Peanut-free the way to be in school
DEAR SARA: I have a son in full-day school (snack and lunch needed) and one son in morning preschool (only snack needed). Both are in a peanut-free schools. I just found out that they can’t bring anything that has even a generic peanut warning that says it “may” contain nuts. This warning is on everything. I can no longer send granola bars, commercial cookies and crackers, etc. Do you have any ideas? — Nicki, e-mail
DEAR NICKI: You can find soy butter and sunflower butter in health-food stores. You can also include food items such as yogurt, pudding, applesauce, fruit, raw veggies and dip, string cheese, chicken nuggets, luncheon meats, pizza, hard-boiled eggs, breadsticks, cottage cheese, macaroni and cheese, soups, popcorn and hummus. Ask the school and other parents for suggestions, too. I realize this can be frustrating, but peanut-free options outweigh the restrictions. Check your local library for peanut-free cookbooks, too. Here’s a helpful list, too. http://elps.k12.mi.us/education/sctemp/12345/1250635360/peanut-freesnacks.pdf
DEAR SARA: I always make too much rice and have leftovers. I have heard about heating it with sugar and milk for breakfast or frying it with soy sauce and veggies as fried rice. Do you have any good ideas on how to use it? — Lukesmama, e-mail
DEAR LUKESMAMA: Here’s a list of ideas for you to try whenever you are either bored with white rice or have leftover rice.
CHEESY RICE: Add butter and Parmesan cheese.
SWEET RICE: Add cinnamon, sugar and butter.
LITTLE BIT COUNTRY: Add gravy.
ROOM FOR A ‘SHROOM: Add mushrooms and a sauteed garlic.
GARDENER’S PICK: Add chopped fresh basil, chopped tomatoes and corn.
MEATY BARBECUE: Add kielbasa sausage or hot dogs and barbecue sauce.
ITALIAN FLAIR: Add tomato-basil sauce or your favorite red sauce, cooked zucchini and Italian sausage to hot or reheated rice. Top with cheese such as mozzarella or Parmesan.
SOUTH OF THE BORDER: Add diced tomatoes, sliced green onions, shredded cheese, diced cooked carrots, peas and red-pepper sauce, or add cooked beans, salsa and shredded cheese to hot or reheated rice.
I HEART RICE: Add marinated artichoke hearts and grated Parmesan cheese to hot or reheated rice.
BEEF IT UP: Cook rice in beef broth. Add sauteed onions and mushrooms.
GOLDEN RICE: Cook rice in chicken stock. Add sauteed onions and mixed vegetables, such as peas and carrots.
DEAR SARA: I’m looking for a new chicken-salad-sandwich recipe. I’d like to try something different, but I am not interested in anything that has grapes or raisins in it. I love the crunch in my sandwich, but don’t want fruit added. — Cherrie, New York
DEAR CHERRIE: I like the following recipe when I want a crunchy chicken-salad sandwich.
Crunchy Chicken Salad
3 cups diced chicken
1 medium cucumber, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 small onion, diced
3 radishes, chopped
1/2 carrot, chopped
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup ranch dressing
salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients. Split croissant in half. Place lettuce leaf on half a croissant. Spread chicken salad on the other half croissant and assemble sandwich.
photo by Wendy Copley