Kid-friendly Kid-Made Classic Croquetas + Radical Red Pepper Sauce + Sweet Red "Sangria" Punch Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Family Meal Plan: Kid-Made Classic Croquetas + Radical Red Pepper Sauce + Sweet Red Kid Sangria Punch

Family Meal Plan: Kid-Made Classic Croquetas + Radical Red Pepper Sauce + Sweet Red "Sangria" Punch

Kid-Made Classic Croquetas + Radical Red Pepper Sauce + Sweet Red Kid Sangria Punch

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by Marie C Fields/Shutterstock.com
prep time
20 minutes
cook time
40 minutes
makes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Kid-Made Classic Croquetas

The Spanish word "croqueta" (krow-KET-ah) comes from the French verb "croquer," which means…to crunch! That hints at something about the dish, but naturally, we have more to say. 

Croquetas are small, crisp, golden-fried spheres with yummy insides. Popular fillings include meat, fish, or vegetables mixed with béchamel sauce or mashed potatoes as a binder. Croquetas can be served as an appetizer, side dish, or street food and are found in many of the world's cuisines, with minor variations. For example, Italy's (delicious!) arancini feature rice as the base. Our classic croquetas recipe is inspired by Spanish croquetas, commonly served as tapas (snacks). 

Since most kids LOVE to dip their food and croquetas are perfectly sized for little hands, we've included a sauce for dipping—or drizzling, if you prefer. We recommend the Radical Red Pepper Sauce for two reasons: First, the sweetness of the peppers is hard to beat. Second, the recipe is based on a dish Chef Dylan enjoyed at Barolo Grill, which happens to be another of my family's passion projects!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief
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Shopping List

  • FRESH
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 medium Roma tomatoes
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • FROZEN
  • 1 C frozen diced pineapple
  • PANTRY
  • 1 pkg instant mashed potatoes (about 10 oz)
  • 1 C all-purpose flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free flour)**
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/3 C vegetable oil
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 C grape juice (red or white, your choice)
  • 1 12-oz can (or 1 C) sparkling water
  • EGGS
  • 1 egg **(for EGG ALLERGY sub 1 T flax seed + 1/4 C warm water—more info below)**
  • HAVE ON HAND
  • 1 1/4 C water

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • blend :

    to stir together two or more ingredients until just combined; blending is a gentler process than mixing.

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • combine :

    to merge two or more ingredients into one mixture, like a batter of flour, eggs, and milk.

  • crack :

    to break open or apart a food to get what's inside, like an egg or a coconut.

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • shape :

    to form food into a specific shape by hand or with a cutting tool—examples are cutting cookie dough into shapes with cookie cutters, forming bread dough into a roll or crescent shape, and rolling ground meat into a meatball.

  • simmer :

    to cook a food gently, usually in a liquid, until softened.

  • stir :

    to mix together two or more ingredients with a spoon or spatula, usually in a circle pattern, or figure eight, or in whatever direction you like!

  • stir-fry :

    to cook meat, fish, or vegetables rapidly over high heat while stirring briskly—used in Asian cooking.

  • whisk :

    to beat or stir ingredients vigorously with a fork or whisk to mix, blend, or incorporate air.

Equipment Checklist

  • Medium sauté pan
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Measuring spoons
  • Wooden spoon
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Small pot + lid
  • Slotted spoon, tongs, or heat-resistant spatula
  • Plate or tray
  • Paper towels
  • Pitcher
  • Citrus juicer (optional)
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Ingredients

Kid-Made Classic Croquetas

  • 1 pkg instant mashed potatoes (about 10 oz)
  • 1 C water
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 egg **(for EGG ALLERGY sub 1 T flax seed + 1/4 C warm water—more info below)**
  • 1 C all-purpose flour + more for dusting hands **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free flour)**
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1/4 C vegetable oil + more if needed

Radical Red Pepper Sauce

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 medium Roma tomatoes
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 C water

Sweet Red Kid Sangria Punch

  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 C grape juice
  • 1 C frozen diced pineapple
  • 1 C sparkling water

Food Allergen Substitutions

Kid-Made Classic Croquetas

  • Egg: For 1 egg in Croquetas, substitute 1 T flax seed + 1/4 C warm water. Stir and soak flaxseeds in warm water for 5 minutes or until fully absorbed and thickened.
  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute gluten-free flour for all-purpose flour in Croquetas.

Instructions

Kid-Made Classic Croquetas

1.
frying safety

Make sure to always have your lid nearby. Smoke and splatter are hazardous and need to be treated with care. As soon as you finish using the fryer oil, turn the heat off and turn on a ventilation fan above your stove to help with any smoking oil.

2.
measure + whisk + chop

Hola! Croquetas (krow-KET-ahs) are a Spanish tapas treat! Crispy mashed potatoes will be your new favorite! Combine 1 package instant mashed potatoes and 1 cup water in a large mixing bowl and whisk together until the potatoes become creamy and smooth. The more you whisk the more the mashed potatoes will thicken. Set aside. Chop 1 garlic clove until it’s minced and add that to the potato bowl.

3.
crack + combine

Crack 1 egg and measure 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 pinch of black pepper and add them all to the mashed potato bowl. Stir until all the ingredients are blended.

4.
shape + measure + heat

Using a tablespoon, scoop 1 ball of the mashed potato mixture onto a cutting board. Make as many as possible. Gently roll the balls of potato in your hands to smooth them out. (Coat your hands in a small amount of flour to prevent sticking.) Adults place a small pot on medium heat and measure 1/4 cup vegetable oil to add to the small pot.

5.
fry + cool

After about 1 minute of heating the oil, adults start placing 6 of the potato balls in the oil gently. They will begin to sizzle. Fry them on each side for 3 minutes or until golden brown all over. Add more oil if the pot is too dry for the next batch. Remove the golden Croquetas on a paper towel-lined plate or tray. Cool for at least 3 minutes before serving to prevent burning mouths. Serve with Radical Red Pepper Sauce (see recipe) or another dip.

Radical Red Pepper Sauce

1.
chop + measure + combine

Chop 1 red bell pepper and 2 medium Roma tomatoes into a large dice and add to a medium sauté pan. Measure 1 pinch of sugar, 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 pinch of black pepper, and 1 teaspoon vegetable oil and add that to the pan with the chopped tomatoes and pepper. Turn the heat to medium and start sizzling.

2.
stir + count

Stir the mixture for 5 minutes while it sizzles. Count to 10 in Spanish while you stir: 1 uno (OOnoh), 2 dos (dohs), 3 tres (trehs), 4 cuatro (KWAHtroh), 5 cinco (SEENkoh), 6 seis (SAYees), 7 siete (seeEHtay), 8 ocho (OHchoh), 9 nueve (NUehvay), 10 diez (DEEehs)!

3.
simmer + stir

Turn the heat to low. Add 1/4 C water and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring infrequently.

4.
blend + simmer

Remove the bay leaf and discard. Blend the mixture thoroughly and return to a low simmer for at least 5 more minutes on low before serving alongside the Kid-Made Classic Croquetas (see recipe) or with your favorite pasta! Buen provecho!

Sweet Red Kid Sangria Punch

1.
squeeze + combine

It’s party time with this kid-friendly drink recipe! Cut 1 orange and 1 lemon in half and squeeze all the juice from them into a pitcher. (You can also place slices of lemon and orange in the drink for added flavor!) Then, add 3 cups grape juice, 1 cup frozen pineapple, and 1 cup sparkling water to the pitcher and stir.

2.
serve + cheers

Serve over ice or as is! Feel free to always add more or different fruits to your Sangria. This party drink is versatile and supposed to be different each time you make it. Salud!

Surprise Ingredient: Potato!

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Photo by Tatevosian Yana/Shutterstock.com

Hi, my name is Spud! That's my nickname, though. I'm actually a Potato!

“I'm sometimes a bit dirty because I grow down in the soil, but I clean up just fine. You may notice I sometimes have 'eyes' on my skin. That's where I sprout so new potato plants can grow. You can use the end of a vegetable peeler or a knife to remove those sprouts unless you're going to plant me! We are versatile, starchy vegetables that you can leave whole, slice, dice, shred, or mash and bake, boil, fry, grill, or roast!"

History & Etymology

  • Potatoes are the foremost vegetable crop in the world! They are root vegetables native to the Americas.
  • Scientists believe the first potatoes were cultivated about 8,000 years ago by hunters and gatherers near Lake Titicaca—high in the Andes mountains, on the border between Peru and Bolivia. 
  • Those first farmers obtained the cultivated potato by domesticating wild potato plants that grew prolifically around the lake. Over the following millennia, people in the Andes developed potato varieties for growing at different altitudes and in other climates.
  • In 1532, the Spaniards invaded Peru searching for gold, but they took a different treasure back to Europe: the potato! Over the next 300 years, the potato became a staple crop in Europe and soon found its way to India, China, and Japan. China now grows the most potatoes worldwide.
  • The potato has been a staple ingredient in the German diet since the 17th century when King Frederick was known to give seeds to citizens and demonstrate how to plant them for food. 
  • Famines occurred in the mid-1700s, and people in Germany realized the importance of potatoes because they could be grown in harsh environments.  
  • Where are most of the potatoes produced in the United States? In Idaho! Approximately one-third of all potatoes in the US are grown there.
  • The potato was the first vegetable grown in outer space!
  • President Thomas Jefferson was the first person to serve french fries in the United States (in 1802 in the White House).
  • Potatoes are so popular that a plastic toy called "Mr. Potato Head" has been sold by Hasbro since 1952. Initially, they sold it as separate parts, like eyes, ears, mouth, hats, etc., that could be attached to an actual potato with pushpins. Due to too many ruined potatoes and new safety rules, in 1964, Hasbro added a plastic potato body with holes to insert the plastic body parts and clothing. The toy was the first to be advertised on television. 
  • The English word "potato" comes from the mid-16th century from the Spanish "patata," which may have been a hybrid of "batata" (sweet potato) from the extinct Taíno language and "papa" (potato) from the Quechua language.  

Anatomy

  • Potatoes are tubers and are members of the Nightshade family, which also includes tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and tobacco. 
  • The potato plant has a relatively short lifespan of anywhere from 80 to 150 days, determined by the variety of the potato. Furthermore, according to the International Potato Center in Peru, there are more than 4,000 varieties, with most found in the Andes Mountains!
  • Potatoes do not grow from seeds like other vegetables and fruits. Instead, they grow from "seed potatoes," which sprout and form roots underground. 
  • During its first stages of life, sprouts form from the eyes of the primary tuber. First, farmers prepare the earth by tilling it in rows that form ridges. Next, they remove stones from the soil to help the potatoes grow in uniform, oval shapes. Then, the seed potatoes are planted and covered with dirt for protection.
  • Seed potatoes are planted in the Spring so that the warmth from the sun can stimulate the plants to grow. First, roots form from the seed potatoes, and new shoots reach up through the soil toward the warm sun. Soon, green leaves grow on the shoots, establishing the potato plants. Then roots spread underground in the earth, and the potatoes grow from these roots. Potatoes are relatively easy to grow, even in harsh environments.   

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat 

  • Choose potatoes that are smooth, plump, free from blemishes, cuts, and decay, and that don't give when you squeeze them. 
  • Potatoes start getting soft when they go bad, so choose firm potatoes at the grocery store.
  • Smell potatoes before buying them: they should smell fresh and faintly of dirt since they grow in soil. 
  • Waxy potatoes are best for boiling and steaming, as they contain less starch and won't absorb as much liquid. Examples of waxy potatoes are Yukon gold, fingerling, Carola, LaRette, and Austrian Crescent.  
  • Medium-starch, all-purpose potatoes (red, purple, Onaway, and goldilocks varieties) work well when baked, roasted, fried, and used in soups and gratins.
  • Russet potatoes are best for frying (such as in hash browns and french fries), as they contain less starch and will get crisper.
  • Store potatoes in open or hole-punched paper bags (not plastic) to keep air circulating around the potatoes. Plastic bags can trap moisture and cause potatoes to rot quicker. Also, keep the bag in a dark, dry space. Chlorophyll will develop and produce a tell-tale green tinge if you store potatoes in too bright a place. If this happens, a toxic compound called solanine also forms, and it is best to toss any green potato in the garbage.   

Nutrition

  • Potatoes, with their skin, are rich in carbohydrates and a good source of energy. In addition, they have a high content of vitamin C and potassium, and protein that is well matched to human needs.
  • One cup of cooked potatoes contains 32 percent of the daily value of vitamin B6. This vitamin is a major antioxidant (antioxidants help clear the body of harmful substances). We need B6 for our brains and hearts, helping us learn and focus better, keep our moods up, and keep our brains sharp. Vitamin B6 is also required to make all new cells in the body, which happens every minute of our lives!

 

What are Croquettes?

Photo by Toyakisphoto/Shutterstock.com
  • A croquette (krow-KET) is a filled and breaded dumpling or small roll that is deep-fried. You can fill savory croquettes with a mixture of minced meat, seafood, potatoes, vegetables, rice, mushrooms, or cheese, with a sauce, bread, or mashed potatoes to bind the mixture. Then you shape the croquettes into an oval or ball, roll in a blend of flour, egg, and breadcrumbs, and deep-fry in oil or fat. 
  • Sweet croquettes can be filled with a mixture of fruit, nuts, fruit jam, coconut, pastry cream, or custard. Croquettes are served as a side dish, snack, or fast food worldwide.
  • "Croquetas" are the Spanish version served as "tapas" (snacks or small plates). They are typically filled with "jamón" (dry-cured ham), chicken, or salt cod and thick béchamel sauce.
  • The word "croquette" comes from the French "croquer," meaning to bite or crunch. François Massialot, a 17th-century French chef, had a recipe for "croquets" filled with meat, truffles, marrow, bread crumbs, an egg to bind it, and then breaded and fried in lard (pig fat).

Let's Learn About Spain!

Photo by MJTH/Shutterstock.com
  • Spain is on the Iberian peninsula in Europe. Its official name is the "Kingdom of Spain," and its capital is Madrid. Spain's government is a constitutional monarchy, with a king, prime minister, and parliament. The population of Spain is more than 47 million people. 
  • Mediterranean settlers migrated to Spain, Africa, and Europe, and a people known as the Phoenicians called the Iberian peninsula "Span" ("hidden land"), so you can see where the name Spain might have come from! 
  • Did you know there is more than just one Spanish language?! The official and most prominent language of Spain is Castilian Spanish. However, Spanish dialects are also spoken, such as Andalusian, Canarian, Castúo, and Murcian Spanish. In addition, there are six other regional, co-official languages recognized in the country, including Aranese, Basque, Catalan, Galician, and Valencian. 
  • The Mediterranean climate in Spain means that summers are hot and dry, especially in the south. However, snow can be found in the winter, especially in the Pyrenees, mountains in the north that border France.
  • Soccer or "fútbol" is the most popular sport in Spain. Some of the other sports Spaniards participate in are tennis, cycling, basketball, and handball. 
  • Spain is known for its rich culture and exciting festivals. The Tomatina Festival is the world's biggest food fight. It's held on the last Wednesday in August every year when people throw over 100 tons of tomatoes on the streets of Buñol. The festival of San Fermin, in Pamplona, in the northern region of Navarre, is an eight-day celebration in honor of Saint Fermin, the co-patron of Navarre. The famous Running of the Bulls event occurs each morning of the festival when a small group of bulls and steers are let loose to run down fenced-off streets toward the bull-fighting ring. Young adults, often tourists, try to race ahead of the animals, dodging the bulls' horns when overtaken. Unfortunately, a few people always end up being injured during the runs.
  • Spanish art, food, literature, and music have become popular all over the world. Examples are the famous Spanish novel, Don Quixote, written in the early 1600s by Miguel de Cervantes; the painter Francisco Goya's works from the late 18th to early 19th century; and Flamenco music and dance from Andalusia, first documented in 1774. 
  • In addition to fideuà and paella, Spain is known for its "gazpacho" (a cold veggie soup), "jamón ibérico" (dry-cured ham), "olla podrida" (a meat and veggie stew), and Manchego cheese (sheep cheese from the La Mancha region). Spanish cooks use a lot of garlic and olive oil, of which they are the largest producer. 
  • "Tapas" refers to a Spanish way of eating, in addition to the name of small dishes served individually as appetizers or combined to make a meal. When friends are out together, they will often share tapas plates at their table. The Spanish word "tapa" can mean "top," "lid," or "cover," and tapas may have begun as a slice of bread or meat to cover a wine glass to keep beach sand or flies out. In many parts of northern Spain, such as Basque Country and Navarre, tapas are called "pintxos" or "pinchos."

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Spain?

  • Most Spanish children speak the Spanish language, also called Castilian, but some may speak Catalan, Galician, or Basque, depending on where they live in the country. 
  • Families are close-knit, and grandparents often take care of children if both parents work. 
  • Kids primarily play soccer but also play basketball, tennis, handball, or other sports. They may visit beaches, zoos, aquariums, museums, and amusement parks for fun. 
  • A popular breakfast is a churro with a chocolaty drink made with ColaCao. "Tortilla de patatas" (potato omelet) is also a favorite. Kids might have a snack at school since they might not have lunch until they get home, and they look forward to "la merienda," a snack between lunch and dinner that often consists of a sandwich, since dinner may not be served until 8 pm. 

That's Berry Funny

What did the lemon say to the cake? 

"Sour you doing?"

THYME for a Laugh

How do you fix a broken tomato? 

Tomato paste!

The Yolk's On You

Why did the lemon stop halfway across the road? 

He ran out of juice!

THYME for a Laugh

What kind of socks do you need to plant bell peppers? 

Garden hose!

That's Berry Funny

Why did the tomato blush? 

Because he saw the salad dressing!

THYME for a Laugh

What do you call a potato who spends a lot of time sitting and thinking? 

MediTator!

That's Berry Funny

What do you give an injured lemon?

Lemon-aid!

That's Berry Funny

Why do oranges wear suntan lotion? 

Because they peel.

The Yolk's On You

What do you call a potato that is reluctant to jump into boiling water? 

Hez A Tator

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