Kid Friendly Snack Pack Fall Trifles

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SnackPackMixins #CollectiveBias

The kids come running in the door off the bus and the serenity of the house is instantly gone. Three kids hyped up after a day of school and a long bus ride create chaos when they get home. If we have a snack ready, we find it much easier to get into our afternoon routine. The other day we changed up our snack routine and made it a snack activity using pudding cups. The kids LOVED it. Check out our Snack Pack Fall Trifles …

Snack Pack Fall Trifle

When you head to your local Walmart, you can find displays that feature Snack Packs, Oreos, and Nutter Butters. We used these to create your after school snack activity!

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We started with crushing the Oreos. I crushed 2 cookies for each kid.

TIP: A rolling pin and a freezer storage bag make this an easy task!

Halloween Snack Pack TrifleHalloween Snack Pack Trifle-2

We scooped the Snack Pack Pudding (vanilla flavor) out of the cup and into a bowl. We added red and yellow food coloring to make orange colored pudding.

Halloween Snack Pack Trifle-3

Halloween Snack Pack Trifle-4

We then layered the pudding, Oreo cookie crumbs, and Reddi Whip back in the Snack Pack pudding cups!

Halloween Snack Pack Trifle-5

Finally it was time to taste and the kids sure enjoyed them!

Halloween Snack Pack Trifle-7

So how do you make your own?

Snack Pack Fall Trifles

Ingredients

  • 2 Oreos for each trifle
  • Snack Pack Vanilla Pudding
  • Reddi Whip
  • Red and Yellow food coloring

Directions:

  1. Crush the Oreos in a freezer zipper bag using a rolling pin.
  2. Empty the Snack Pack Vanilla Pudding out of the cup into a little bowl.
  3. Add 2 drops of red and 1 drop of yellow food coloring to make your pudding orange in color.
  4. Clean out your Snack Pack container (so you can see the trifle)
  5. Layer your treat back in the Snack Pack pudding container: orange colored Snack Pack Vanilla pudding, crushed Oreos, and Reddi Whip. Repeat layering again
  6. Top the Reddi Whip with crushed Oreos.

Find more ideas over on Pinterest …

Find more Halloween and Fall snack creations on Pinterest

Have you tried a snack activity after school? Let us know what you think about the Snack Pack Fall Trifles by leaving a comment!

Chicken Snack Lunches for Busy Summer Days #ChickenFryTime

Thanks to Collective Bias® for making this post about Tyson Chicken Fries chicken snacks possible.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Chicken Fries Basket

It’s summertime!  That means lots of fun for the kids.  For me, that means entertaining three kids for the entire day rather than just the one!  That also means figuring out daily lunches for three kids.  As much as I might dream of making fresh meals all day long, the reality is that I’m lucky to feed the kids at all.  With camps and Vacation Bible School, we are getting home just in time to eat lunches that aren’t even made yet!  That’s when great frozen foods like these chicken snacks from Tyson come in very handy.

Tyson Chicken Fries 1

These kids are just adorable.  They look so innocent here, don’t they?  Don’t let them fool you!  They eat a ton and, sometimes, even though they are “starving”, just throwing food on a plate won’t necessarily get the food eaten.  Sometimes, dressing  it up a little or putting a special twist on things ensures that they eat a good meal that will keep them from snacking all afternoon. Check out my full shopping experience in my Google + Album!

Chicken Snack Lunch

 

After a long morning at Vacation Bible School, sitting at the table for lunch is not tops on their list.  Every now and then, I like to give them a little treat.  I’ll pull out a vinyl tablecloth and lay it right smack in the middle of the living room for a little indoor picnic.  This lets them have a special little time, but protects my rug from the inevitable spill.  I served up the tater tots and ketchup “family style” while giving them each their own little cup of chicken fries.  They really ate it up!

Chicken Snack 2

Are you following @ClubTysonLive on Twitter? While you are catching up on Social Media follows, Follow Tysons on Facebook. They will soon be announcing how to enter to win free Six Flags tickets for your family vacation.

 What are your quick summer lunch ideas? Leave me a comment and let me know!

 

 

Betty Crocker Shake-N-Pour Dessert Mixes

 

Details …

 These mixes are so easy (and fun) to make that even your kids will want to get in on the action. Simply add water to the dessert mix, shake, and pour into your favorite baking pan. In a matter of minutes you and your family can enjoy that same taste you love, in a fraction of time. Fun is just a shake away! The varieties available include delicious Chocolate Brownie, Confetti Cupcake, and Chocolate Cupcake! You can find Betty Crocker Shake-N-Pour Dessert Mixes in the baking aisle at your local grocers!

 

Our Thoughts …

Sophie decided she wanted to make Grace a treat when she came home from school one day so I decided the Shake-N-Pour Brownies were perfect for a 4 year old to make! She helped add the water and then pour the batter into the baking dish. So simple! When Grace came home, Sophie took all of the credit for making these and left me in the dust but that is OK. This a great kid-friendly product to get your kids in the kitchen helping you!

The cupcakes will be used for a party for Grace. They are perfect in that they make 12 cupcakes so we won’t have lots of extra cupcakes laying around we feel like we need to eat!

We were sent this great gift pack that included all three varieties of the Betty Crocker Shake-N-Pour Dessert Mixes, 60 minute baking timer, Treat stand, and Oven mitt!

We are excited to giveaway the same gift pack to one of our readers! Good luck!

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Meatless Monday: Pizza di Spaghetti

I’m not a big fan of leftovers.  Eating the same thing two times inside of a week is just not something that excites me.  That having been said, I can’t in good conscience just throw out perfectly good food.  It wastes money and teaches my kids a terrible lesson.  So I like to use leftovers to make other, different meals.  Taking this approach to make meatless leftover dishes can be quite easy.

Today’s recipe was inspired by something I saw years ago on The Food Network.  This seemed like such an easy way to use leftover spaghetti.  The linked recipe shows all of the homemade sauce components and just looks lovely, but my focus was on the first part.  Just take a couple of eggs, 1/4 Cup of milk, some salt and pepper, and plenty of Parmesan cheese.  Mix it all together and add two cups of leftover spaghetti and sauce (we just used a jar of sauce for our spaghetti the night before).  Pour it all into a pan with a little olive oil over medium heat.  Cook for about 10 minutes until it browns up and pulls away from the side of the pan.  Put a plate over the top and flip (careful, please!!) and slide back into the pan to cook the other side for another 5 minutes or so.  Sprinkle with more Parmesan cheese and garnish with some parsley.  Slice into wedges and serve with a side salad.  Enjoy!!

What are you doing for Meatless Monday? Have a Meatless Monday experience, recipe, or request? Leave us a comment and let us know what you’re up to!

 

Meatless Monday, a national nonprofit public health initiative, is all about incorporating more vegetables and less meat into our diet. It’s about moderation, just one day a week, cutting down on meats high in saturated fat and increasing protein-rich plant-based foods — good for personal health and good for the planet.

Meatless Monday: Fried Mac & Cheese

Going meatless for a day, a month, or a lifetime doesn’t mean that you cannot have fun with your food.  I think that, in the South, there is a consensus that, if it can be fried, it should be fried!  Today, we are looking to fry Macaroni and Cheese!  Let me tell you, it felt almost sinful to take that bite into the crispy breading only to find that creamy, cheesy, comforting center.

Whenever we make our basic baked Macaroni and Cheese recipe, we know that we are going to have leftovers.  Sometimes, we just save it for leftovers.  This time we decided to plan ahead and save some for frying.  The process is very simple.  Let your macaroni and cheese cool down completely and slice into 1-2 inch cubes (I think mine were more rectangular because of the size of the dish).  Place them on a parchment covered sheet pan and put them into the freezer for 8 hours or overnight (you can cover with foil if you are worried about freezer burn).  Once they are completely frozen, pull the cubes off and toss into a zip top bag for storage in the freezer.

About an hour before you are ready to fry them up, pull them out of the freezer to thaw slightly.  While you are waiting, prepare your breading station.  You’ll need three dishes, about 1 1/2 cups flour, 2 eggs, a splash of water, about 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs, and some salt and pepper.  Put flour in one dish, eggs beaten with water in another, and bread crumbs in the third.  Season them all with salt and pepper.  At that point you can start getting your oil warmed up.  Take whatever you are frying in (preferably something a little deeper–I used a 3 qt saucepan) and pour in vegetable oil up to about halfway.  Heat it over medium-high until it hits about 350 or so.  Basically, if you put in a drop of water, it’ll pop right away.

To bread your Mac & Cheese, coat in flour, then egg wash, then bread crumbs.  Make sure they are completely covered, but dust off any extra.  Fry until golden brown and delicious, about 5 minutes or so.  Drain on paper towels.  Because they were frozen, the inside will be just warm enough to eat once the outside has cooled down a bit.  Server them as appetizers or with a side salad for a meal.  I hope that you enjoy!

What are you doing for Meatless Monday?  Have a Meatless Monday experience, recipe, or request?  Leave us a comment and let us know what you’re up to!

Meatless Monday, a national nonprofit public health initiative, is all about incorporating more vegetables and less meat into our diet.  It’s about moderation, just one day a week, cutting down on meats high in saturated fat and increasing protein-rich plant-based foods — good for personal health and good for the planet.

Meatless Monday: Broccoli Rice Casserole

So we’re a day late getting Meatless Monday up this week, but this recipe will definitely not leave you a dollar short.  When you combine rice, broccoli, mushrooms, and cheese, you know that you’ve got something healthy, delicious, and easy on your pocketbook.  You get plenty of protein from the broccoli, cheese, and rice, meatiness from the mushrooms, plenty of carbs, and lots of vitamins.  As a bonus, this would work incredibly well as a side dish for just about any meat you can think of.  A great way to use leftovers!  The best I can say about this dish is to quote my four-year-old and five-year-old girls who both looked up to thank me for dinner, saying, “Daddy, this dinner is yummy!”

Broccoli Rice Casserole

No cream of mushroom soup here.  Just fresh, unprocessed ingredients coming together to form a tasty dish!  Mmmmmm!

To cook the rice, pour 1 cup of rice, 2 cups of water, and a pinch of salt into a saucepan.  Bring it to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to low.  Wait 20 minutes.  Perfect rice every time!

Ingredients

4 Cups fresh broccoli stems and florets, rinsed and chopped small
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Cup diced onions
1 stalk celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Cup chopped mushrooms
1 Tbsp flour
1 1/4 Cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
2 Cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1 1/2 Cups cooked rice

Directions

Preheat oven to 350.

Steam broccoli until just tender (about 3 minutes on high in the microwave) and top with lemon juice.

Add oil to a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onions, celery, garlic, mushrooms, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Sautee 5-6 minutes until veggies are tender.  Add flour and cook another minute.   Stir in the milk and continue stirring until just beginning to thicken (it will still feel pretty loose…good!).  Add in 1 1/2 cups of cheese until just melted.  Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed.

Mix broccoli, rice, and cheese sauce in a casserole dish.  Top with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.  Bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes.  Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes so that sauce can thicken.  Enjoy!

What did you have for Meatless Monday?  Have a Meatless Monday experience, recipe, or request?  Leave us a comment and let us know what you’re up to!

Meatless Monday, a national nonprofit public health initiative, is all about incorporating more vegetables and less meat into our diet.  It’s about moderation, just one day a week, cutting down on meats high in saturated fat and increasing protein-rich plant-based foods — good for personal health and good for the planet.

Meatless Monday: Mushroom Risotto

Risotto is one of those yummy, comforting dishes that seems so fancy that you have to go to a nice Italian restaurant to get it.  Just like so many comfort foods, however, risotto started out in the homes of Italian grandmothers.  Basically, it consists of oil, rice, broth, and cheese.  Everything else is just extra flavor.  The dish is yummy, very cheap, and something that kids can easily relate to.  It takes a little time and know-how, but the basics of this dish are super simple and this whole dish can be finished in under thirty minutes.

We get a fair number of comments from people about how they love our meatless recipes, but that they or their significant others would never, ever, ever, ever be able to have a meal without meat.  As we started considering this, we realized that many of our meatless recipes could really serve a dual purpose.  Today’s recipe is one of those.  This could easily be served as a main dish or topped with a little chicken to add that meat element.  We love to roast some chicken breasts on the weekend to use in salads or for quick dishes throughout the week.  Just take a little of that, warmed up in a pan and layer it over this yummy risotto.

 

Mushroom Risotto

Arborio rice can be found in the rice aisle in smaller packages.  For the broth, I wound up using half veggie broth and half mushroom broth to up that mushroom flavor a little.  Can’t find mushroom broth?  Just toss some dried mushrooms into the veggie broth!

Ingredients

8 cups vegetable broth

3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp butter
1 pound mushrooms
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
salt and pepper

1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Directions

Heat broth and keep warm over low heat.

Heat one Tbsp of oil over medium heat.  Add butter, mushrooms, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste.  Cook 5-6 minutes until lightly browned.  Set aside.

Heat remaining two Tbsp of oil over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and saute 2-3 minutes.  Add rice and cook about one minute, stirring continuously.  Add wine and cook until most of the wine is evaporated.  Ladle warm broth into the rice one cup at a time, stirring frequently and allowing each addition to absorb fully into the rice before adding more.  When all of the broth has been absorbed, stir in 3/4 of the mushrooms and the cheese until the cheese is fully melted.  Serve on a large plate and top with the reserved mushrooms and more cheese.

Enjoy!

Have a Meatless Monday experience, recipe, or request?  Leave us a comment and let us know what you’re up to!

Meatless Monday, a national nonprofit public health initiative, is all about incorporating more vegetables and less meat into our diet.  It’s about moderation, just one day a week, cutting down on meats high in saturated fat and increasing protein-rich plant-based foods — good for personal health and good for the planet.

 

Meatless Monday: Macaroni and Cheese

Having a meatless meal does not mean sacrificing comfort.  Macaroni and Cheese is one of those meals that takes just about everyone back to some point in their childhood.  Unfortunately, as a nation, we have taken to using those electric orange yellow powder packages of cheese dust in lieu of taking a little bit of time to make it from scratch.  Whether as a main meal or as a side dish, “real” mac and cheese is actually very easy to make, takes just about as much active cooking time, and is so much tastier than that boxed stuff.  On top of that, it can be a great foil for introducing veggies that may not be as popular on their own (can anyone say “broccoli mac and cheese”?).

Here is the four-step process to making great Macaroni and Cheese:

1.  Cook the noodles.
2.  Mix in cheese sauce and veggies (if using).
3.  Top with bread crumb mix.
4.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Simple, right?  Use whatever noodles you want.  We used a mix of shapes because we had them and they looked fun.  For the cheese sauce, just use the one we introduced last week in our Meatless Monday:  Baked Potatoes post (I thin it out with just a little extra milk because that’s how I like it).  If you are using veggies, I would saute them first and then add them in.  For veggies like broccoli, just add them to the water when you boil the pasta.  Veggie options might include peppers, mushrooms, even spinach.  Use your imagination or just clean out your fridge!  Mix everything together and pour into an appropriately sized baking dish.  For the topping, mix 3 tablespoons of melted butter with 1 cup of breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the dish.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes and you are all set!

Have a Meatless Monday experience, recipe, or request?  Leave us a comment and let us know what you’re up to!

Meatless Monday, a national nonprofit public health initiative, is all about incorporating more vegetables and less meat into our diet.  It’s about moderation, just one day a week, cutting down on meats high in saturated fat and increasing protein-rich plant-based foods — good for personal health and good for the planet.

Meatless Monday: Baked Potatoes

Ok, so I know that we did Twice Baked Potatoes last week, but potatoes are a great multipurpose staple, and, if you shop on a budget like us, you are likely to buy them in 5-10 pound bags.  Potatoes keep for a while, but not indefinitely, so it’s smart to plan a few meals around them.  This week we made up a batch of baked potatoes.  Need a quick recipe?  Here goes:

1. Wash them
2. Oil them (rub them in some olive oil)
3. Poke them (3 or 4 time with a fork)
4. Salt them
5. Bake them (350 right on the rack for 1 1/2 hours or until they squeeze easily)

Easy, right?  Once they are baked, the sky’s the limit as far as toppings go.  If you want a side or a light meal, simple butter and sour cream can be nice.  If you are looking to make it a full, hearty meal, you can use the basic potato as a vehicle for some of your leftovers.  Here we have a potato with broccoli and cheese sauce (recipe follows) and another with some leftover Chili Soup, the same cheese sauce, and sour cream.  One of the great things about this is that, since we had the oven on anyway, we just baked up about 10 potatoes.  We had whatever we were having for dinner, leaving plenty of easy to microwave potatoes for quick lunches later in the week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheese Sauce

This sauce starts with a bechamel (one of the French “mother sauces” that so many other sauces are based off of).  Learning to make this sauce gives you some basic techniques that you can use for future dishes.  This is the same cheese sauce you would use for Mac & Cheese!  If you find it to be a little thick, add more milk.  Not cheesy enough…well, you know what to do!

Ingredients

2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Directions

Melt butter over medium-high heat.  Add flour stirring continuously for 2-3 minutes or until paste cooks a bit, but is not browning (this part is making a roux and takes some practice to get just right!).

Add milk, stirring constantly and bringing it to a boil.  Lower heat, add salt and pepper, and let cook for 2-3 more minutes.  (Stop here for a bechamel, continue for cheese sauce)

Add cheese and melt thoroughly.  Adjust seasoning and remove from heat.

We hope that you enjoy!  Let us know how it turns out!

Have a Meatless Monday experience, recipe, or request?  Leave us a comment and let us know what you’re up to!

Meatless Monday, a national nonprofit public health initiative, is all about incorporating more vegetables and less meat into our diet.  It’s about moderation, just one day a week, cutting down on meats high in saturated fat and increasing protein-rich plant-based foods — good for personal health and good for the planet.

Meatless Monday: Twice Baked Potatoes

Sometimes going meatless doesn’t mean doing anything particularly fancy or outside of the box.  It can mean taking a basic, well-loved recipe and simply removing a small part of it.  This is what we did this week with twice-baked potatoes.  Usually, when we make these, we include cooked bacon when we mix it all together, but leaving it out does not really affect the final product too much.

These tasty dinners are terribly simple to put together.  Basically, you bake a couple of potatoes at 350 for an hour or so until you can squeeze them and they give a little.  You cut them in half, scoop out most of the insides, and make mashed potatoes with whatever fillings you want (milk, sour cream, butter, cheese, chives, green onions, etc are the basics, but you could experiment with whatever).  You fill up the shell, toss them back into the oven and bake for another 20 minutes or so.  Let them cool a bit, serve with a side salad, and voila, dinner is served.

 

There are literally hundreds of recipes out there.  This one from Betty Crocker is a classic and a great vegetarian option.  For our vegan readers, try this version from The Veggie Gal.  This was the one that we tried out (without the vegan bacon bits).  The whole family enjoyed.

We hope that you try this out and enjoy it too!

Have a Meatless Monday experience, recipe, or request?  Leave us a comment and let us know what you’re up to!

Meatless Monday, a national nonprofit public health initiative, is all about incorporating more vegetables and less meat into our diet.  It’s about moderation, just one day a week, cutting down on meats high in saturated fat and increasing protein-rich plant-based foods — good for personal health and good for the planet.