Hey soccer moms-it’s time to suit up for the sports season! Whether softball or soccer, sports fields are filling with players and spectators. And if you’re like me, you belong to the unsung sports hero hall of fame: Moms who tote kids to games, and also sign on for providing post-game snacks.

When it’s your turn to provide snacks, make yourself MVP (most valuable parent) with homemade treats that will score with kids. Some tips I’ve collected over the years for winning treats include:

• Practice portion control: Wrap goodies for easy distribution-make a party mix and portion into snack bags; purchase small apples that are easy to eat.
• Allow for post-game appetites: Don’t underestimate ravenous appetites that need post-game refueling; when in doubt make an extra batch of treats.
• Remember to rehydrate: Be sure to bring a big cooler of water, with disposable cups, sports drinks, or provide 100% fruit juice drinks.

Nothing could be easier than bars made from press-into-the-pan refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough. For super-streamlined transport and serving, bake in a disposable aluminum pan. Party mix is a classic favorite with my sports team members, and a breeze to stir together-no stove required!

Score big with fun-for-kid snacks and winning after-sports and after-school ideas at www.VeryBestBaking.com.

No-Sweat Cookie Bars

(Makes 2 dozen bars)

2 packages (16.5 ounces each) NESTLÉ TOLL HOUSE Refrigerated Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar dough.

PREHEAT oven to 350º F. (325° F. for dark pan.) Grease 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

PLACE whole bars of dough in prepared pan. Allow to soften for 5 minutes. Using fingertips, pat dough gently to evenly cover bottom of pan.

BAKE for 25 to 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean and edges are golden brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Store tightly covered in pan or in resealable container.

Nutrition Information per serving: 170 calories; 70 calories from fat; 8 g total fat; 3 g saturated fat; 15 mg cholesterol; 160 mg sodium; 25 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 16 g sugars; 2 g protein
Toll House Party Mix

(Makes 8 servings)

2 cups toasted cereal squares
2 cups small pretzel twists
1 cup dry-roasted peanuts
1 cup (about 20) caramels, unwrapped and coarsely chopped
1 2/3 to 2 cups (11- to 12-ounce package) NESTLÉ TOLL HOUSE Semi-Sweet Chocolate Milk, Milk Chocolate, Butterscotch Flavored or Premier White.

COAT 13 x 9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

COMBINE cereal, pretzels, peanuts and caramels in large bowl.

MICROWAVE morsels in medium, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on MEDIUM-HIGH (70%) power for 1 minute; STIR. Morsels may retain some of their original shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until morsels are melted. Pour over cereal mixture; stir to coat evenly.

SPREAD mixture in prepared baking pan; cool for 30 to 45 minutes or until firm. Break into bite-size pieces.

Nutrition Information per serving: 460 calories; 200 calories from fat; 23 g total fat; 9 g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 310 mg sodium; 59 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 38 g sugars; 8 g protein

Jenny Harper is Senior Culinary Specialist for the Nestlé Test Kitchens and VeryBestBaking.com.


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