You've distributed the presents and recycled the paper. Now it's time to enjoy the real gift of the season: spending time with the people you love. In order to unite the tiny tots of your home, we found the perfect recipe for the waning winter break. It's exciting for eager elves, relaxed for newly emancipated Santas, and healthy for those who've been naughty.
Meet the PBRB, a quick, nutritious, and delicious pressed sandwich that blogger and author Catherine McCord dreamed up while glancing at her appliances one day.
"We have all of this equipment in our kitchens, and [it's] used for just one thing. We have rice cookers for rice and a waffle iron for waffles, but I'm always looking to make that equipment stretch," says McCord, who includes the recipe in her new cookbook, Weelicious: One Family, One Meal (William Morrow, $27.50).
With the PBRB, McCord uses a waffle iron in lieu of a panini press. She unites fresh raspberries, bananas, and nut butter between two slices of sandwich bread into a morsel that begs to be warmed by a press of the simple (and big kid-friendly) machine.
Let the little kids prepare the filling for these sandwiches by mashing together raspberries and banana. Once this mixture is heated, McCord says, it becomes a simple jam.
"Instead of uber-sugary preserves and jelly, it's naturally sweet," she says. "You're getting the fiber from the raspberries, and all sorts of vitamins."
McCord says that involving your children in the cooking can stave off picky eating by giving them control of their food. When they smash the "bright red raspberries with the yellow banana," they watch the color, texture, and flavor change.
For a savory bite, McCord swaps olive tapenade and cream cheese for the fruit filling. She also likes to riff on grilled cheese, adding avocado and tomato.
Makes 4 servings.
1 ripe banana
1/2 cup fresh raspber-
8 slices whole wheat bread
1/2 cup peanut, almond or sunflower butter
1. Heat the waffle iron. Place the banana and raspberries in a bowl; mash with a fork.
2. Spread 2 tablespoons of the banana-raspberry mixture on 1 bread slice. Spread 2 tablespoons nut butter on a second bread slice; press together to make a sandwich.
Repeat to make the rest of the sandwiches.
3. Cook each sammie in the waffle iron until golden, 3-5 minutes. Cool, serve.
Per serving: 421 calories, 19 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 55 grams carbohydrates, 18 grams protein, 547 milligrams sodium, 9 grams fiber.