3 easy freeze-ahead snacks for kids

Image: Melbourne Food Files

With these three handy snacks bagged up and ready to go in your freezer, you might be able to avoid the inevitable 3pm chorus of “I’m huuuuuungry!”. Plan ahead and you’ll be able to high-five yourself later.

These are particularly good if you’ve got a newborn on the way and want to stock up on pre-prepared snacks. Also ideal for our new Bento Boxes.

No-bake carrot cake bites

Image: Liv Eats
Image: Liv Eats

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup carrot, finely grated
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1/4 cup raisins or sultanas
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup, agave nectar or honey
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Whip ’em up!

  • Mix together the oats and flax seed in a mixing bowl
  • Stir in the nut butter, syrup/honey and cinnamon
  • Add grated carrot, coconut, vanilla extract and raisins
  • At this stage, you can blitz everything in a food processor or keep it chunky – it’s up to you
  • Roll the mixture into bite-sized balls. The size can vary depending on your preference
  • Place balls on a sheet of baking paper, cover in cling wrap and chill in the fridge for an hour
  • Freeze portions in airtight containers or freezer bags so you can grab, defrost and eat
  • Great for lunchboxes, pop in frozen and they will be defrosted by recess

Beef and cheese empanadas

Image: Peterson Garden
Image: Peterson Garden

What you’ll need:

  • Shortcrust pastry
  • 250g minced beef
  • 3/4 cup beef stock
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 50g grated cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Whip ’em up!

For the filling

  • Add oil to a large frypan over medium-high heat
  • Add onion, stir occasionally until softened then add tomato paste, garlic, oregano, cumin and cook for about 30 seconds
  • Stir through the minced beef, and cook for about 5 minutes or until browned
  • Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and continue simmering until most of the liquid has cooked off (around 8 minutes)
  • Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover and pop in the fridge until cool. Stir through the cheese, then put back in the fridge until you’re ready to use

To assemble

  • Line two baking trays with baking paper
  • Roll out your pastry and cut 15cm circles (about half a centimetre thick)
  • Place pastry circles onto the baking sheets and pop 1tsp of filling in the centre
  • Use your lightly beaten egg to moisten the edges of the pastry and fold over into a half-moon shape
  • Press the edges together with your fingers and crimp with a fork to seal (make sure they are sealed tightly so they don’t burst open when cooking)

To freeze

  • Tightly wrap each baking tray with cling wrap and slide into the freezer. Make sure none of the empanadas are touching or they will be impossible to separate when frozen
  • Once they’re frozen you can place the empanadas into a container or freezer bags, splitting up into portions ready for cooking
  • When you are ready to cook your empanadas, don’t worry about defrosting them. Simply pop them onto a lined baking tray for about 25mins at 220 degrees Celsius

Apple muffins

Image: Multiply Delicious
Image: Multiply Delicious

What you’ll need:

  • 50g butter
  • 425g can of pie apple, or stew your own Granny Smiths
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2sp rolled oats (lightly toasted)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2tsp brown sugar

Whip ’em up!

  • Grease muffin tins and preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  • Sift flour into a large bowl. Rub in butter with fingertips until consistency is like breadcrumbs
  • Stir in sugar
  • In a separate bowl combine milk, egg and 1 cup of your apple. Gently fold through flour mixture and be careful not to overmix (lumps are fine)
  • Spoon mixture into muffin tins and dollop remaining apple on top
  • Combine oats, brown sugar and nutmeg then sprinkle on top of muffins
  • Bake for around 30 to 35 minutes (large muffins) or 20 to 25 mins (small muffins). When inserted into the middle, a skewer should come out clean

NB: Images aren’t of the recipes featured

Feature image: Melbourne Food Files