In the past I have posted many different recipes for protein balls. They are a huge hit in my house, easy to eat on the go, and light enough to give your kids before dinner time. I am going to share with you all the recipes that I have tried, as well as a recipe adaptation that I made earlier this week. All recipes can be made gluten-free by using certified gluten-free oats. To make them lunch box friendly use seed butter instead of nut butter.
Cinco de Mayo is this Friday, and really who doesn’t love a little Mexican fiesta to start their weekend?! Some of my oldest and most favourite recipes are Mexican inspired. From starters to salads, here are some recipes to please every palate.
Layered taco dip: I know that everyone has been to a party and had this dip. I make this dip to feed a crowd and it never disappoints. Start by spreading a layer of refried beans as the base for the dip. I use a large round platter, so that there is room to add chips along the side. Next, cover the beans with guacamole, this can be bought or home-made. The third layer is a mixture of sour cream and taco seasoning. I buy the seasoning from Trader Joe’s in the U.S.A. and bring it home with me. If not buy one that is MSG-free and low sodium. The final layer is cheese. You can buy a Mexican blend or shred cheddar and jack cheese. I like to top the dip with sliced tomatoes, jalapeños and cilantro.
Guacamole: Making guacamole is very simple, and requires basic ingredients. I make it the same every time, but it always tastes a little different. Mash three avocados, season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Squeeze the juice from one lime over top and add a large heaping spoonful of sour cream. To give it a little zip I use Frank’s RedHot sauce (10 dashes) and then a spoonful of salsa. Serve as an accompaniment to nachos or as a starter with taco chips.
Burritos from the Best of Bridge, this may be one of my most favourite recipes of all time! Serve with a green salad.
Enchiladas also from the Best of Bridge Ladies, I serve this with a salad on the side.
Chicken fajitas from @marthastewart I make this recipe all of the time. Instead of broiling the veggies and chicken on two separate pans, put all of it on one pan it works just as well.
Sloppy Joe tacos from @gimmesomeoven I have shared this recipe before, but it is a kid favourite.
Baked tacos with hard shells from @byjillee my mom swears by this recipe. The beef filling for these tacos is delicious.
Fish tacos and the best sauce from simply-gourmet.com I have made these with fresh halibut and they were outstanding.
Black-bean tostadas with corn relish from @marthastewart this is another recipe that I have shared before. It is a great vegetarian option, especially when corn is in season.
Chopped chicken taco salad from @howsweeteats I really enjoy a chopped salad, especially if someone else makes it for me!
Cilantro lime chicken salad with mango avocado salsa from @cafedelites this is a recipe that I have never made but looks great.
Churros with chocolate sauce from @justataste
Lime margarita from @epicurious
With many families leaving for warmer destinations in the next three weeks I decided to tackle the plane snack dilemma. I am not sure if it is just my son, but when we travel his stomach is a never-ending empty pit! It does not matter if we are on a plane or road tripping he is continuously hungry when we travel. We all know the key to a successful trip is to keep children occupied and happy, and this can be accomplished with some good snacks, new colouring book and a movie. Here are some easy and portable ideas for travel with kids.
- Granola bars, we especially like Lara bars or you could make your own.
- Granola bites, these small one bite balls are great for kids. I buy Made Good as they are lunchbox friendly.
- Snack or trail mix, purchased or homemade both work very well. For an easy homemade mix add: Cheerios, Chex, cheddar fish or bunnies, raisins or dried cranberries, pretzels and chocolate chips or m&m’s.
- Applesauce, the easiest travel kinds are the ones in the squeeze pouch.
- Mini muffins, if you have a stash in your freezer these are great for taking on trips.
- Sliced apples or other sliced fruit.
- Cheese string or Babybel cheese.
- Wraps, I usually pack a peanut butter and jam wrap for my son, it keeps well and easy to eat on the-go.
- Gum and a small bag of gummy candies. This always makes their eyes light up when they get the have two treats during travel, and may have the ability to calm an upset child!
The recipe that I used for the Leprechaun bait is another tried and tested recipe from my grandma Illa. She made these every Christmas, rolled them in red and green sprinkles and kept them in a Christmas box. I changed a few things with this recipe, but it is mainly the same one she used for many years. Instead of making large popcorn balls, I made them kid size, and rolled them in all things green.
Marshmallow Popcorn Balls
1/4 cup of butter
32 large marshmallows
8 cups of popcorn (you can use an air popper or stove)
1/2 tsp salt
Sprinkles of any kind (I used shamrocks and green jimmies)
In the top of a double boiler heat butter and marshmallows till melted. Place popcorn in a large mixing bowl. When marshmallow mixture is melted add it to the popcorn. Stir to combine. Leave this mixture to cool for a few minutes as it is too difficult to form into balls when it is hot. To make smaller popcorn balls I used a spoon slightly larger than a tablespoon(for ease of rolling cover your hands in butter). The recipe made between 30-35 small balls. Once formed roll in desired sprinkles. Store in an airtight container, but really just eat them!
During day-to-day life you can lose sight of the importance of spending quality time with the ones that you love. Today my son said, “Mom we are getting low on protein balls, we’d better find a recipe and make some more.” And just like that I was reminded to pause and spend some one-on-one time with my growing-up too fast little boy. We sat together and looked for a picture that appealed to him, and then together we gathered ingredients, measured, mixed and rolled. When we were finished he looked at me and said, “That was really fun!” In our busy lives don’t forget to take time and spend time with those that you love. Our newest protein ball recipe can be found here.
Enjoy your weekend,
Meal updates from last week:
All meals last week were very successful. When making the sheet pan meatloaf I did not bake my potatoes in the oven as instructed. Instead I made mashed potatoes like I normally do: boil then mash with milk and butter. The turkey skillet was better this time than any other time I have made it, and we are not sure why? I did not end up making the crock pot pulled chicken. I will report back after I have made it.
It is a miracle! We will be eating at home Monday-Friday. The end of the week is supposed to get nicer, so I will be using the barbeque.
- Greek sheet pan dinner from @skinnytaste. This recipe is from her latest cookbook and cannot be found on her site, but I did find this link for the recipe.
- Thai-style chicken legs from @smittenkitchen I will serve this with steamed broccoli and rice. I don’t usually use legs, instead I use thighs and they work just the same.
- Pork tenderloin with mustard sauce from @marthastewart I will serve this with roasted carrots and potatoes.
- Blt salad with buttermilk dressing from @marthstewart don’t let this salad fool you. It is filling and delicious and perfect for dinner.
- Chicken caesar burgers from @iowagirleats I will serve this with some waffle fries. Have you ever tried the Alexia waffle fries? They are seasoned and delicious, a perfect pairing with this burger.
For snacks this week I will be trying another new energy ball from @twopeasandpod This one is an oatmeal raisin version. Last week I found a recipe for overnight oats that I had for breakfast twice. It was a winner, so this week I will be making the coconut cream pie oats again. I am going to top it with some banana and fresh mango. If I have some extra time I will be making these!
Don’t forget to print the dinner-list-5 for ease at the grocery store.
Meal updates from last week:
All of the recipes from last week turned out well. The lasagne soup is still a household hit, and tastes even better the next day. The teriyaki bowl was very flavourful adding the grilled pineapple gives it a sweetness that goes well with the sauce. The turkey burgers were also very tasty. My son and husband had theirs on buns, I ate mine over a bed of bib lettuce topped with tzatziki and kalamata olives.
This week we will be eating at home Monday to Thursday and then heading to the mountains for the weekend. I will be packing my crock pot in the car and taking our Friday night meal on the road to eat when we arrive. I have been following Cooking Light on Instagram and have been very impressed with their recipe ideas. I spent some time this week going over recipes on their website, and will be trying a few to see how they taste.
- Chicken gyros bowls from @cookinglight I will be serving this over brown rice and not adding the kale.
- Sheetpan meatloaf dinner from @cookinglight (we are a huge fan of matloaf so it will be interesting to see what we think about this recipe)
- Skillet turkey pot pie from @tasteandtell (I have made this recipe several times and it is very delicious. For the biscuits the recipe calls for 1/3 cup of buttermilk. I have never found that this is enough, so I always add double so that the dough is wet and not too dry)
- My boys will be eating fried egg sandwiches for dinner, as I will be out for dinner Thursday.
- Slow cooker bbq pulled chicken from @skinnytaste (this recipe is from her fast and slow cookbook, and cannot be found on her website. You can find the recipe from dineanddish.com)
Breakfast this week will be cereal and overnight oats. If you don’t usually use almond milk in your oats then this week give it a try. I also enjoy coconut yogurt instead of plain, and use frozen berries instead of fresh. For snack I am going to give these peanut butter pretzel energy bites a try from @pinchofyum. I love the idea of peanut butter and pretzels together!
Save yourself some time by printing the dinner-list-4
Meal updates from last week:
The shredded beef tacos did not turn out like I had imagined. I microwaved the tortillas as instructed, but they all tore as soon as I rolled them up. The dish ended up looking really messy. The meatballs in the turkey soup were great, but the broth was very bland. I do not think that I will make this recipe again. The cranberry protein balls were a huge hit! The flavour and texture of these ones were very different from the peanut butter based ones. I will be making these again.
Love week, we will be eating in Monday-Thursday which includes Valentine’s Day. Friday we will be eating out, and we do not have plans for Saturday. The weather is supposed to be lovely so I will be firing up the bbq for two of my meals.
- Lasagne soup from @farmgirlsdabble I will serve this with a caesar salad (I have made this soup many times and it is a huge hit. I omit the ricotta when serving to my kids).
- Valentine’s Day menu:
Lobster tails with artichoke risotto from @travelcooktell and a green veggie on the side: asparagus, green beans or a salad. For dessert I will be making the no-bake cheesecake that I posted last week in Sweet Treats.
- Greek turkey burgers with tzatziki from @foodiecrush (I will serve this with a greek salad)
- Grilled Hawaiian chicken teriyaki bowls from tastesbetterfromscratch.com (I have made this bowl before, and the flavours are amazing together! I will be making steamed rice for the bowl base, not the coconut rice that the recipe calls for).
For breakfast this week I will be trying out a new recipe for oatmeal breakfast bites. For snack I will be going back to the protein balls from @thelemonbowl they have been the biggest hit in our house. This week I will be looking for recipes for protein balls that are lunchbox safe.
Don’t forget to print the dinner-list-3 for your weekly grocery shopping.
With the Super Bowl five days away one must start planning the snacks that will be served to watch the big game. We all know that food served on Sunday is almost as exciting as the game itself. I have rounded up some great recipes that are sure to be a hit this weekend.
Turkey sweet potato chili from @iowagirleats (This is a super easy crock pot meal)
Beer chili from @howsweeteats
Super Bowl chili from @damdelicious
Pizza wheels from @spoonforkbacon (this is another version of a recipe posted on my weekly meals)
Bagel pizza bites from @kevinandamada (this will be a kid favourite)
Skillet cheeseburger pizza from @howsweeteats
Slow cooker buffalo chicken meatballs from @howsweeteats
One more buffalo meatball recipe from tablespoon.com
A more traditional meatball recipe from @damdelicious
Crock pot enchilada dip from @iowagirleats
Blt and pepperoni pizza dip from @emilybitesblog (the pizza dip is amazing)
Queso from @whatsgabycookin
Green chile beef nachos from @howsweeteats
The Pioneer Woman’s loaded nachos
Sheet pan nachos from @damdelicious
This list could go on and on, but I needed to stop somewhere. Other great football snack ideas include: burgers, wings, tacos, pulled pork and pretzels.
Happy Super Bowl,
If your kids are anything like mine then as soon as they are home from school they are looking for snacks. It is a tricky time to feed children, they need something to tide them over until dinner, but giving them too much may impact their appetite. I always try to give a fruit or vegetable and a protein. Here is a list of kid approved snacks:
- smoothies: frozen fruit, half a banana, any type of milk, yogurt and a handful of spinach.
- banana split: cut a banana in half lengthwise, cover with yogurt and top with berries and nuts.
- ants on a wheel: thinly slice an apple, spread slices with nut butter and top with raisins. (sometimes we also add some chocolate chips)
- energy bites: our new favourite recipe is from @thelemonbowl
- home-made snack mix: pretzels, raisins, chocolate chips, Chex cereal and goldfish crackers. (this is also a great snack to send to school)
- cheese and crackers