Alphabet Breadsticks

I was in Target last Sunday and one area of the store was particularly popular, noisy, and a bit frantic: the Back-To-School department. Pencils, erasers, scissors, glue, glue sticks, markers, binders, notebooks, notepads, crayons, rulers, tissues, water colors (does anyone ever use those?), and backpacks are being hurled into carts … often someone else’s cart … and parents are pulling their hair because they just realized that they will have to make yet another trip to another store to cross that last item off the list.

Two words pop into my head and I smile: Empty Nest!

These parents and kids got me thinking about those last summer days before my boys returned to school and a more structured schedule. In the summer I loved the days that they could help me make lunch. One of their favorite things to make were Alphabet Breadsticks, a recipe from a Pampered Chef cookbook called “Kids in the Kitchen”. When my boys were young, making these breadsticks for lunch was a lesson in measuring, letters and numbers, creativity, and maybe a little bit of science.

So when my now 20-year-old son was home for a day last week, and I told him I was going to make them for my blog, he wasn’t about to be left out (of the making OR the eating). Plus, his photography skills are far above mine so we both benefitted!

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Alphabet Breadsticks

1 package (6.5 oz) pizza crust mix
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup hot (not boiling) water
2 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, minced
Pizza Sauce

Melt butter in a small bowl and stir in minced garlic; set aside.

In a bowl, combine pizza crust mix, oregano, granulated garlic, and Parmesan cheese. Add hot water and gently stir until evenly moistened and well combined. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes in a warm place.

Preheat oven to 425°.

Sprinkle a cutting board with flour, turn dough out onto cutting board and knead dough 10-12 times. Cut dough into 8 equal parts. Using your hands, roll each piece into ropes. Shape ropes into letters or designs. Place designs (and reshape) on a greased baking sheet. Brush breasticks with butter/garlic. 

Bake for 11-12 minutes or until golden brown. 

Serve warm with pizza sauce.

NOTE: Instead of the butter/garlic mixture, I used a Tuscan Herb Olive Oil from The Olive Tap. Also, for these photos, we made a double batch of the recipe. 

It is so much fun to see what designs kids will make. I made a tic-tac-toe board and my 20-year-old saw “hashtag”!  However, it is not just for kids. These pesto roll-ups would make a great appetizer for adults and kids alike.

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Roll out two of the dough pieces together into a rectangle and spread pesto on it. Roll it up from the short end and use dental floss to cut into 6 pieces. Slide the dental floss under the roll, position where you want to cut, cross the ends over each other and gently pull. The floss will cut it without crushing the spiral. Bake as directed above.

So what do you do for a finale on a project like this?

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Anita Hinkeldey McVey

From the farm in Alta ... to college in Ames ... to the suburbs of Des Moines in Waukee ... I am an Iowa girl through and through. I married the cute, but quiet, guy who made me laugh out loud in Statistics class and we have two awesome, but terribly sarcastic, boys. In 1999, I quit my research job to be home with those active boys. Staying home allowed me to spend more time preparing meals, trying new recipes and striving to serve healthier options for my family. Now that my boys are men ... well, "adults" anyway ... and my husband still appreciates what I accomplish at home, I have time to explore my creative side and knock "writing a blog" off my bucket list. I love trying new things, traveling, gardening, reading and clean countertops. I love baseball (watching, not playing) and concession stands. Choosing a favorite food is impossible but if I was forced to pick just one, it would be pie! I thank God that He has led me to this place. Here's to a new adventure and hopes that others will be able to use what I post to discover the benefits of family meals and living a picnic life.

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