Zucchini Chips

FullSizeRender-2Veggies = crisp and savory snack. That equation doesn’t always add up with non-vegetable eaters. But try serving up a bowl full of these tasty treats and you’ll win over even the most staunchly adamant vegetable hater.

These were my second new recipe effort with a monster zucchini that had been bestowed upon me. They were best straight out of the oven, and within a few hours of being baked. I brought them to my zucchini gift-giver to try the next day, and they’d absorbed moisture from the air and gone soggy. So if you can bake and eat same day, go for it! (This recipe from allrecipes.com didn’t offer any suggestions for how to make them good Day 2.) I will tell you, you have to bake these to total crispness—any hint of bendability in the chips, and they will start to get soggy as they cool on the racks.

Makes 4 baking sheets of zucchini chips

1 cup low-fat milk
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, or Kraft grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 large zucchini, thinly sliced (1/8″ works best)

Preheat oven to 425° Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Pour milk into a bowl. Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and black pepper in a food processor and pulse until combined into fine crumbs. Place zucchini slices in the milk and soak for 1 minute. Remove zucchini slices from milk and press each into the bread crumbs mixture until coated on both sides. Arrange coated zucchini slices on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake 2 sheets at a time in the preheated oven until chips are totally crisp, about 30-40 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Repeat with 2 more sheets of zucchini chips. Best eaten first day.

Peanut Butter Protein Balls

IMG_0905Great for packing in a school lunch, taking camping, or simply for snacking, these peanut butter balls have been a family favorite of ours for years. This simple recipe was published in Family Fun magazine a bazillion years ago, part of an article on school lunch boredom-busters. Super easy to make—mom or grandma can measure, and kids can mix and shape balls. If spheres are too boring for your bunch, shape into snakes and spirals, or whatever your little heart desires.

My now 20-year-old son still loves these, and I’ll make him a stash to store in his dorm room, where he can enjoy them after a brutal physics exam. So these aren’t just for wee ones! We’ve also served them in little petit four cups along side chocolate truffles, and they hold their own with the fancy foods. They keep their shape best if you freeze them, and then they’re perfect for packing in a lunch or bringing on a picnic—they thaw quickly and are ready for consumption by the time you reach your destination.

Makes 12-15 balls

1 cup super chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/2 cup raisins (optional—they make these more challenging to shape)
1/4 cup honey
2 graham crackers, crushed into crumbs

Combine peanut butter, dry milk, and honey (and raisins, if desired), and stir until all ingredients are incorporated. Scoop out teaspoonfuls of dough, and roll into balls. Put graham cracker crumbs in small bowl, and roll balls in crumbs to coat. Serve as is, or refrigerate or freeze in airtight container. (We prefer to freeze them.)