Food & Drink | June 2017

By Abby & Kevin Tankersley

Kids in the Kitchen

When 9-year-old Angela Carroll grows up, she wants to be a teacher of either math or art. Her back-up plan, however, could be a career as a chef.

Angela recently won a culinary competition at her school for creating a healthy wrap that she called Wrapper’s Delight, even though she said she’s never heard “Rapper’s Delight,” the song released in September 1979 by The Sugarhill Gang. It’s generally considered to be the song that introduced hip hop music to a wider audience than had been hearing the music in New York clubs. (“Rapper’s Delight” was not, however, the first-ever rap song, as it’s often been called. That honor probably goes to “King Tim III (Personality Jock)” by The Fatback Band, which was released March 25, 1979.)

Regardless, Carroll gave her creation that name because, obviously, it’s a wrap, and “it was a refreshing sandwich when I first tried it, so I named it Delight.”

Carroll, who is in fourth grade at La Vega Intermediate School H.P. Miles Campus, said her motivation for the wrap came from something she ate at a fast food restaurant.

“You know how they serve things at Taco Bell that’s a hard taco and on the outside, bread? I got inspired by that,” she said. “I used a flour tortilla. It just tastes better.”

The competition was to create a healthy wrap, so she used tuna, lots of vegetables and “for a little color, you use the paprika, which is red.”

Carroll said she was also inspired by the cooking and baking of her grandmother, Sonya Williams.

“Her macaroni is good. Her baked chicken is good. Beef tips and rice, she has her own recipe,” Carroll said.

Williams has also created what sounds like a fabulous concoction that involves cutting open a meatball, placing part of a cheese stick in the middle and wrapping the whole thing in bacon, then baking it.

“And it’s good,” Carroll said.

Carroll enjoys baking at home because “I like to smell what’s baking.” She said she’s pretty good at making cakes and cupcakes.

Besides her grandmother and Taco Bell, Carroll also draws inspiration from Food Network, where she watches “Chopped Junior,” “Chopped” — “when grown-up chefs are cooking,” she explained — “Kids Baking Championship” and, on a recent Saturday, “Kids BBQ Championship.”

During Carroll’s interview at her school, Dr. Devin Gulliford, the assistant principal, came into the conference room and said of Carroll, “She’s all right in my book. She’s cool.”

Besides owning the cool factor, Carroll is also good in the classroom. She wants to be a teacher, she said, “because I’m smart.”

(And to continue with our music lesson, the La Vega campus is named after Harry Preston Miles, the band director at the school for nearly 40 years. He was also a music director at Sparks Memorial United Methodist Church in Bellmead for many years and played a mean jazz trombone.)

As we head into summer when kids have more time at home, here are some dishes, including Carroll’s award-winning recipe, that can be prepared by young cooks. Some adult supervision might be needed — especially when chopping ingredients and using the oven and stove.

The Yogurt Pie is one of the simplest dessert recipes you’ll find. We make it several times during the summer, and have for years. The Chocolate Cream Cheese Pie is a fairly new one for us. If you’re looking for an intense chocolate rush, avoid this. The chocolate flavor is somewhat subtle.

The Recipes

Wrapper's Delight

  • 1 can (5 ounces) tuna
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 2-3 large lettuce leaves, chopped
  • 2 whole wheat tortillas
  • 4-5 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese

Drain the tuna. In a small bowl, mix the tuna with the mayonnaise, dill, paprika, and salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Place the lettuce in the center of the tortillas. Spoon tuna mixture on top of the lettuce. Add the tomatoes and avocado and sprinkle with cheese. Add more salt and pepper if desired. Roll the tortilla tightly, cut in half and serve. Makes 2 servings.



Chicken Salad

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 small apple, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup grapes, halved
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Zest and juice of 1 small lemon
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Place the chicken breasts in a saucepan and cover with water. Set over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from the water and allow to cool. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, chop into bite-sized pieces and place into a mixing bowl.

To the chicken, add the apple, celery, grapes, pecans, mayonnaise, and lemon zest and juice. Mix well. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve in a leaf of red or green lettuce, as a sandwich or as a wrap. Makes about 4 servings.


Yogurt Pie

  • 2 (5- or 6-ounce) containers fruit yogurt
  • 1 (8-ounce) container whipped topping
  • 1 cup fresh fruit, chopped, if desired
  • 1 graham cracker pie crust

In a bowl, mix together yogurt, whipped topping and fruit, if using. Spoon into the pie crust and place in the freezer for a couple of hours to firm. Before serving, remove the pie from the freezer and allow to soften for about 10 minutes. Slice and serve. Makes 8 servings.



Chocolate Cream Cheese Pie

  • 1 box (3 ounces) chocolate instant pudding
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 container (8 ounces) plain cream cheese spread, softened
  • 1 graham cracker pie crust

In a mixing bowl, add the pudding and milk. Stir until thickened. Add the cream cheese and whisk until well-blended.

Pour mixture into the pie crust. Refrigerate for several hours before serving. Makes 8 servings.



Cheesy Barbecue Cups

  • 1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained
  • 3/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 can flaky biscuits
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 375 F. In a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, mix the cooked meat and barbecue sauce. While stirring occasionally, heat until the mixture it is hot throughout.

Pull each biscuit apart into two layers and gently stretch them until they’re about 4 inches in diameter. In a standard size muffin tin, press each layer onto the bottom and the side of a cup, creating a small rim at the top. Then fill each cup with the beef mixture and top with shredded cheese.

Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until the edges of the cups are golden and the cheese is melted. Cool in the pan for a few minutes, then remove and serve while still warm. Makes about 8 servings.


Crustless Mini Pizza

  • 4 bell peppers, halved and cored
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup mini pepperoni
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley (optional)

Heat the oven to 350 F.

Place bell peppers on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon the pizza sauce onto each pepper half, then sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan and top with the pepperoni. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the peppers are crisp-tender and the cheese is melted. Garnish with parsley, if desired. Makes about 4 servings.



Chocolate-Oatmeal Snack Cakes

  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 350 F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan with a foil strip long enough to overhang on the opposite sides. Spray the foil lightly with nonstick spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda and salt and set aside. In a separate, large bowl, whisk the butter, egg, brown sugar and applesauce until combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until barely mixed. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spread the batter in the prepared baking pan. Bake until the cake is light brown around the edges and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, for about 25-30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Use the foil overhang to lift the cake out of the pan and let cool completely on the rack. Invert onto a plate and peel the foil off. Turn the cake back over onto a cutting board, cut into 12 pieces and serve. Makes about 12 servings.



Puffed Rice Snowballs

  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups puffed rice cereal
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots, diced
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted sunflower seeds

Spray a large metal mixing bowl with nonstick spray and set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook the marshmallows, butter, honey or syrup, and salt, stirring frequently, until the marshmallows have melted and the mixture is blended, for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the puffed rice cereal and stir to coat with the marshmallow-butter mixture.

Transfer the rice mixture to the prepared bowl and sprinkle with the apricots, flaxseeds and sunflower seeds. Stir with a wooden spoon or clean hands lightly coated with cooking spray. Form into 8 balls, about 1/2 cup each, and let cool about 30 minutes. Then wrap tightly in parchment or plastic wrap. Makes about 8 small servings.


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