Sarah Stegner, a two-time James Beard award-winning chef and co-owner of Prairie Grass Café in Northbrook, shares her recipes for guacamole and veggies rolls with a sweet dipping sauce. Christine Palumbo, a registered dietitian-nutritionist and a 20-year faculty member at Benedictine University in Lisle, shares her recipe for frozen banana bites.
Ingredients: Small bowls of roughly chopped cilantro, finely chopped jalapeños without seeds, diced tomatoes, diced onions and lime wedges. Salt and black pepper to taste.
Directions: Set up garnishes in small dishes. Give your child a small mixing bowl, spoon and fork. Explain that you can always add more ingredients but you can't take them out. Cut avocado in half, remove pit and let your child scoop it out. In a bowl, mash with a fork and start adding ingredients and season. Adjust ingredient quantity for taste. Serve with chips and/or celery sticks, carrots, sliced peppers.
Veggie rolls with sweet soy dipping sauce
Ingredients: Spring roll pastry, 1 teaspoon of (olive or coconut) oil and assorted veggies. Select an assortment of vegetables depending on what your child likes. Some recommendations include tomato, chopped lettuce, avocado, cucumber, fine julienne of carrots and blanched broccoli, green beans, edamame or cauliflower.
Directions: Place the square of pastry on an angle so one of the corners is pointing toward you. Brush a little oil on the far corner. Place a small amount of vegetables in a row (about ½ inch from the edge on each side). Roll up pastry, fold in the two corners on your left and right. Seal the roll with the edge that has the oil. In a nonstick pan, sauté rolls in olive oil over medium heat, turning rolls until all sides are golden brown. Allow to cool slightly.
Dipping sauce: 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of raw sugar, 1 tablespoon of water, few chopped up sprigs of cilantro leaves. Mix ingredients and stir until sugar is dissolved.
Frozen banana bites
Ingredients: 1 peeled banana, 1/3 cup chocolate chips (or a leftover chocolate bar, chopped), flaked sweetened coconut, cookie or cake "sprinkles."
Directions: Cut banana into 1-inch slices (cut off ends). Place the slices onto a plate or baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Freeze for about one hour. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips in 30 second increments. Stir well after each, until the chocolate is completely smooth. Place the coconut and sprinkles each on separate plates. Remove the banana from the freezer and dip each piece halfway into the melted chocolate. Roll the chocolate-covered halves in the coconut and sprinkles. Place the banana pieces back on the plate and into the freezer for an additional 15 minutes or until set.