Saturday, September 29, 2012

Runners Snack Pack

There is something magical about an early Saturday morning Cross Country meet.  It's inspiring to watch hundreds of teenagers who chose to get up bright and early on a weekend to complete in a race.  These athletes and their coaches are truly dedicated to their sport.  To show my support for my son's team, I put together a little snack pack for each of the runners to eat after this weekend's race.   (Those of us who can't run, feed those who can run.) 

My job at the Cross Country meet is simple.  I stand along the race course, cheer on the athletes, take pictures as they cross the finish line and hand them a snack when the race is over.  The hardest part of my job was deciding what post race snacks to include in the treat bags for the runners. After some debate I finally decided on a freshly baked chocolate chip muffin, a banana, an old fashioned oatmeal iced cookie and my version of a healthy "trail mix."

I had so much fun putting these little snack packs together.  I even cut out little cross country cleat to decorate the front of the bags.  (I think I have too much time on my hands.)

This is what was inside each bag:


Old Fashioned Iced Oatmeal Cookies  (Recipe to be posted on the blog soon.)

A chocolate chip muffin (Recipe to be posted on the blog soon.)

And a bag of homemade trail mix.

This is one of my favorite things to make in the Fall.  My homemade trail mix always turns out differently because I like to experiment with new things in the mix and try new combinations of flavors every time.  I always make sure to include a cereal, a pretzel, a cracker, dried fruit, something sweet and usually some nuts.  In this particular batch, I mixed Crispix cereal, waffle pretzels, mini ritz crackers and baked cheese crackers, yogurt covered raisins and candy corn for an extra pop of color.  (and sweetness)  I didn't put any nuts in my mix this time because I like to keep the snacks that I serve to kids, "nut free." 

I scooped 1 cup of mix into individual cellophane bags and tied them with a coordinating ribbon. 

There you have it - my version of a post race snack pack for my favorite Cross Country team. 

Be sure and check back on the blog for the recipes for the Old fashioned iced oatmeal cookies and the chocolate chip muffins.  You definitely don't want to miss those.


Friday, September 28, 2012

"Fried" Pies

Every year we make a trip up to Ellijay, Georgia to pick apples at BJ Reese's apple orchard.  We love the apples and the kids love goodies that you can buy at the orchard store.  One of their favorite treats is the fried apple pie.  Delicious fruit filling stuffed inside a flaky pastry dough that is deep fried to crispy perfection.

This picture of my kids eating fried pies at the apple orchard was taken in 2008.  (Wow - they grow up way too fast.)  I don't like to eat fried food very often but I will admit to sampling these little deep fried delicacies.  They are super delicious.

I saw a recipe for "fried' pies in the May issue of Cooking Light and they looked ALMOST as good as the fried pies that we get up in Ellijay.  I made a peach filling for my pies because we haven't been to the orchard to pick our apples this year.

Peach "Fried" Pie
pie crust
peach pie filling 
1 egg
1 Tablespoon milk
raw sugar

Prepare pie crust and filling as directed.  Roll pie crust to a think layer and cut it into circles.  (We used a Tupperware lid to make our circles.)

 Place the circles on a silpat lined baking sheet.

Top with a spoonful of peach filling.

Fold circle in half and seal edges with a fork.

Combine egg and milk and beat until frothy.  Brush over pastry.  Sprinkle with sugar.

Cut slits in the top.  (I forgot to do this to my first batch of pies and some of them cracked in the oven.)

Bake 18 minutes at 425.

I served these little pies with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream - delicious.  The best part is that you can wrap any extras in foil, throw them in the freezer and save them for another day.  Chances are that you won't have any leftovers though.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Grilled Chicken Florentine Pasta

Feeding a cross country runner and a soccer player has proved to be somewhat of a challenge.  The kids are craving carbs and I think they're burning through them about as fast as they can eat them.  Unfortunately, my 41 year old body doesn't process the carbohydrates as quickly as my calorie incinerating teenagers.  (Imagine that.)  You can see my dilemma - what can I fix for dinner that will load them with carbohydrates and lean protein without sabotaging my own diet?  The grilled chicken Florentine pasta in the September issue of Cooking Light magazine looked like a perfect fit to satisfy starving athletes and a calorie conscious mother.   


My instincts were right - this meal was amazing.  Fresh spinach (that the kids picked out of course), grilled chicken, whole grain pasta and low-fat sauce.   I think we could eat this once a week.

Grilled Chicken Florentine Pasta
2 bone in chicken breasts 
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces linguini (I used whole grain pasta)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon fresh garlic
1 cup milk (I used 2% instead of the whole milk that was recommended.)
1 cup chicken broth
3 ounces Parmesan cheese  (Trust me, you want to use really great Parmesan cheese.)
4 cups fresh spinach

Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

As long as you're grilling, you might as well throw on some extra chicken breasts.  You can eat them for lunch or add them to a salad for dinner. 

 Grill until 165 degrees.  Let rest 10 minutes then slice thin. 

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Heat oil in skillet.  Add flour and garlic and cook 2 minutes.

Add milk and broth and whisk until smooth.  Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened.

Add cheese and remaining salt and pepper.  I am going to let you in on the real secret to this recipe:  GREAT Parmesan cheese.  Seriously, don't skimp on the cheese and whatever  you do - do NOT use the powdered cheese than comes in a green can.  Did I stress that enough?

Stir in spinach. 

Add chicken and pasta. 

Grilled Chicken Florentine Pasta - Love, love, love this dish.  It's easy - it's healthy and best of all - it's delicious.

My family loved this meal as much as I did.  As much as I hate to make the same recipe twice, I think I am going to have to make this a repeat meal.  It was THAT good.