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5 clever ways to use frozen puff pastry

5 Clever Ways to Use Frozen Puff Pastry

Store-bought puff pastry is the ultimate freezer staple to have on hand to whip up quick and impressive treats in a pinch. And now that it’s sold in pre-rolled sheets, you don’t need flour or a rolling pin to get baking.

From savoury snacks to guest-worthy treats, puff pastry can do it all! So try one of these 5 clever ways to use it next time guests drop by.

Savoury Tarts

Thin Mint and Dark Chocolate Pastries
Arrange racks in top and bottom thirds of oven. Preheat to 400F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

Beat 1 egg with 1 Tbsp water in a small bowl until combined. Slice 9 thin dark chocolate mints, such as After Eight, diagonally in half. Unroll 450-g pkg thawed puff pastry sheets. Using a 2 ½-in. round cookie cutter, cut out 9 rounds per sheet. Arrange rounds on baking sheets.

Brush each round evenly with egg wash, then arrange 1 piece chocolate mint on one half of each round. Fold other half over chocolate mint, pressing edges down to seal well. Brush tops with remaining egg wash.

Bake in top and bottom thirds of oven, switching halfway through, until golden and puffed, 20 min. Dust generously with icing sugar before serving.

Mini Cinnamon Rolls
Brush thawed puff pastry sheets generously with melted butter. Sprinkle evenly with granulated sugar and cinnamon. Roll tightly from the bottom to the top to form a log. Freeze until slightly firm. Slice each log into 1-inch rounds. Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cut-side down, and bake, following package directions, until golden and puffed. Drizzle with a glaze or top with cream cheese frosting.

Buttery Cheese Straws
Brush thawed puff pastry sheets with egg wash. Sprinkle with coarsely grated cheese, such as Gruyère or Parmesan, gently pressing down to adhere. Cut into ¾-inch strips, then twist both ends in the opposite direction to form a straw. Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake, following package directions, until golden and puffed.

Cheaters Gingerbread Men
Using a small gingerbread man cookie cutter, cut out men from thawed puff pastry sheets. Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake, following package directions, until golden and puffed. Whisk icing sugar with a touch of milk and ground ginger to make a glaze. Drizzle over cooled gingerbread men and let stand until dry to the touch.

Savoury Tarts
Brush thawed puff pastry sheets with egg wash. Sprinkle evenly with cheese, such as sliced mozzarella or crumbled goats cheese, then top with vegetables, such as caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms or spinach. Sprinkle with fresh herbs. Fold over edges, creating a 1-in. border. Brush border with additional egg wash. Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake, according to package directions, until puffed and golden.

Spooky Eyes Chocolate Bark

When I was a kid, I stretched trick or treating for as many years as I could. It wasn’t until I was verging on my late teens before I finally felt too old. There was nothing better than getting free candy, munching on it all night long, and having a huge stash at your disposal to enjoy for weeks to come.

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Now that I’ve grown way past the acceptable age of trick or treating, I look for other ways to get my candy fix.

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This year, I’m making Halloween chocolate bark, combining my love for Halloween treats and chocolate into one delicious treat. The tiny eyes are super easy to make and add a touch of spookiness to this tasty chocolate bark.

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Ingredients:

The chocolate:
3 cups chocolate chips
½ cup–1 cup assorted Halloween chocolates (depending on size)

The eyes:
1 egg white
1 ½ cups icing sugar
Black gel food colouring

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Directions:
1. Place the chocolate chips in a heat-resistant bowl. Place bowl over top of pot of simmering water to create a double broiler. Let chocolate melt, stirring occasionally.
2. Pour melted chocolate on a parchment lined baking sheet. Using a spatula, spread chocolate evenly into a large rectangle of even thickness. Place Halloween candy all over melted chocolate.
3. In a medium-sized bowl whisk egg white until frothy. Whisk in icing sugar until a smooth, white icing is formed. Place half of icing into a Ziploc bag or piping bag. Cut off a small corner of the bag or tip of the piping bag. Pipe two dots, for eyes all over the Halloween chocolate bark. Dip a q-tip into black gel food colouring and dot eyes on the white dots of icing.
4. Let set in the fridge for 30 minutes. Break bark into small pieces for eating, sharing or giving as gifts for Halloween!

Quick and Easy Back-to-School Granola Bars

Granola bars never get old. If you’re back to school this week or just plain old back to work on Monday, granola bars are a great pick-me-up snack. Packed with nuts, seeds and oats these will help anyone get through their first week back to school.

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These granola bars are easily customizable—feel free to play with the fruit and nut combinations. Try chopped dried apricots or figs. Make your favourite combination of trail mix or try using almond butter instead.

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Ingredients:
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup shredded coconut
3 cups trail mix
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp  ground ginger

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Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a large bowl combine oats, shredded coconut, and trail mix. In a small pot combine coconut oil, honey, brown sugar, lemon juice, peanut butter, cinnamon and ginger. Bring to a boil, let bubble for 4-5 minutes until slightly thickened. Pour over oat mixture and mix to coat evenly.
3. Pour mixture into a lined 9×13” baking dish. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool completely before slicing.

Easy No-Bake Fruit and Nut Granola Bars

These simple and easy no-bake granola bars are guaranteed to win over every family member. Eat them as a snack, breakfast on the go, or after workouts. It’s best to make granola bars from scratch rather than opting for store-bought versions because then you know you’re only eating the good stuff!

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Makes: 16 bars
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes (if using melted chocolate)

Ingredients:
1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
½ cup raw walnuts
½ cup raw almonds
½ cup raw sunflower seeds
½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
½ cup mixed dried fruits
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp  ground cinnamon
1 cup nut butter (almond, peanut, or sunflower)
2 Tbsp unsulphured molasses
1 Tbsp maple syrup
pinch sea salt

Optional Topping:
¼ cup (1.5 oz) dark dairy-free chocolate or vegan chocolate chips

Directions:
1. In a food processor, add walnuts and almonds, and pulse on low until they are roughly chopped.
2. Add rolled oats and continue running the food processor just until the oats are broken up.
3. Place oats, walnuts, and almonds into a large mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients. Stir until well combined.
4. Line a 9” x 9” baking pan with parchment paper and press the mixture into the pan, spreading out evenly to the edges with your hands.
5. If adding drizzled chocolate on top, melt dark chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave. Use a fork to drizzle the chocolate on top.
6. Refrigerate for 2 hours before cutting into individual bars. Store bars in the fridge in an airtight container.

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8 Healthy Grab-and-Go Snacks Kids Will Love

An action-packed schedule can mean big gaps between meals. Resist the lure of the fast food drive-through and fuel after school practice with these belly-filling, good-for-you snacks that are packed with fresh ingredients and loads of nutrition.

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1. Kid-Friendly Sammies on a Stick
Just one of these protein-packed sticks is enough to satiate a hungry belly. Get your kids to help make them ahead of time by letting them pick and choose which ingredients they like from the items of your choosing. Nothing beats a homemade snack that they’ve helped make themselves!

2. Rolled Turkey and Apple Quesadillas
Turkey roll-ups get a bit of crunch when thinly-sliced apples are tossed in the mix. These protein-rich, nutritious snacks will keep energy levels up and little tummies satisfied.

3. Veggies with Creamy Chick Pea Onion Dip
Sliced peppers, carrots and celery get an added dose of nutrition with this creamy chickpea dipper you can pack in a container.

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4. Cocoa Banana Bran Muffins
Bake a large batch of these on Sunday and use as breakfast on the move or as a brown-bag snack the whole week. Stuffed with banana, fibre-rich bran and a hint of chocolate, these yummy muffins will be a hit with kids.

5. Grape and Cheese Bites
These fruit and cheese snacks make the perfect on-the-go munchable kids can eat anywhere — whether they’re in the car, at the park or on the bench before practice.

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6. Easy Quesadillas

Quesadillas are so easy to whip up and can be ready to eat in under 10 minutes. Try different variations from week to week. Some combos that kids love, include almond butter and bananas, tuna and cheddar cheese, and chicken and salsa.

7. Warm Banana Roll-Ups
For breakfast or dessert, sweet banana rolls have the built-in bonus of keeping little fingers clean during the chaos of the weekday rush. Just spread cream cheese on to a warm tortilla, place a whole banana on top then roll it up and grill until golden brown. The result? Crispy and warm on the outside and gooey and sweet on the inside.

8. Apple, Carrot and Flax Muffins with Streusel Topping
Kick up the nutritional value of carrot muffins by adding apple and a whack of flax seeds for a hearty and portable snack.

Avocado Fries with Roasted Garlic Dip

After coming across other blogs featuring avocado fries, I knew I had to try this intriguing combination. Here is my take on these curiously delicious snack.

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I haven’t tried this recipe with any other type of avocado, but I would recommend using one that isn’t quite ripe yet, and still stiff when you squeeze it. Store it in your fridge before making these, this way you don’t have to worry about it being too soft when you bread and cook it.

Ingredients:

For the fries:
1 Avocado
3/4 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
2 to 3 Tbsp flour
1 egg
Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
Canola oil

For  the dip:
2 cloves roasted garlic
1 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp sour cream
Chili paste
Lemon juice (optional)

Directions:
1. In a small frying pan on low heat, add one tablespoon of butter and two cloves of chopped garlic, cooking until browned. Once the garlic is done, add it into a bowl with your sour cream and a few drops of chili paste (add as much or as little as you want, depending on your heat preference). Mix it all together with a spoon, mashing up the garlic as much as you can. Taste it once it is thoroughly mixed, if you feel it needs a little more zing, try adding a few drops of lemon juice. Set aside.
2. Take two plates and a bowl, put your panko and flour on the plates and scramble an egg into your bowl. Shred some Parmesan cheese into your bowl of panko. Add salt and pepper to taste (mix it around and get your finger wet, dip it in the panko and give it a taste until its to your liking). Slice your avocado into fry-like chunks, cover with flour, then egg and finally bread it with the panko and put it on a plate. Repeat this until all your avocado is done.
3. While you are breading everything, get a pan ready on medium-high heat with enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Once the pan is evenly heated, drop all your avocado fries in and cook each side until golden brown. Serve immediately with dip.

100x100_BS Carlene and Bob Deutscher are the dynamic sibling duo behind BS’ in the Kitchen. While Carlene leans towards the sweeter side of things, baking up delicious desserts, you can count on Bob to cook up something savoury! Aside from blogging on BS’ in the Kitchen, Carlene works in marketing & communications, and sidelines as a lifestyle & wedding photographer, while Bob operates his own media company, with a focus on food photography, and videography! Carlene and Bob Deutscher are part of the Lifestyle Blog Network family.

Pepper + Paint: Kid-Friendly Carrot, Apple & Flax Muffins

I love the feeling of knowing my children are starting their day with a proper breakfast and since they keep reminding me “it’s the most important meal of the day.”

made a mental record of the things I wanted them to have: protein, fibre and fruit topped the list. I also wanted something that would taste good and would be relatively fast and easy to prepare.

I came across an amazing muffin recipe that tastes like carrot cake. It’s moist and filling and full of deliciously healthy things like flax, oat bran, apples and carrots. I omitted the nuts and raisins and added a streusel topping instead. The muffins are lovely on their own but the streusel adds a touch of sweetness that I think makes them just perfect.

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Apple, Carrot & Flax Muffins with Steusel Topping

Muffins:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup ground flax seed
3/4 cup oat bran
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup milk
2 ggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons canola oil
2 cups shredded carrots
2 cups shredded apples
Handful raisins, nuts (optional)

Streusel Topping:

5 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease muffin pan or line with paper muffin liners.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, flax seed. oat bran, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Add the milk eggs, vannila and oil. Mix until just blended. Stir in the carrots, apples, raisins and nuts.
  4. Fill prepared muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Add streusel topping and bake at 350°F for 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

pepper-paint Nicholetta Bokolas is a food writer based out of Halifax, NS. She is the author of the food blog Pepper + Paint where she captivates readers with her stories, recipe development, food styling and photography. She is a regular contributor for a local parenting web site and has been highlighted in magazines and other web and print media. She continues to collaborate with businesses on culinary-related projects and is proud to support the locally-sourced food movement. Pepper + Paint was voted one of Canada’s best-designed web blogs in 2012.

Nicholetta Bokolas is part of the Lifestyle Blog Network  family.

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