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Kid-friendly recipes to make with the family

The Recipe Gals

This week we thought it would be nice to include kid-friendly recipes to prepare as our lifestyles are very different right now, so anything we can do to include the family is a positive gesture. Who knows, with all this quality time you might discover some little chefs in your household.

Try making homemade meatballs with a variety of optional sides — a tossed salad with a dressing of your choice, pasta or zucchini spirals as a pasta. The choices are endless!

This meatball recipe can be gluten free, just be sure to use gluten-free panko breadcrumbs. To get the kids involved, let them mix up the meatball mixture and for the meatballs with very clean hands, of course.

You can also bake the meatballs on a rimmed cookie sheet at 400 F for 30 minutes.

If using pasta, let the kids pick out what shape they would like — it’s nice when everyone in the family can own a part of the meal.

Homemade meatballs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 ricotta cheese

1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs

3 tablespoons milk, room temperature

1 large egg, at room temperature

1/2 pound ground pork

1/2 pound loose sweet Italian sausage

1/2 teaspoon salt

Olive oil, for cooking

1 24-ounce jar marinara sauce

1/4 cup water

Combine the Parmesan, ricotta, breadcrumbs, milk and egg in a medium bowl and stir well to combine and allow the breadcrumbs to absorb the liquid. Add pork, sausage and salt and use your hands to mix gently to combine.

Heat a medium-size skillet over medium heat. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Roll heaping tablespoons of the meat mixture into balls and place in the hot oil.

Add as many as the skillet will allow without overcrowding, working in two batches if needed.

Brown the meatballs on all sides, rotating as needed, about 8 minutes. Remove the meatballs to a plate and pour off the oil from the skillet.

Add the marinara sauce and 1/4 cup water to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Return the meatballs to the sauce and cover the skillet. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.

— Pam Rolley

Spring has sprung so it’s a perfect time to start incorporating colorful fruits in your diets. Try this delicious fruit salad to have at the dinner table.

Fruit salad with honey lime dressing

Yield: 10 servings

1 pound fresh strawberries, chopped

1 pound fresh pineapple, chopped

12 ounces fresh blueberries

12 ounces red grapes, sliced into halves

4 kiwis, peeled and chopped

3 Mandarin oranges

2 bananas, sliced (optional)

Honey lime dressing

1/4 cup honey

2 teaspoon lime zest (2 medium limes)

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Add all the fruit to a large mixing bowl. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together honey, lime zest and lime juice. Pour over the fruit and toss to evenly coat, serve immediately.

— Karen Sick

Here is a quick and easy dessert that the kids can take ownership of. They can measure out the ingredients and mix up their own individual chocolate cake.

This chocolate cake in a mug also can be gluten-free. Substitute the all-purpose flour for gluten-free flour.

I hope you try these recipes with your kids. Like I said, we are in a different living environment, let’s make the most of our time together and have a little fun, but most of all stay safe and healthy.

Chocolate cake in a mug

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt, optional

3 tablespoons milk

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Splash vanilla extract

3 tablespoons chocolate chips

Special equipment: A 12-ounce microwave-safe mug and a microwave oven

Put the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a 12-ounce microwave safe mug. Blend thoroughly with a fork. Add the milk, vegetable oil and vanilla and blend until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Microwave on high for 90 seconds. Do not overcook or the cake will be dry. Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes before eating.

— Pam Rolley

For a no-bake recipe that the kids might enjoy helping out with, try making this no-bake banana split dessert.

No-bake banana split dessert

Yields 12 to 16 servings

Crust

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter with a fork, stirring until all of the crumbs are evenly moistened. Dump the crumbs into the prepared pan and press into an even layer. Refrigerate while you prepare the next layer.

Cream cheese layer

12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup granulated sugar

8 ounces Cool Whip

In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the Cool Whip until thoroughly combined. Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the graham cracker crust.

Fruit and toppings

3 to 4 bananas, sliced

20 ounce canned crushed pineapple, drained well

1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

8 ounces Cool Whip

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Chocolate syrup

Maraschino cherries

Arrange the banana slices in a single layer on top of the cream cheese filling, top with an even layer of the crushed pineapple, and then an even layer of the sliced strawberries.

Cover with the Cool Whip, smoothing the top. Sprinkle with the chopped walnuts, then drizzle with chocolate syrup and top with maraschino cherries.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Leftovers can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to four days.

— Karen Sick

The Recipe Gals, Pam Rolley and Karen Sick, together have more than 60 years’ experience as nutritionists in the public school and university settings. You’ll find their delicious offerings every other week in the Williamsport Sun-Gazette’s section, The Taste.

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