POPSUGAR Celebrity

10 Grown-Up Takes on Your Favorite Childhood Foods

Aug 24 2015 - 9:00am

Who doesn't remember being a kid with a backpack strapped on, kissing Mom or Dad goodbye before running to beat the bell? And boy, what we wouldn't give to head back to those days — just to enjoy all of our favorite foods we enjoyed then. But just because you can't go back to those carefree days doesn't mean you can't make that dream a reality. Ahead, check out 10 classic recipes you ate as a kid, with a grown-up spin. No doubt they'll satisfy your inner child. Now, on to mastering cursive once and for all.

— Additional reporting by Nicole Perry

The classic: Chicken strips with ketchup

The twist: Buffalo chicken strips with blue cheese dip [1]

Raise your hand if your favorite kid lunch of all time was chicken strips, especially ones that came in fun shapes like dinosaurs. Continue the fun with a baked buffalo grown-up version served with blue cheese sauce for an extra kick.

The classic: Peanut butter and jelly sandwich

The twist: Mediterranean PB&J [2]

Back in the day, you only switched up your PB&J two ways: strawberry or grape jam and crunchy or soft peanut butter. These days, go a little crazy and whip up a totally new concoction. We like to call this one a Mediterranean-inspired marriage of a PB&J and a panini; it calls for figs, almond butter, and banana.

The classic: Nutella on toast

The twist: Almond Nutella pizza [3]

Toasted or not, it didn't matter; Nutella on any kind of bread was always a pleasant surprise. Now you can upgrade the kid favorite with one mouthwatering word: pizza. Sure, it's technically a dessert, but that won't stop us from having it for breakfast.

The classic: Fruit snacks

The twist: Homemade fruit leather [4]

Cartoon fruit snacks, Gushers — basically any sweet you could pop into your mouth was a fun treat. Come to think of it, they still are. Except this time, use berries or other seasonal produce to make chewy fruit leather you'll love to snack on.

The classic: Ham and cheese sandwich

The twist: Croque monsieur [5]

When you were a wee little one, ham and cheese sandwiches were the jam, and you only dreamt of pronouncing the words "croque monsieur" correctly. These days, don your grown-up fancy pants and head to the kitchen to make a French tartine that would absolutely impress your 10-year-old self.

The classic: Strawberry kiwi Capri Sun

The twist: Strawberry vodka white wine spritzer [6]

Strawberry juice never let you down, and you never failed to sip those Capri Suns flat. Now spike the juice for an after-work cocktail using strawberries, tart limes, vodka, and white wine. We promise we won't tell Mom.

The classic: Pasta with butter

The twist: Spaghetti with garlic, olive oil, and chili pepper flakes [7]

You never complained about simple pasta because, man, plain butter was good. But now it's time to upgrade the classic with a few simple ingredients you probably have in your pantry. Add in some chili pepper flakes for a spice only your grown-up self can really appreciate.

The classic: Hostess Cupcakes

The twist: Homemade Hostess Cupcakes [8]

OK, so there's not really a twist here, but these treats were so good, it would be a sin to mess with them. Really, was there anything better in the old days than unzipping your lunch box to discover these decadent desserts inside? In just a few steps, make the fluffy, moist cakes with vanilla-marshmallow filling yourself so that if the company ever shuts down again, you don't have to panic.

The classic: Hot dog with ketchup

The twist: Hawaiian hot dogs with tropical salsa [9]

Mom didn't always pack a hot dog, but when she did, you did the happy dance. Chances are she wouldn't have packed you a frank topped with a mango, chili, lime, and pineapple relish, but this time around, you can make one yourself and bite into it with the same enthusiasm as you did before. Go ahead, indulge a little.

The classic: Applesauce

The twist: Roasted applesauce with cinnamon [10]

More fun than eating an apple, applesauce used to be the main way of fulfilling a fruit serving. Now that you know better, ditch the packaged stuff and try out a robust sweet-tart recipe that calls for apples straight from the tree; dust some cinnamon on top and enjoy warm or cold, swirled into oatmeal, or dolloped onto pork chops.

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