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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: It Takes A Village — Keeping Kids Well Fed During Summer Break

With the end of a very interesting and unusual 2020-21 school year just a few days away, it is a concern of many parents and grandparents how to keep the kids well fed during the summer months.

We can’t say enough about the way our local school systems have provided nutritious meals and snacks for our children in the last year, and wish to publicly thank each and every one involved for the extra service that has been provided.

Statistics indicate that more than 30 million children in the country today rely on free or reduced-price meals at school, with more than 900,000 North Carolina students, alone, relying on the nutritious meals and snacks served during the school year.

But, as we know, hunger doesn’t take a summer break, especially since the COVID pandemic. Thanks to the No Kid Hungry program, our school children have been able to eat well year-round, a much-appreciated and needed service that will continue in some form in most school districts in our area.

According to Watauga County School’s Director of Child Nutrition Monica Bolick, Watauga County Schools will provide meals during June and July for children enrolled in summer school and related camps/programs, but not on the same far-reaching scale as last year.

It’s understandable that limitations are needed this year, as those of looking from the outside in were astonished at the time, energy and commitment it required to feed all children across the county, regardless of age or need.

Details are still being finalized and information will be forthcoming, so please check with your local school for more information, or watch for press releases as they become available.

Routines, such as they were for all of us, have been knocked way off balance in the last year, including mealtimes. However, with the help of local schools, food pantries, churches and community groups, in addition to a few helpful recipes listed below, we can help keep the kids happy and healthy by preparing and offering food and snacks that are fun and nutritious.

Take note: With the increased need throughout the High Country during the summer for those healthy items, please plan to make donations to your local food pantries accordingly. Financial gifts, especially, go a long way with bulk purchases made through their suppliers, but they are always happy to receive your boxes of staple goods, as well.

Happy summer to all. Hope it’s better than the last.


Kids and Kabobs

1 apple

1 banana

1/3 cup red seedless grapes

1/3 cup green seedless grapes

2/3 cup pineapple chunks

1 cup nonfat yogurt

¼ cup dried coconut, shredded

Prepare fruit by washing the grapes, washing the apples and cutting them into small squares, peeling the banana and cutting it into chunks, and cutting the pineapple into chunks, if it’s fresh. Spread coconut onto a large plate. Slide pieces of fruit onto a wooden skewer and let kids design their own kabob by including as much or as little of whatever fruit they want. Do this until the stick is almost covered from end to end. Hold kabob at the ends and roll it in the yogurt to cover the fruit. Then roll it in the coconut. Repeat steps with another skewer as desired.


Peanut Butter Dip with Pretzels And Fruit

½ cup peanut butter

½ cup vanilla yogurt

¼ tsp. cinnamon

¼ cup raisins

2 cups miniature pretzel twists

Apple slices and banana chunks

In small bowl, combine first four ingredients. Mix well. Keep refrigerated. Serve with pretzels and fruit.


Scrambled Egg Melts

4 eggs

¼ cup milk

¼ tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

1 Tbsp. butter or margarine

2 English muffins, split and toasted

4 slices Canadian bacon

4 slices American cheese

In medium bowl, combine eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Beat until well blended. Melt butter/margarine in medium skillet over medium heat. Add egg mixture, cook 3 to 4 minutes or until eggs are set, stirring occasionally. Place English muffins split side up on small cookie sheet. Place 1 slice Canadian bacon on each muffin half. Spoon scrambled eggs evenly over bacon. Top with cheese. Broil 3 to 4 inches from heat for 1 minutes or until cheese is melted, or toast in toaster oven.


Oven-Fried Apple Pies

1 Tbsp. sugar

¼ tsp. cinnamon

1 large can Pillsbury Grands Refrigerated Biscuits

1 cup apple pie filling

4 Tsp. butter, melted

Heat oven to 375. Spray 2 cookie sheets with nonstick cooking spray. In small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon, set aside.

Separate dough into 8 biscuits. Press or roll each to form 5-inch rounds. Place on sprayed cookie sheets. Place 2 Tbsp. pie filling slightly off center each biscuit round on one cookie sheet. Fold biscuits over filling, press edges with fork to seal. Prick top of each 3 times with fork. Brush each with melted butter; sprinkle with sugar mixture.

Bake at 375 for 15 to 20 minutes or until deep golden brown, noting that some of the filling may bubble out at edges. Repeat with biscuit rounds on second cookie sheet. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Cool at least 5 minutes before serving.