This is the first year I haven’t needed to purchase any BTS stuff, so the excited/dreadful feeling of purchasing new notebooks, picking out pen colors and organizing binders has escaped me this year! However, I still have three people in my household who are prepping for the return of hallways, homework and homesickness (after three months at home everyday, you’d be homesick too!).
I don’t know about you, but after I would come home from school, I was DYING for a snack before dinner. I always reached for the most unhealthy things possible: drive-thru meals and an ice cream cone, or a handful of cookies and chips eaten simultaneously (thank goodness I danced, had PE and played Freeze Tag religiously, or else I would have looked like a human Jabba the Hutt). I craved that sweet + saltiness as a little reward after a particularly long day, and especially as fuel for a night of homework.
Now that I’m an adult working full-time, I still have the tendencies to snack after work and before dinner. Work is long and painful and boring — I want something to spice up my afternoon before diving headfirst into dinner. Or conversely on days off, I like a little mid-morning snack after walking Mannie and in between baking recipes for this here blog.
I also happen to live in a family of snacking addicts so having healthy, easy snack stuff on hand is a must. And something sweet + salty, hands-down our favorite combination ever–is a must! So when I had the chance to work together with Cooking Light and Safeway to create a healthy, easy back-to-school snack recipe, I instantly began brainstorming tasty ideas that we could whip up in minutes and enjoy anytime of the day.
So after picking up Cooking Light’s latest Super Easy Recipe Shortcuts bookazine at Safeway, I began perusing the gorgeous glossy pages for ideas (and hint!: if you use Safeway’s just for U portal, you’ll find a $3 off coupon for the bookazine! Just save it to your queue and check out — SO easy! But hurry, it expires 8/30) How good does this Peach Crisp look?!
Each recipe is so refined, yet so simple to make — nothing is overly complicated and everything boasts tons of flavor and color. But I was most inspired by the awesome Spicy Chicken Quesadillas on the cover — quesadillas are totally painless to make which is exactly what I need after a particularly hellish day at work. And then these Banana Fluffernutter Quesadillas were born!
These are healthy, sweet, salty, and toooootally gooey–it tastes like dessert, but could easily double as a quick snack after school or work. And the best part is that its adaptable to your family’s tastes — don’t like bananas? Sub sliced strawberries. Don’t like marshmallows? Add some chopped cooked turkey bacon for an Elvis-inspired version.
But no matter how you slice it, make this dang quesadilla!!
- 2 whole wheat tortillas
- 1 large banana, sliced into thin coins
- 2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
- ¼ cup miniature marshmallows
- 2 Tbsp dark chocolate chips
- Honey, for drizzling, if desired
- Spray a skillet with cooking spray and place on a stove over medium heat.
- Spread one Tablespoon of peanut butter evenly onto one tortilla. Place a handful of banana coins onto the right side of the tortilla. Sprinkle that same side with a couple marshmallows and one Tablespoon of the dark chocolate chips.
- Carefully transfer the quesadilla to the hot skillet and let it sit open-faced for about 30 seconds-1 minute. Gently flip the empty side of the tortilla to cover the other half, like a half-moon. Cook the quesadilla on each side for about a minute, or until the tortilla is toasty and the filling gets melty. Repeat with the remaining tortilla + ingredients for quesadilla #2.
- Transfer the quesadilla to a plate to cut in half. Drizzle with honey, if desired. This two-tortilla recipe makes 2 half-moon quesadillas or four wedges.
Jam-packed with fresh bananas, creamy peanut butter, rich dark chocolate, fluffy marshmallows and folded neatly into a hearty wheat tortilla, these quesadillas are a sweet-and-salty snacker’s dream! Made in minutes with multiple variations, these are easy to whip up and even easier to eat, reminiscent of the quintessential childhood sandwich, the fluffernutter. My family and I inhaled these in record time. It would almost be embarrassing if these quesadillas weren’t so delicious!
If these quesadillas don’t satisfy your snackings, try some of these healthy snacking tips from Cooking Light & Safeway!
1. Create a healthy snack environment. Stock the refrigerator and pantry with healthy options. Bag up fresh cut fruit, and choose individual containers of yogurt, fruit purees, and part-skim mozzarella cheese sticks. Fill snack bags with cut carrots and celery and buy some hummus, mild salsa, light ranch, or peanut butter for dipping. We eat with our eyes – fresh vibrant fruit and veggies will stand out! Stock the pantry with popcorn, whole-grain crackers and nuts instead of snack cakes, fried chips, and highly processed foods. For warmer days, keep popsicles made from fresh fruit in the freezer.
2. Create a snack mix buffet and let your kids make their own personalized varieties. Mix up the options – whole grain cereal, nuts, animal crackers, low-fat granola, popcorn, dried fruit, pretzels, even a little bit of chocolate. Let each member of your family mix up a large zip-top bag, then portion out ½ cup servings into smaller snack size bags. Tote to school, sporting events, even work for the adults!
3. Match your family’s snacks with each activity level. On hot, sunny days – opt for refreshing snacks that are higher in water content, such as fruit (try frozen grapes!) and yogurt. When you are out and about in the cold – hiking or biking, or running around – tote along snacks that are more carbohydrate and fiber focused, such as whole grain crackers with peanut butter.
4. Start a family snack rotation, and let them be in charge. For each day of the week, allow a different member of the family to plan the snack – just make sure mom is the mediator and only gives the go-ahead to healthy snacks. Try a new fruit or vegetable from the supermarket – or take a weekend trip to the farmer’s market together. Even better… allow them to pick a recipe to help make, such as granola bars, guacamole, hummus, bean dip, even microwave potato chips. Offer healthy options that the family can help mom make at home, and they’ll be more excited about diving in!
5. Build a better lunchbox: Mix a lean protein with whole grains and fresh garden goods, then add a sensible treat. When packing lunches, think of the plate. Start with fresh fruits and veggies, which should take up half the lunch. Skewer fruits and veggies on toothpicks and make it fun! Then, fill a quarter of the lunch with whole-grains such as sandwich bread, pita, or crackers. The remaining quarter should be a lean meat or protein – grill a few extra chicken breasts or pork tenderloins at dinner and thinly slice for tomorrow’s lunch! Peanut butter and lower sodium deli meats are other great options. Toss in a chocolate kiss or two – we all need a little something sweet every now and then!
My family and I really love the first tip. Sometimes, we’re too lazy or hungry to bother cutting up veggies or whipping up a simple dip. Having things precut and portioned in advance makes snacking totally brainless–just grab and go! And of course, it eliminates the temptation of grabbing something equally as fast, but not as healthy, which my muffin top appreciates 🙂