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Hands-On Meal

Get the kids in the kitchen to help make this hands-on meal that is simple, fun to cook and tasty.

Tired of asking your teens to watch the younger kids while you try to get dinner started? This meal will fix all your problems by getting everyone involved. From toddlers to teens, the kids will be offering to help when they hear that this meal entails everything from crushing chips to cutting biscuits. And the best part? The prep work is practically done for you by your little ones so you can get the meal finished in half the time.

Hands-On Meal Menu:

• Whole Grain Baked Chicken Strips
• Twice-baked Sweet Potatoes*
• Two-ingredient Biscuits
• Green salad or cut-up veggies for dipping

whole grain baked chicken strips

Whole Grain Baked Chicken Strips

Serves 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

The Caesar dressing gives these chicken strips a zesty flavor, and the whole-grain chips ensure that the meal won’t leave you feeling weighed down. Get your little ones in on the act by asking them to crush the chips for you with a kitchen hammer or rolling pin.

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
1 cup store-bought Caesar dressing
1 bag multigrain tortilla chips
Canola spray

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Rinse chicken and dry with paper towels. Place chicken and Caesar dressing in a large bowl and toss to coat.
3. Place chips in a large zip-top plastic bag and seal it. Have your kids crush the chips until they create a coarse dust.
4. Place the chicken and Caesar dressing into the plastic bag, a few strips at a time, and shake until fully coated in the chip mixture.
5. Spray a 9- x 13-inch pan with canola spray and place chicken strips in a single layer. Spray the tops of the chicken strips with canola spray.
6. Bake for 20 minutes or until center is completely cooked.
7. Serve with homemade ketchup and ranch dressing on the side, if desired (recipes follow).

Twice-baked Sweet Potatoes

Serves 8
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour

The flavor of these sweet potatoes evokes everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving treat but allows you to offer individual servings to your family. Your kids will love to mix up the cooked sweet potatoes with the butter and brown sugar, spoon them into the shell and top with marshmallows.

2 large sweet potatoes
Oil or nonstick spray for pan
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
¼ cup butter (half a stick)
1 cup marshmallows

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Quarter sweet potatoes and place each piece, flat side down, on a greased cookie sheet.
3. Bake for 40 minutes until fork-tender.
Remove from oven and carefully scoop out the flesh and place it in a bowl, leaving the skins on the cookie sheet.
4. In the bowl, mix the cooked sweet potato, brown sugar and butter well, and then spoon back into the sweet potato shells.
5. Top with marshmallows and bake for approximately 20 minutes.

Tip: The sweet potatoes can be made the night before you serve the meal: Complete steps 1-4 and transfer to the refrigerator. When you’re ready to serve the meal, complete step 5 and serve.

Thinkstock Photo

Two-ingredient Biscuits

Serves 6
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10-12 minutes

What could be easier than savory two-ingredient biscuits? Your kids can roll out the dough and cut it into biscuit shapes. They can use a cup or glass if you don’t have a biscuit cutter.

1 cup self-rising flour
¾ cup sour cream
Butter or nonstick spray for cookie sheet

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Mix flour and sour cream with a whisk. Spread mixture onto a floured surface. With a rolling pin, roll to about ¾-inch thickness.
3. Cut into biscuits and place onto greased cookie sheet.
4. Cook for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

Written and photographed by Torrey Kim

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