Meals so easy a child could make them

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

This school year absolutely flew by. It seems like time has gone by so quickly since Christmas break. The pace at which time passes is almost scary at times, which is why we try our best to enjoy every single minute.

One of those enjoyable times are the after-school clubs at our daughter's school. For about four weeks, there are dozens of different clubs that meet after school covering a variety of topics. This year our daughter chose to take the Kids in the Kitchen class. The class was broken into four weeks, covering a different meal each week. I did not have room to include every single recipe, but chose the ones I thought you might like to tuck away for a little cook in your life.

Week 1 started with breakfast. Everyone loves breakfast foods, so this was a great place to start.

Stuffed French Toast

2 eggs, beaten

1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup milk

4 ounces cream cheese

1/2 cup strawberry or raspberry fruit spread

8 slices whole-wheat bread

2 tablespoons butter

Maple syrup

Beat eggs, vanilla and milk in a shallow bowl. Mix together cream cheese and fruit spread. Using 2 slices of bread, spread cream cheese/fruit mixture on 1 slice, top with second slice. Continue until you have 4 sandwiches. Dip each sandwich in egg mixture, then fry in heated skillet with melted butter. Cut each sandwich into 4 sticks, dip in syrup. Yields 4 servings.

Berry Yogurt Cups

1 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

1 (6-ounce) carton vanilla yogurt

1 teaspoon sugar

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Divide strawberries and blueberries among 4 bowls. In another small bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar and cinnamon. Spoon over fruit. Yields 4 servings.

Week 2 was spent cooking lunch menu items. The potato wedges are good and easy, just perfect for our daughter to make for lunch or dinner.

Mini Subs

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

4 hot dog buns

4 slices American cheese

1/4 pound sliced deli ham

1/4 pound sliced deli turkey

4 slices tomato, halved

1 cup shredded lettuce

Spread mayonnaise over cut side of bun bottoms. Layer with cheese, ham, turkey, tomato and lettuce. Replace bun tops. Yields 4 servings.

Potato Wedges

4 medium baking potatoes

1/3 cup finely crushed corn flakes

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ranch salad dressing

Scrub and pierce potatoes. Place on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high 18 to 20 minutes, turning once. Cool slightly. While potatoes cook, combine corn flakes, cheese, paprika and salt. Cut each potato lengthwise into quarters. Brush with salad dressing and sprinkle with corn flake mixture. Place potato wedges on a broiler pan. Broil 4 inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve with additional salad dressing if desired.

Seasoned Green Beans

4 cans green beans, drained

1 can beef broth

6 slices bacon

1 onion, finely chopped

Place the bacon slices on a microwave safe plate. Microwave bacon for 4 to 5 minutes, rotating plate once. While bacon is cooking, open the cans of green beans. Drain and discard the liquid. Pour green beans into a large pan. Add the can of beef broth and the finely chopped onion. Bring the liquid to a boil. Cover the pot, and simmer for 15 minutes. While beans are cooking, crumble the bacon. Stir the bacon in after beans are finished cooking.

Week 3 came with recipes for dinner. The mac and cheese is different with cauliflower as one of the ingredients, but quite tasty.

Cheeseburger Meatloaf

1 pound lean ground beef

1 (10-ounce) can condensed Cheddar cheese soup

1 cup quick uncooked oats

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

In bowl, combine beef, 3/4 can soup, oats, salt and pepper. Mix well. Spoon mixture into a 10-inch glass pie plate. Spread remaining soup on top of meatloaf. Place pie plate in microwave. Cook on high power for 22 minutes, rotating plate once during baking. Yields 4 servings.

Whole-wheat Mac and Cheese

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup chicken stock

1 1/2 cups milk

2 cups shredded Cheddar

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 pound cooked whole-wheat macaroni

1 pound frozen cauliflower, cooked according to package directions

Cook the macaroni for 9 minutes in a pan of boiling salted water. Also, following the package directions, cook the cauliflower until it is barely tender. In saucepan, melt butter over medium low heat. Add flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in chicken stock and milk. Thicken sauce for 5 minutes, then stir in cheese, season with salt and pepper. Stir in Dijon mustard. Toss sauce with macaroni and cauliflower. Yields 4 servings.

And the teacher logically saved dessert for last. The pizza cake was a big hit with our daughter.

Pizza Cake

1 package (18 1/4-ounce) yellow cake mix, plus ingredients called for on package directions to prepare as directed

1 cup vanilla frosting

Red paste food color

3 squares (1 ounce each) white baking chocolate, grated

2 strawberry fruit roll-ups

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Pour the batter into two greased and floured 9-inch round baking pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean and cake is golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Place each cake on a 10-inch serving platter. Combine the frosting and food coloring; spread over the top of each cake to within 1/2-inch of edges. Sprinkle with grated white chocolate, meant to look like cheese. Unroll fruit roll-ups. Use a 1 1/2-inch round cutter to cut into circles, as to resemble pepperoni. Arrange on cakes. Yields 2 cakes. 6 to 8 servings each.

All of the after-school clubs are finished for this year, and they were a huge success. We will be anxious to see what clubs will be offered next year.

I am out of room, so until next week, happy cooking.

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

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