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My kids adore after-school snack time. They get off the bus, charge through the house (seriously, how loud are kids right after school? so loud!), and head straight to the kitchen. I try to have something readily available in the fridge or cupboards that is healthy, easy, and kid-friendly. Once a week I try to make a point of taking a break from work to make up something fresh, sit at the table with them, and chat about their day. On these special days the snacks I make are nutritious, fun, and one of their favorites. These baked veggie fries fall into all of those categories.
I use fresh veggies as well as frozen fries for great nutrition, taste, and variety. My kids love carrots, green beans, and zucchini mixed with Alexia's sweet potato fries, and Alexia's classic crinkle fries. Personally, I adore the sweet potato fries and the carrots. Whatever your personal preference...you get to cater to it here!
We prefer Alexia because they are all-natural and don't have a lot of the junk other brands can have. You can find several varieties at Walmart.
To make these veggie fries even easier and faster for after school I often prep the veggies in advance. Or, I'll cut an extra carrot or two at supper time to save for these fries. Truthfully though, it takes very little time to chop up a few veggies for this snack. And, time spent eating veggies is always time well spent.
The trick to using veggies as well as frozen fries is to be careful to watch the thickness of the veggies so that they will all be finished at the same time. Zucchini should be the largest, and the carrots the smallest so that the carrots will be fully cooked and the zucchini won't be mushy.
If you are using classic crinkle cut fries put them into the oven at 425 degrees right before you start coating the veggies because they take longer than everything else. Add your sweet potato fries to the pan when you put the veggie fries in the oven.
To coat your veggies, use the classic flour, egg, breading combo. First coat the veggies in flour, dredge them in beaten egg, and then coat them in your breading before placing on to a greased (or lined) cookie sheet to be baked. Be sure to add some salt and spices to your flour mix!
Tip: Use two pans lined with parchment paper...one for the classic and sweet potato fries, and one for the veggies.
I prefer to use whole-wheat panko crumbs for my coating but feel free to use whatever works best for you. Breadcrumbs are always a popular choice. Try mixing Parmesan cheese and basil in with the breadcrumbs.
Gluten-free? Gluten-free panko crumbs and breadcrumbs are easy to find.
Vegan? Instead of an egg try using almond or soy milk.
Bake your veggies for about 15 minutes on 400 degrees (you'll be turning down the heat). Check the veggies with a fork to be sure they are tender. If necessary, take the veggies out that are done and bake the remaining ones.
These baked veggie fries are best served warm. If you do need to serve them cold try serving them up with some ranch dressing. We think that combo is the best--yumm-o!
Which veggies would you turn into your fries for your next snacktime?
Let us know in the comments (really, we like to know these things!)...