Topping a savory side dish
Out of breadcrumbs? No worries… just check your cereal supply (we know you always have that on hand!). Simply crush up cereal in a plastic bag and top green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese or oven-baked potatoes with it for a crunchy topping that will take these side dishes off the sidelines and get them into the game.
One of the easiest and most delicious desserts I've ever had is the simple combination of two of my favorite plain Jane things: vanilla ice cream and good 'ol corn flakes. Fried ice cream makes the dessert list of every American Mexican restaurant I've ever been to, and I know why: crunchy, sweet corn flakes are the ultimate contrast to vanilla ice cream's creamy texture and rich flavor, but cereal for dessert doesn't stop there. Cereal can even be used to make homemade piecrust. Simply mix a cup of crushed unsweetened cereal with 2 tablespoons each of the following: granulated sugar, melted butter and light corn syrup. Transfer to a pie plate, and bake at 350 degrees F for five minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool, and then fill it up countless ways!
Crunched up cereal creates an out of this world coating for all kinds of yummies. Switch out your standard Panko crumbs or cracker crumbs for cereal just once and we swear you'll never switch back. For a coating for chicken, fish or shrimp, whisk together one cup milk and one egg. Then add in one cup flour, one teaspoon salt, half teaspoon pepper and a dash or two of hot chili sauce. Dredge your chicken, fish or shrimp through the mixture, then into the crushed cereal. Place in a shallow baking dish and cook in a 350-degree oven until thoroughly cooked.
Homemade snack mix
Snack mix is a crowd pleaser no matter the age, but it can often be loaded with snacks high in fat, salt and sugar. Make a do-it-yourself snack mix with your favorite healthy cereal, some dried fruit like cranberries, golden raisins or cherries, almonds, sunflower seeds and/or pumpkin seeds and a few dark chocolate no-melt candies.
Don't forget that cereal has countless uses outside the kitchen too. Kids love cereal almost more for playing with than eating (okay, depending on the cereal), so give them a free pass to play with their food and help them make a constructive project using cereal.
Need a few ideas?
- Cereal necklaces are ideal for a take-on-the-run breakfast or snack. Simply string the O-shaped cereal of your choice (or alternate different kinds/flavors) on a long string for your child to wear while using as a nosh-able necklace.
- Use cereal to help kids learn their shapes, colors and even letters. Select healthy cereals that have fun shapes and colors and encourage young children to sort them into like piles. If your child is starting to read and spell on his own, a box of letter-shaped cereal is an invaluable learning tool (and a great breakfast, too!).
More kid-friendly food ideas
Quick and healthy breakfast fruit recipes
5 Breakfast recipes both mom and kids will love
10 Tips for getting your kids in the kitchen