Back-to-school snacks

For The Madera Tribune No recipe needed here; just offer hungry kids some fresh grapes for an after-school snack, or include with their lunch.


For most families with children, the new school year has begun, but one thing never changes: kids come home from school with yummy treats on their minds. Well, most do.

The recipes this week can be used to feed hungry kids when they get home from school or if you fix their lunches, can be added to their lunch box or bag. And if you home school, of course you can choose to serve the snacks as per your own schedule.

My own “kids” are grown up now, but they still love snacks, as do I. So let’s get those aprons on and see what we can come up with in the kitchen. Happy snacking. Dried fruit and cereal snack bars

1 bag (10-oz.) marshmallows

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cooking spray

6 cups toasted oat cereal

1 cup dried cranberries, raisins or other dried fruit 1. Spray a 10-by-15-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Line with waxed paper; spray the waxed paper with cooking spray, and set aside.

2. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add marshmallows and salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until marshmallows have melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in cereal and dried cranberries or other choice of dried fruit.

3. Immediately transfer mixture to prepared baking sheet. Using a spatula (or your fingers) coated with cooking spray, press in quickly and firmly. Let cool for approximately 1 hour. Cut cooled mixture into 24 bars (3 rows lengthwise by 8 rows crosswise). Makes 24 snacks.

Peanut butter and banana snacks

2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

2 whole graham crackers, broken in half to make 4 squares

2 tablespoons marshmallow creme

1/2 banana, sliced 1. Spread peanut butter on 2 graham cracker squares. Spread marshmallow creme on remaining graham cracker squares.

2. Place banana slices evenly on top of marshmallow creme; top with remaining graham cracker squares, peanut butter-side down. No-bake granola bites

2 cups regular or quick-cooking oats

2 cups coconut flakes

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup ground flaxseed

1 cup chocolate chips, your choice

2/3 cup honey

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon cinnamon, optional 1. Mix dry ingredients together and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, mix the wet ingredients. When well mixed, add the dry ingredients and stir until thoroughly blended.

2. Roll into bite-sized balls and store, covered, in refrigerator until ready to serve. Chewy oat squares

1/4 cup apple juice

6 whole pitted dates, coarsely chopped

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup cane syrup (can substitute light or dark corn syrup)

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped

1/2 cup chocolate chips, your choice

1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted

Cooking spray 1. Preheat oven to 325. Line a 9-inch square metal baking pan with parchment paper; coat with cooking spray. Place juice and dates in a food processor; pulse until dates are finely chopped.

2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in date mixture, syrup and salt. Remove date mixture from heat. Cool 5 minutes. Stir in oats, cherries, chocolate chips and sesame seeds. Spoon oat mixture into prepared pan. Using wet hands, carefully press the mixture into the corners of the pan.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes. Place pan in refrigerator; cool 20 minutes. Invert oat mixture onto cutting board; cut into 16 squares. Roasted chickpeas

1 can (15-oz.) chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder 1.Preheat oven to 375. Drain and rinse chickpeas, then pat dry with a paper towel.

2. Arrange chickpeas in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 30 to 35 minutes, shaking the pan every 10 minutes. They will be golden brown and crunchy on the inside when done, not moist. Watch carefully so they do not burn.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the salt and garlic powder. Remove chickpeas from oven when done and spray with cooking spray. Immediately toss with seasoning while hot. Cool before serving.