies lately. But here is a nice cold shake to enjoy on a hot summer day, and you don't need a smoothie machine to make it.

Hawaiian Shake

2 ripe bananas

1 cup crushed pineapple, undrained

1 cup vanilla ice cream

Milk or pineapple juice to blend

Whipped cream

Toasted coconut

Toasted slivered almonds

Combine in blender the bananas, pineapple, ice cream and milk or juice. Pour into glasses. Top with whipped cream. Sprinkle with coconut and almonds. Sit back and enjoy with a friend. Makes 2 servings.

In only a week, we will be heading off to school once again for another year. Do your children have lunch-box favorites? Every year, someone always writes in and asks what they can do for creative lunch-box treats. Write in and tell us about your child's, or your favorite lunchtime favorites. We will share these over the next couple of weeks.

So, until next time, have a great week, and happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at or by mail at P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63701. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by the Southeast Missourian staff.

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