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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Easy lunch items for hiking that kids can help cook

We’re always looking for foods that the kids can help make, are easy to carry on a hike or to take to the beach in a small cooler, and that use up leftovers. If they happen to be relatively healthy, too, well, bonus!

These veggie wraps fit the bill. We’ve filled them with everything from stir-fry leftovers to grilled vegetables to the toppings from homemade pizza, and it’s hard to go wrong. Most young ‘uns love cream cheese, and that provides the base and makes the tortilla hold itself together. 

Kids can assembled their own, which gets them involved, and these are so easily transportable – just shove them into baggies (they stay nicer if you can wrap them in cling wrap first) and put them in a pack or a cooler for later. They’re a weekly lunch item for school for us. Lettuce or spinach adds extra crunch. Some fresh herbs, a little salt and pepper -- and if you have time, some sautéed garlic – all add flavor boosts, but aren’t necessary. These are just so user-friendly.

The Chocolate Crisp Jumbles are a popular variation on Rice Krispie treats that have been around for a while, but are worth adding to a regular repertoire, also because the whole family can get in on the action, they’re quick and easy to make, and they travel well. And they’re delicious!

Veggie Wraps

Tortillas (flour, whole wheat or whole grain)
Cream cheese, about 2 oz. per wrap
Mix of leftover cooked vegetables, about a half cup per wrap (we like combinations such as zucchini, tomatoes, onions and red peppers, and often throw in corn cut off the cob or black beans; adding sautéed garlic, fresh basil or parsley is nice, as well)
Lettuce or spinach (optional)

Place each tortilla flat on a surface and smear thinly to the edges with cream cheese. Spread vegetables across the center of the tortilla in a thin line. If using lettuce or spinach, lay it on top of the vegetables.

Fold one side of the tortilla over the mixture, and then roll it all the way to the end, using the cream cheese to make it stick. Cut in half.

If packaging for a hike or later eating, wrap each half individually in plastic wrap to hold it together better.

Chocolate Crisp Jumbles
Makes about two dozen.

8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
¼ c. unsalted butter
5 tbls. light corn syrup
3 cups Rice Krispies or other crispy rice cereal

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or very thinly grease them.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a heavy saucepan over very low heat, in a microwave in increments so that it doesn’t burn or in a double boiler over simmering heat. Take care not to scorch!

Stir in the corn syrup and rice cereal. Drop by large spoonfuls onto the cookies sheets. Place in refrigerator for an hour until they are firm.

Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

The roadtripster is the handle of a longtime Coloradan who travels the country by any means possible, sometimes in an RV, sometimes car camping or in the backcountry, with kids and without.

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