Saturday, October 24, 2009

Homespun Snacks

If you have kids, you know expensive it can get to keep them in food. I have two boys, ages 10 and sixteen, which means I constantly feel as if I’m feeding a small army. Make enough food for them and a hungry husband for three meals a day, then factor in snacks, desserts, and their hobbit-like eating habits (second breakfast anyone?), and you create a quite hefty grocery bill.
Thus, homemade snacks. I try to set aside a day each month for putting these things together, then pop them in the freezer. This way, the kids can throw them in the microwave and have a snack without eating everything in the fridge. Cool, huh? Try it out.

Homemade Hot Pockets
The great thing about these is that the option are endless. Make teriyaki chicken if you want, or apple cinnamon. The only limit is your imagination!

First make:
Really Easy Pizza Crust
1 packet yeast
1¼ C warm water
2 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. salt
4 cups flour

Mix ingredients. Rise for 15 to 30 minutes. Spread on greased pizza pan or baking sheet (Sprinkle the pan liberally with corn meal after greasing it - really improves the texture and non-stick quality of the crust). Top with sauce, cheese, and desired toppings. Bake at 425 12-20 minutes.

Then (using Pizza crust dough):
After rising, roll dough out as thin as possible. Use a glass or biscuit cutter to cut out rounds in even numbers. Chop up meat & cheese (see below) for filling, add sauce to moisten if desired. Place a spoonful of filling on half of each circle. Fold the other half of circle over, & then seal. Poke vent holes in the top for steam to escape. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes. Cool, then freeze in Ziploc freezer bags. To serve: Heat in microwave for 1 - 2 minutes.

Some Popular Variations:
Broccoli, ham, & cheddar - Steam broccoli until just done. Drain. Slice up prepared ham or ham lunchmeat. Grate some cheddar cheese, then mix it all together. Continue with Hot Pocket recipe as directed.

Sausage, egg, & cheese - brown loose sausage in pan. Drain. Scramble a few eggs, breaking up as little as possible. Grate some cheddar or cut American into pieces. Mix.

Pepperoni pizza - Cut up some pepperoni slices and mozzerella cheese. Add just enough pizza sauce to moisten.

Ham & Cheese Muffins
These are great for a quick breakfast.
2 C self-rising flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 C milk
½ C mayonnaise
½ C finely chopped fully cooked ham
½ C shredded Cheddar cheese
In a large bowl, combine flour and baking soda. Combine remaining ingredients; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 425 degrees F for 16-18 minutes or until muffins test done. Cool, then freeze in Ziplocs. Reheat for 30 seconds in microwave to serve.
As a substitute for each cup of self-rising flour, place 1½ teaspoons baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt in a measuring cup. Add all-purpose flour to measure 1 C.

Master Muffins
A more traditional muffin, these can be customized endlessly. Try blueberries for a purist approach, or experiment with combinations like peaches and crystallized ginger, apples and cinnamon, cranberries and walnuts, etc. Good stuff!
1½ C all purpose flour
¾ C white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 egg, beaten
¼ C canola oil
½ C milk
1 C. any fresh fruit or combination of fruits

Preheat oven to 400ยบ F. In a mixing bowl, stir together dry ingredients. Combine beaten egg, oil and milk, and then add to dry ingredients until just moistened. Gently stir in fruit. Put foil liners in muffin tin and divide batter evenly, filling each liner approximately ¾ full. Bake approximately 20-25 minutes. Cool, then freeze in Ziplocs.

Hot Chocolate/Chocolate Milk Mix
4 C powdered milk
1½ C unsweetened cocoa powder
2 C sugar
½ tsp salt

Combine ingredients and mix well. Store in airtight container. Use 1/4 cup per cup of milk or boiling water.

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