Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Take Salsa Joe Sliders on a summer outing.

School bells will soon be ringing for children across the state, and both parents and children want to make the most of their remaining summer days.

Take a quick trip to the beach, a hike at Tunica Hills, a picnic at any number of parks across the area, or perhaps a simple pool party will do. Any choice means food at some point.

Make it as simple as possible and make a list of needed ingredients for a number of creative snacks.

Hearty, creative snacks need not be challenging. Nearly everyone enjoys some form of the old Sloppy Joe recipe so jazz it up a bit and think mini.

Get lean ground beef and brown on the stove top before putting it in the slow cooker. Ground beef is one of the few beef products that I always brown first, draining the fat before putting the meat into the cooker.

A little seasoning and a favorite salsa changes things up in no time. Look for slider buns or use a favorite type of dinner roll and make mini Salsa Joes for a lasting edible summer memory.

Julie Kay is a columnist for The Advocate. She can be reached at juliekay6122@s.