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Snack Attack

Kale Chips Recipe

Monday, June 17th, 2013

In the mood for something salty and crunchy that’s fresh and crispy too? How about kale chips … that you make at home.

We hear you laughing from here. Kale? As a chip? Yes, ye of little faith. Turns out that if you prep it right, the curly green collection of cruciferousness crisps up after barely 10 minutes in the oven. And if you season it right, well, let’s just say that our testers (a teenager who doesn’t care for cruciferous veggies, particularly when they’re cooked, and his mom, who really appreciates a nice chip) polished off what amounted to an entire bunch of kale, scarfing down the chips the way some people (not us, of course…) shovel in popcorn at the movies.

To make these chips you need just a handful of ingredients: Kale (we used curly green), olive oil or cooking spray (we tried it with each) and salt (we used sea salt, but any kind is fine). We also used parmesan cheese, but more about that later.

Preparation is the key to crispy kale chips. First, try to make the leaves about the same size, so they’ll take the same amount of time to bake. Second, the kale needs to be as dry as you can get it before adding the oil. If there’s a bit of water in between the leaf and the fat, the chip will be on the limp side, as opposed to crunchy.

Oh, and you know how you’re supposed to eat chips in moderation? Well, forget that with these. They’re kale. They’re good for you. Crunch and enjoy.

Ingredients
1 bunch of kale (we used curly green)
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil (alternatively, use olive oil cooking spray)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
(Optional: parmesan cheese, garlic powder, cayenne, chili powder)
Preparation
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
First, tear the little leaves off of the thick part of the stem. Doing so may seem like a big production, but it’s actually pretty and easy. At more or less the midpoint of a long leaf and stem of kale, lightly squeeze the stem between your index finger and thumb. Now, with the index finger and thumb of your other hand, pull the kale, leafy part first, away from the squeezing hand. This helps you remove all the little leafy pieces. (Save them for soup or whatever.) Next, cut off the stems. Now, try to tear the remaining large kale leaves into pieces all about the same size (2 or 3 inches or so is nice), so that they’ll cook uniformly. Now, wash your leaves. Now, dry your leaves. (We did this in a salad spinner.) Now dry them again. You want them to be as dry as can be.
Next, cover two baking sheets with parchment or aluminum foil. (We used foil because it’s cheaper and recyclable.)
Now for the oil. Our testers said that if they were forced to choose (which they were), they would opt for the chips made with real oil. However, they were perfectly happy with the sprayed chips. To make the chips with oil, put the dry kale leaves in a bowl and drizzle the oil over them, then toss them about so they all get oiled. Next, lay the oiled leaves one by one on the foil-lined cookie sheets. If you’re spraying instead, put the leaves one by one on the cookie sheets, then give them a quick spritz with the spray. Next, sprinkle the salt over the sheets.
Next, put them in the oven to bake. Ours took about 10 minutes, just until they were a bit darkened around the edges. Don’t let them get too dark, though, or they will taste burned. Once you take them out of the oven, sprinkle with whichever optional ingredients you like. Our testers enjoyed parmesan the best of all.
By Carol Leonetti Dannhauser

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Banana Bread

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

You get home from school, famished as usual, and scrounge around for something to eat. But the cupboards are bare, save for a few pantry staples, and the few bananas in the bowl have definitely seen better days. Not to worry, for you probably have the makings of a killer banana bread.

Banana bread is a “quick bread,” in other words, no rising or kneading time is needed. What makes this banana bread rise is baking soda, which you probably have around somewhere. It takes only a couple of minutes to mix up the whole bread, then you just toss it in the oven to bake. OK, you do have to find something to do for an hour while it’s baking. But we think the sweet/moist/yummy/crunchy/wholesome and satisfying product is worth the effort. If a bread isn’t your thing, this recipe makes a perfect dozen banana muffins. These take a bit less time to bake, about 35 minutes or so.

Ingredients

3 very ripe bananas (preferably organic), mashed
2 cups white flour
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup plain (not vanilla) yogurt or sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup brown sugar (or white, if you don’t have brown)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1/2 teaspoon salt

Optional (but definitely worth it, if you have the items in the fridge)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 handful chopped walnuts or pecans

To Prepare

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray, or grease it with butter.

In a large bowl, thoroughly combine the butter and the sugar. Into the butter and sugar combination, add the beaten eggs, yogurt, vanilla and mashed bananas and mix well. Toss in the chocolate chips and nuts, if using, and stir. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt, and then add it to the bowl with the wet banana mixture. Combine the ingredients, but don’t over mix.
Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan and bake for about an hour, or pour into a greased or sprayed muffin tin and bake for about 35 minutes. Either way, bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the bread or muffin comes out clean.
Enjoy!
By Carol Leonetti Dannhauser
© Rising Moon Media

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Yummy Hummus

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Throughout the ages teens have turned to hummus to sate their after-school hunger and provide them with a yummy and quick snack that will hold them ’til dinner. Long before toga-wearing teens returned home from school at the lyceum, ground-up chick peas were a staple on many family menus. Today they’re easy to find, cheap to buy, and pack a punch in the protein department. Together with a few ingredients they whip up into hummus in a snap.

Before 4000 B.C. in Palestine and on tables in ancient Rome, teens tossed tahini, or sesame paste, into to the mix. But if you don’t have any tahini around that’s OK. We think this hummus stands on its own just fine.

Yummy Hummus
Ingredients

2 large garlic cloves
1 can (15 ounces or so) garbanzo beans (a.k.a. chick peas, a.k.a. cece beans), rinsed and drained
1 lemon, cut in half
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup plain (NOT vanilla) yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt

Optional
1/4 cup tahini (Note: if you’re using the tahini, reduce the olive oil to one tablespoon and reduce the yogurt to 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons crumbled feta
1 tablespoon roasted red peppers, drained
a couple of leaves of fresh mint or basil, or the leaves from a sprig of parsley or rosemary

To Prepare
With the back of a fork or a mortar and pestle mash up the garlic cloves with the salt. Toss this paste into a food processor. Then add the beans, the oil and the yogurt (and any and all of the optional ingredients, if using). Then squeeze into the mix the juice from one half of the lemon. Process for about a minute, then taste the hummus. If it’s not lemony enough for your tastes, squeeze in the juice from the other half and process for another minute. If it’s plenty lemony then skip the added juice and process for another minute anyway to make it nice and creamy. That’s all there is to it!
This hummus makes a great dip for cut up veggies such as carrots, cukes and pepper strips, it holds up well to whole-grain crackers or pretzel sticks and it’s yummy as a sandwich spread with chicken or provolone. Or scoop it up with flatbread and fresh salsa, or with roasted vegetables such as tomatoes and eggplant.
Enjoy!
– By Carol Leonetti Dannhauser
A Cooking Teens Magazine Original

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Mini Cheesy Frittatas

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

What’s quick, easy, cheesy, gooey and made from scratch in less than half an hour? These mini ham and cheese frittatas, made in muffin tins. Leave it to Rachael Ray, a Cooking Teens favorite, to come up with such a yummy combo. They’re perfect for lunch, dinner or an afterschool snack. We’d skip the melted butter and spritz the tins with cooking spray, and we’d throw in a giant handful of baby spinach into the beaten egg mix. That combination, as Rachael would say, is delish!

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Pita Pizza

Friday, April 26th, 2013

In the mood for pizza but don’t want to pick it up, pack on those pizza pounds, pay so much for it or wonder what, exactly, is in it? Well, with this recipe teens can create a most delicious (and healthy) pizza in pretty much the same time it takes for the pizza delivery person to arrive.

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