My son is a snacker. He needs to have snacks throughout the day in addition to his three square meals. All day long I am either dicing fruit, popping popcorn, or serving him a little plate of cookies. I don’t blame the kid! It has to be in his DNA because we (his dad and I) are big on snacks as well. Here is my concern: My little guy is going back to school next week, and he will be craving his snacks throughout the day. I wonder, what would be best to pack him? His class mostly consists of 3- to 4-year-olds, and his teacher allows snack time. Because I won’t be there to chop, dice, serve, and so on, I need to come up with great little snacks that are going to please him and allow me to rest my mind knowing he’s A-OK during the day without Mommy there by his side.
As I strolled through the market looking for snacks and easy-to-pack treats, I came across Del Monte Diced Mangos Fruit Cup. My heart started to bounce with excitement for a few reasons! One: My Boy LOVES mango. Two: I wouldn’t have to cut up the mango; it’s already done for me. Three: It comes in a compact container, which makes it super-easy to pack. Four: It’s rich in Vitamin C. Of course, I threw several packets in my basket — it was a no-brainer. I knew exactly how else I could use them: to make my son an after-school snack! In particular, my mind immediately darted to a yummy mango y coco arroz con leche recipe I have on hand!
I love serendipitous moments like that, when everything else just falls into place. Those diced mangos killed two birds with one stone.
Now the thought of my little guy going back to school doesn’t seem as scary! At least I got the snack department covered and a wonderful after-school treat in the works. On to the back-to-school clothes shopping!
Mango y Coco Arroz con Leche 1 of 12
Delicious mango and coconut arroz con leche makes my boy smile from ear to ear when I serve him this as an after-school snack. My grandfather used to make me this creamy treat the second I stepped foot in the house after school as a young girl. I am happy to pass down the tradition to my son. Here's how you can make it for your little one, too!
Boil cinnamon water. 2 of 12
Cinnamon and vanilla make for a subtle yet spicy flavor. Add these ingredients before water starts boiling, and when it does boil it's time to add rice!
Pour in the rice. 3 of 12
Pour the rice in slowly, and then give it a good stir to even out the rice in the water. Bring the water back to a boil, and then lower the flame and cover with a lid. Allow rice to simmer for 22 minutes.
Voila! You have cooked rice. 4 of 12
Once the rice is cooked, remove the lid, and spoon out the cinnamon stick. Set rice to the side, and let it sit in the pot for five minutes. Allowing for that extra time in the pot lets the rice plump up to its full potential. Next, take a fork, and fluff the rice in the pot.
Use aluminum foil to make a small tray. 5 of 12
Make a quick little tray out of aluminum foil. Take a piece of aluminum foil, and fold the edges up to keep coconut inside. Then fill the center of tray with coconut. Take a spoon or fork to spread it out to the edges.
Place the tray in a toaster oven. 6 of 12
Into the toaster oven it goes! Keep an eye on the coconut to make sure it doesn't burn! (Three to four minutes is more than enough time.) Coconut easily burns and really needs a constant watchful eye. I am to embarrassed to say how many times I have burned coconut.
Wait till it’s golden and crispy. 7 of 12
Here is what it should look like: nice and gold and crispy. Mine finished in three minutes, but that depends on how much heat your toaster oven packs. What you should go for is coconut that's darker around the edges and slightly lighter in the center.
Mix it all with a spoon! 8 of 12
Pull the hot coconut from the toaster oven, and place on a counter to cool. Then mix coconut with a spoon for an evenly distributed golden flake. Set the tray to the side to use for a crunchy topping for arroz con leche.
Put the rice in a bowl. 9 of 12
Place the rice in a larger bowl, and get ready for the next simple steps. Make sure to use a large bowl as you will need to have room to mix rice with milk. This will allow you to really get in there and mix well.
Add sweet milk. 10 of 12
First pour in one 12-ounce can of evaporated milk, and then add in one 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk. Give the rice a good stir to combine both milks with the rice. Now the creamy arroz con leche is ready for the diced mango.
Add Del Monte diced mangos! 11 of 12
Drain liquid from the containers, and pour the diced mango into the arroz con leche. Serve warm in a small bowl and top with toasted coconut. See picture at the top of this collection.
All done! Use leftover fruit cups for a grab-and-go school snack. 12 of 12
Have leftover fruit cups? Send 'em off to school with your kid. They make for the perfect back-to-school snack because they're no-fuss and totally nutritious. And, of course, you can use them to whip up delicious, simple after-school snacks like I do. Everybody wins!
Ingredients for Mango y Coco Arroz con Leche:
- 3 – cups water
- 1 – teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 – cinnamon stick
- 1 1/2 – cups rice
- 1/3 – cup shredded sweetened coconut
- 1 – 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 – 12 0z. can evaporated milk
- 3 – 4 oz. plastic containers of Del Monte Diced Mangos (liquid drained)
- In a small pot over a medium flame add water, vanilla extract, and cinnamon stick. Bring water to a boil.
- Add in rice, return water to a boil. Lower flame to low/simmer, cover pot with lid, and simmer for 22 minutes.
- Remove rice from flame, and allow to sit in the pot for 5 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick.
- Make a little aluminum foil tray and pour coconut into it. Place in the toaster oven and toast for 3 to 4 minutes or until browns on the top slightly. Remove from toaster oven and mix with a spoon. Set to the side.
- Place cooked rice in a large bowl, then add in sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk. Mix well to combine.
- Drain mango packets then mix diced mango into rice/milk mixture.
- Serve arroz con leche warm, then top each bowl with a pinch of toasted coconut or mix it into the arroz con leche.
For more recipes and thoughts from Nicole Presley click over to her blog: Presley’s Pantry
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