Friday, March 25, 2011

Hearty snacks for kids

With boys in the house,  the most often used phrase I hear on any given day is:

"I'm hungry."

So the other day, when I noticed the organic mac and cheese on sale at the grocery store, I started loading up my grocery cart, thinking that it would be a healthy and filling snack alternative.  But by the time I reached the checkout, I realized that it would be just as easy for me to boil pasta from the cupboard and just add butter and parmesan cheese.  DUH?!  Why have I never thought of this before?  Seriously?!

I use the organic pasta from Costco, which is really tasty and comes in a pack of 6.  I think each bag costs just over a dollar.  I have been making a full bag's worth of pasta on Mondays.  I cook the pasta, add a few tablespoons of butter and freshly grated parmesan cheese and a little salt.  It keeps well in the fridge for a few days and I change it up, adding hotdogs  or microwave bacon occassionally.  I keep the servings smallish, so that it is more of a snack than a meal.  It's also great if we are having a super busy day and I don't feel like cooking at the end of the day... then I just use the pasta base and add to it for a quick dinner.  In our family, the one bag I make on Monday, usually gets around three days worth of snacks, so I usually offer it every second day and when the batch is finished, I wait at least a week or two, to make more, so the kids don't get sick of it.

Also, I buy a big block of parmigiano-Reggiano at Costco, and cut it into smallish blocks.  I cover them with cling wrap, ziplock them and freeze them until I need to use them.  Freezing cheese is great, especially if its a type of cheese that you buy specifically for a recipe, but then don't  want to use the rest of it right away.  Although I have only tried freezing hard cheeses, not sure about the soft ones.

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