This post was sponsored by Carando as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
If I’ve learned anything about making the best of these many months staying close to home, its that great food can make even the most normal of days into something special.
Like most Americans in the past 6 months, we’ve been spending our time as close to home as possible. Living in a rural location has definitely helped our social distancing situation. We probably have more cows in our county than people, so keeping our distance while still enjoying the outdoors has been very easy.
At least once a week we try to do something different than simply doing work, school, and eating dinner at home before falling into bed to do it all again the next day. It helps break up the daily routine and keeps our spirits up even though our usual adventures are all currently on hold.
We are very lucky to count farm life and gorgeous rural settings as our normal every day. But, as adventurers missing our city shopping trips and museums outings in these times of staying close to home, it’s easy to begin feeling trapped while sticking close to home.
I’ve learned that making our local adventures feel as special as those far away adventures of days past is as easy as creating a fun and special snack to enjoy while we soak up time together outdoors.
Keeping products on hand that make creating those special snacks easy is the key to ensuring that I actually follow through with making at least one day feel extraordinary each week.
Lately I’ve been stocking Carando meatballs for creating easy grab and go snack trays for our local outings. With Carando anything goes; which ensures I have lots of options when I suddenly decide that today is the day for a local adventure. Carando meatballs have robust flavors which allow me to create an authentic Italian style meal (or snack) in less than 30 minutes!
Today I’m going to share the quick and easy Italian snack tray I created for a last minute afternoon adventure earlier this week.
I simply baked a tray of Carando meatballs (which takes less than 30 minutes) while I searched my refrigerator and pantry for some complementary items to add. No special grocery trip, no thinking days or (even hours) ahead- just 30 minutes of prep and my family was ready to head outside for a special afternoon together.
How to make a kid friendly snack tray to elevate a typical day to an extra special day.
First you’ll need to bake a tray of Carando meatballs. You’ll find Carando meatballs in the refigerated section of your local meat department.
I chose the Sicilian Italian Style Meatballs for this tray, since I was keeping the rest of the flavors very simple. All of the Carando meatball varieties use high quality, premium Italian ingredients.
To bake the meatballs simply preheat the oven to 375° and cover a baking sheet with foil. Then, bake the meatballs for 15 minutes while you gather the other snack tray ingredients. Then, turn the meatballs over and bake them another 13 to 17 minutes while finishing the rest of the snack tray prep.
Next choose several starches for your snack tray. Some fun ideas that kids will enjoy are Italian bread, crunchy bread sticks, Italian flavored crackers, baked pita chips, or pretzels.
Then add some dipping friendly vegetables. I happened to have tomatoes and carrots in my refrigerator on this afternoon. But, you can add any veggie that your kids love to dip. I suggest trying celery, mushrooms, and cucumbers on your tray as well.
Now add some cheese squares and a little fruit to your tray.
Mozzarella cheese is the obvious choice for this Italian style snack tray, but feel free to add any cheese that you have on hand or that your children really enjoy. I added cheddar to my tray on this day and it was a hit.
You can also add some grapes or olives to this section of the snack tray.
By now, your Carando meatballs should be finished. Add the baked meatballs to the last quarter section of your Italian snack tray.
Since this is a kid friendly snack tray, you’ll definitely need a dip.
What is it about dipping that makes snacking so fun for kids?
Pour your kids’ favorite marinara sauce into a bowl in the center of your snack tray. If your sauce has been in the refrigerator, you might want to warm it just enough to take the chill off. I find that my kids are happy with a room temperature dipping sauce with this snack tray.
Now, if you really want to elevate this snack tray and day, make the tray cute. You really don’t have to do anything difficult to make the tray special. Kids love fun food picks and you can pick them up very inexpensively just about anywhere from your local grocery store to all the big online stores.
Today I added these adorable eyeball picks to our Italian snack tray in about 60 seconds and the kids could not have been happier with the result!
We might be spending a whole lot more time close to home these days, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still have special days together as a family!
How are you elevating the everyday for your family? Find even more awesome, easy recipes and ideas for Carando meatballs here.