After-School Snack Sensations

Put down the potato chips and step away from the candy bars. With a handful of ingredients and less than an hour, you can easily whip up a satisfying treat for your kids.

Baked Bruschetta
Serves 4 to 5 people

For the kid at heart, try a sophisticated but oh-so-simple bruschetta recipe to tide you over until dinnertime. Want to make it the night before? Mix up the spread and refrigerate it overnight in an airtight container.

1 loaf Italian or French bread
½ cup Italian salad dressing
1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tomato (seeded and chopped)
1 clove minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon black pepper
Optional: additional mozzarella cheese for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut bread into thin slices. Combine rest of ingredients in a bowl, mixing gently but completely. Spread mixture over slices of bread on a foil-lined cookie sheet. If desired, sprinkle an additional ½ cup shredded mozzarella over all slices. Bake slices for 15 minutes, or until cheese melts. Serve fresh from the oven.

Pumpkin Bread
Yields 2 loaves

Pumpkin has never been exclusive to pies. Spice up your afternoon with this delicious year-round pumpkin bread recipe featuring our favorite fall spices. Bake this recipe once, and you’ll have the perfect after-school snack all week.
1 16-ounce can of pumpkin (or 2 cups pumpkin puree)
3 cups sugar
⅔ cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
3⅓ cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine ingredients in order, mixing well. Butter and flour two 9-inch loaf pans. Pour batter into pans, and then sprinkle additional cinnamon and nutmeg over the top. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

Marathon Cookies
Yields about 3 dozen large cookies

The chocolate and walnut combination in these delicious cookies will satisfy any crunchy craving.

2½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup margarine
½ cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
¾ cup chopped walnuts
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift flour, baking powder and baking soda in a small bowl. Cream together margarine and butter in a large bowl, and then add sugars. Blend well; beat in eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients to mixture. Slowly add chocolate chips and walnuts. Form into 1-inch balls (about a tablespoon of dough), evenly spaced on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly for 2 minutes, then cool completely on a cookie rack.

Walnuts pack a punch in these snacks — high in protein, minerals, vitamin e, antioxidants and omega-3s.