Why put your food in little piles on your plate when you can line it all up on a stick? There’s something about having your food in linear form that seems to appeal to our inner sense of order. Plus, it’s more fun to eat that way.
When we started contemplating food on a stick, our first question was what kind of stick would be appropriate (and safe). Just about every recipe we came across used bamboo or wooden skewers (which you need to soak in water for 30 minutes if you’re going to put on the grill). We’ve heard about fun foods served on sticks of sugar cane, but that might be a little impractical for most neighborhood shoppers. One alternative is to make slightly shorter treats using jumbo toothpicks (extra points if you use the ones with the fancy decoration on the end). But no matter what kind of skewering instrument you use, you’ll need to be extra-careful when giving them to small children – and make sure they don’t try to use them as weapons once they’ve eaten the food.
For our first food-on-a-stick experiment, we decided to start with breakfast. Our Twitter buddy Shannon Carino came up with these yummy Breakfast Kebabs made with French toast and fruit. For best results, make sure that the French toast is cooked well (i.e. not gooey in the middle) so that it doesn’t fall apart on the stick. Similarly, use chunks of fruit or berries that are firm so that they slide on (and off) easily.
At lunchtime, we decided to go for sandwich kebabs, like the ones here at Mixing Bowl Kids (which is now Family Bites). These kebabs have chunks of cheese, bread, and folded slices of salami. Of course you can change around any of the ingredients if you’d prefer something different (turkey or chicken instead of salami; change out the cheese; add tomatoes – you get the picture). We kind of like the idea of sneaking something unexpected on the skewer (a chunk of cucumber? some bell pepper strips?) that your kid might just eat by accident (whoops!).
When snacktime rolls around, we have just the thing you’ll want to have on hand. For these Mini Frozen Grape Kebabs from Big Red Kitchen, all you have to do is skewer some grapes on a toothpick (they use red grapes but we’re sure green grapes would be fine too) and stick them in your freezer. Then, after everyone comes inside from the summer heat looking for a cool snack…Voila! You’ve got these frozen little jewels that they can just pop in their mouths.
For dinner and dessert, you can just fire up the grill and serve the “original” foods on a stick – hot dogs and marshmallows. Throw in a skewer or two of grilled vegetables and grilled fruits (pineapples, peaches) and you’ve got yourself a whole day’s worth of food on a stick.
Fun Food Saturday: Because food should be fun.