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Whether you're looking for the perfect gift for your dad, grandfather, or a father figure in your life, we have something special just for you. Save 15% off selected items until 6/16/24. Use code DAD. ⮞

Simple Sides: Upside-Down Pineapple Oatmeal-Clean Snax® Muffins

Image of Upside-Down Pineapple Oatmeal-Clean Snax® Muffins
Children in this country consume an estimated 12 percent of their calories from fast food and 20 percent of all American meals are eaten in the car! The consequences are predictably unhealthy. Competing schedules in the day-to-day lives of a busy modern family make it difficult to share a home-cooked meal together, but not impossible. In fact, with a little planning, cooking together can become a fun family event and learning opportunity. This feature will focus on providing a child or a group of children, working together under the supervision of an adult, with one uncomplicated, healthy and delicious side dish recipe. The dishes will be centered on seasonal fresh produce items; the recipes will always contain tasks will allow even the youngest kitchen helper to contribute to the family meal. Parents should always read through each recipe carefully to judge the division of labor based on age and ability as well as to identify where adult attention might be especially needed.
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Many of the recipes presented here will seem very basic, this is by design. It is hoped that these simple preparations will provide the culinary foundation and confidence to inspire kids to try more challenging recipes as their experience and confidence in the kitchen develops. Melissa’s encourages parents to find the time to gather as a family unit at least once a week for a dinner that everyone pitches in to prepare. It’s a wonderful way to teach a child some basic culinary skills and, more importantly, cooking with your children will build memories in all your hearts forever. Enjoy your kids in the kitchen, they will be grown & gone before you know it! “No one is born a great cook; one learns by doing” – Julia Child.

Baking is the easiest way to introduce a child to the wonders of the kitchen. It was my first experience as a helper – whisking the batter for brownies or a cake my mom was making. Who knew then that those simple tasks would provide both the fundamentals and confidence to cook and collaborate professionally with some of the finest chefs in this country over the years? And it all started with a batch of brownies! However, despite the fond memories, here’s a recipe for a much healthier substitute to the mostly white flour & white sugar brownie with more interesting ingredients and an upside-down process that should keep your young kitchen helpers’ attention and even tickle their imaginations!

These Pineapple Upside-Down muffins, reheated, make the perfect quick breakfast or healthy after-school snack. Melissa’s Clean Snax® Quinoa was crushed and then combined with whole oats in a batter that bakes into a light-yet-hearty muffin with lots of fiber. The Clean Snax® healthy ingredients, which also have just the right balance of sweetness, help qualify these tasty little treats as both a great starter to the day and a mid-day energy booster to combat the dreaded afternoon slumps.

The most interesting ingredient your helpers get to work with in this recipe is the cute, kid-sized Baby Pineapple. Even slicing the fruit into slabs by holding its leafy handle can even be fun; be sure to watch chef Tom’s video link in the instructions below before starting this recipe. The beauty of using these little guys compared to a regular sized pineapple, besides being small hands friendly, is that there is no messy coring to deal with as the fruit is entirely edible!

The placement of those pineapple pieces and the strawberry halves at the bottom of the batter does take a bit of imagination to envision the upside-down part of this dish. So, you will have to explain to your young helpers that the bottom will eventually become the top of the muffins once baked. It will all be quite clear when the first muffin out of the oven is flipped over. The fun of culinary discovery!

Upside-Down Pineapple Oatmeal-Clean Snax® Muffins
Yield 6 muffins
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Ingredients
1 cup baby pineapple, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons agave
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 strawberries, sliced in half
3 cup old fashioned oats (originally 2 cups)
2 cups Clean Snax® Quinoa, cubes smashed
2½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
Strawberries, crushed (garnish)

What the supervising adult should do:
Before your helpers are invited into the kitchen, prep the baby pineapple. See Chef Tom Fraker’s video on this process. Basically, slice off the butt end and remove skin; leave the top leaves for a handle that your helpers can hold while slicing the fruit. Also remove the stems of the strawberries. Oversee an older child cutting up both fruits per the recipe’s instructions. Handle the oven, bake at 350°F for 20-24 minutes until the oatmeal is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

What the kids can do:
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In a large mixing bowl mix together the oats, Clean Snax®, baking powder and the salt. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the egg, egg white, milk, applesauce. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir together until thoroughly combined.
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Slice both the strawberries and pineapple crosswise into thin rounds; then quarter each pineapple round and cut each strawberry round in half.
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Place agave and cinnamon in a bowl, stir to coat the pineapple.
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Spray a muffin tin lightly with cooking spray. Now place a strawberry half in the in the center of each well of the muffin tin, sliced side up, then surround it with the coated pineapple pieces.
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Spoon the batter evenly amongst the wells in muffin tin over top of the strawberry and pineapple chunks.
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Allow them to cool in the tin for at least 10 minutes before letting the kids carefully remove by flipping each over so the pineapples are on top for serving.
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