1. Pumpkin Hummus
What you need: 1 container store-bought hummus, ¼ cup to ½ cup canned pumpkin, ¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds, and cinnamon-flavored pita chips. Serves 4 to 6.
How to make it: Combine the pumpkin and hummus in a bowl, and let the little ones stir the mix. Toss toasted pumpkin seeds on top of the hummus combo, and serve with pita chips.
Tip: Serve with button mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, or sliced carrots and celery sticks—or any other veggie your hungry little bear likes.
2. Pumpkin Frozen-Yogurt Sandwiches
What you need: 1 quart softened frozen vanilla yogurt, 1 cup canned pumpkin puree, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, and 12 graham-cracker squares. Serves 6.
How to make it: Mix the softened frozen yogurt, pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spread that on a graham-cracker square and top with a second square. Wrap and freeze until firm.
Tip: Dip the finished squares into melted milk chocolate, set on waxed paper, and serve when firm.
3. Peppermint Hot Chocolate
What you need: 4 cups milk, ½ cup sugar, ½ cup unsweetened baking cocoa, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon peppermint extract, and whipped cream. Serves 4.
How to make it: In a bowl, whisk the milk, sugar, and cocoa until smooth. Pour into a medium-size pot and simmer. Remove from heat, stir in extracts, ladle into mugs, and add a dollop of whipped cream on top.
Tip: Use almond extract instead of peppermint extract, or double the amount of vanilla extract, if you prefer.
4. Sweet Potato Fries
What you need: 4 small sweet potatoes, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon chili powder, and 2 teaspoons sea salt. Serves 4.
How to make it: Peel potatoes and cut into strips. Toss with the olive oil, chili powder, and 1 teaspoon of the sea salt. Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated 425°F oven for about 25 minutes, or until soft. Remove and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt.
Tip: Serve warm and with ketchup, and get ready to hear, “Please make this again!”
5. South-of-the-Border Pizza
What you need: Small corn tortillas, salsa, refried beans, grated Cheddar cheese, and cilantro or parsley (optional). Serves as many as you have ingredients for!
How to make it: Arrange tortillas on a baking sheet. Top with salsa, refried beans, and grated Cheddar. Bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese melts.
Tip: Kids can help assemble this one—and then sprinkle on top fresh cilantro or the right-from-the-market parsley when the pizza is done.
6. Crunchy Veggies with Peanut Dipping Sauce
What you need: ¼ cup peanut butter, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, and any veggies from the fridge. Serves 2.
How to make it: Whisk together peanut butter, honey, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Serve with sliced carrots, celery sticks, or zucchini rounds.
Tip: Make this ahead of time, and store in the fridge for up to 1 day.
7. Sunflower-Seed Mini Sandwich
What you need: ½ cup sunflower-seed butter, ½ cup low-sugar jam, and thinly sliced banana bread. Serves 4.
How to make it: Spread the sunflower butter and jam onto a thin slice of banana bread. Top with another slice of bread. Cut into triangles and serve.
Tip: Use any flavor of jam you like, or change it up by using cinnamon-raisin bread.