Tag Archives: lunch

Lunch Box: Frozen Sandwiches

Attention Moms with school aged kids!

Preparing school lunches turns into a dreaded chore for Moms, especially during the morning rush.  A couple of years ago, one of my Mom friends mentioned that they freeze sandwiches.  Pull a sandwich out of the freezer when packing lunches in the morning and by lunch time the sandwich is perfectly thawed.  At the time I didn’t think much of it, but I also only had one lunch to prepare.  Now that I have two kids in school – I totally get this idea!  Of course I have two kids that have their own preferences – one like cheese, the other doesn’t – one likes mayo, the other prefers mustard.  How can I keep track??!!

Lunch Box

This is a great way to save time preparing your kid’s lunch box!  Now I make it part of our Sunday night routine.  The kids prepare clothes and backpacks and I make sandwiches for the week.   Sandwiches can be stored in plastic storage bags or plastic wrap, but I am trying to make an effort to reduce waste and especially at school.  I use an air-tight food storage container that will fit sandwiches in layers, using a Sweet Stackers tray to separate each kids lunch.  One kid’s sandwiches are layered on the bottom and the other’s layered on top – this way I can keep track when I am packing them.  Since, I am not storing the sandwiches for a long period of time, there are no problems with freezer burn or the bread drying out.  The kids love them and they do not get soggy.  Plus I like that the sandwiches are kept colder longer preventing deli meat or spreads to spoil.

Many Moms have asked, “What type of sandwiches do you make?”.  I do prefer to use whole grain breads, but I noticed that my kids get bored with the same sandwich.  All kids are different, but changing up the “traditional PB&J” can be fun and a good change for them!  This week I am making ham and cheese sandwiches using Hawaiian dinner rolls and peanut butter and Nutella on whole grain Raisin Bread.

A couple of tips:

  • Do not freeze lettuce, tomatoes or other similar toppings on the sandwich.  Pack these items separately on the side.
  • When making PB&J, smear peanut butter on both sides of the bread (at least a thin layer) to prevent the jelly from touching the bread.  Jelly will make the sandwich soggy.
  • Bento style storage containers (with dividers) are fun for the kids to store sides, dips, crackers, fruits & veggies.  (We found some neat ones in the dollar section at Target!)
  • Make your own Uncrustables – there are tools that will seal and cut the crust off.
  • Shaped sandwich cutters (or cookie cutters) are a fun way to remove crust and cut into cute shapes.

 

Do you have any great tips to share?

 

 

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Zucchini Oatmeal Cookies

Tomorrow is going to be filled with a lot of “firsts”!  My oldest daughter is starting first grade.  For me, it is the first time that she will be away from me all day and it will be a first that I have to pack a healthy lunch for her.  So I want it to be a special one!  It is also the first time I added zucchini to a cookie recipe.

Zucchini Oatmeal Cookies Sweet Stackers

I love zucchini bread, so why not add zucchini to a cookie recipe?  This recipe is perfect because there were a couple of zucchini sitting on my countertop that I just picked yesterday and all of the other ingredients in my pantry.

Zucchini Oatmeal batter

Don’t know what to do with all of the zucchini from your garden?  Try this recipe!

Zucchini Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup shredded zucchini
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°.

With an electric mixer, add cooled melted butter and sugars until well combined.  Add the egg, vanilla extract and zucchini to the mixture.  At low speed, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.  Then gradually add the oats, raisins and chocolate chips.

Place a spoonful of dough, two inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until the edges are lightly browned.  Cool on a wire rack.

SweetStackers - Zucchini Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies produced a chewy oatmeal cookie with melty chocolate chips on top.  SweetStackers are the solution to separate and layer your cookies without them sticking together in a container.  Visit sweetstackers.com to learn more about SweetStackers!  Mmm…I might just make another batch and freeze them like this!

Veggie Quinoa Frittata

Frittata is an Italian egg-based dish similar to an omelette or crustless quiche, enriched with additional ingredients such as meats, cheese, vegetables or pasta.  It may be flavored with herbs.  They are so versatile that I never make them the same way twice and they are perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  It is a great way to get more veggies into my family’s diet and everyone in my house is pretty happy when I make them.  The kids especially like a slice with a little ketchup drizzled on top.

Slice of Frittata

Pre-cook 1/3 cup of quinoa in 1/3 cup of water for 15 minutes until the water is absorbed.  Set aside.

This frittata was a veggie version.  But, sometimes I check out my fridge to see if there is any leftover ham, chicken or pork.  Any leftover meat or veggies are perfect for a frittata!!  Cube it and throw that in too.  Otherwise, pick any veggies that you have on hand and chop them.

First Harvest Asparagus

I was pretty excited that I was able to harvest my first batch of asparagus from the garden today.  Since it is a small handful, it will not be enough to serve for dinner, so into my frittata it goes!!

Use a medium-sized fry pan that can be placed in the oven, under a broiler.  Sautee the veggies in a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil until softened.

Sauteed Veggies

Once the veggies are done, spread them out evenly in the fry pan and place the cooked quinoa on top.  Quinoa is perfect because it will settle to the bottom of the dish and give it some crunch, almost like a crust.  This is the perfect time to add leftover meat.

Layer Quinoa

Wisk 5 eggs in a small mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Gently pour the eggs over the veggies and quinoa evenly.  I strategically placed a few slices of sweet baby red peppers to fancy it up.  This is the perfect time to sprinkle a little shredded cheese or grated parmesan if you’d like.

Cook over medium heat until the eggs are almost completely set.

Quinoa Egg Frittata

To finish cooking the eggs, I place it under a broiler a few minutes until the top is cooked and golden brown.

Veggie Quinoa Frittata

Slide the frittata out of the pan and cut into wedges to serve.

Healthy Quinoa Frittata

Lunch is served!!

Homemade Granola Bars

Always looking for healthy snacks that you can take on the go?  Of course you can purchase granola bars at the grocery store, but the ones my kids like are not really a healthy snack and they make me more hungry after eating just one.  Some of the healthier versions are difficult to bite and chew, plus pretty pricey.  So I thought I would try to make my own.  I had all of the ingredients in my pantry, they were easy and my 3-year-old had a lot of fun measuring and mixing the ingredients.  This recipe turned out perfectly delicious for both kids and adults alike!

Mmmmm!  Chewy, with lots of flavor and texture and I know I was fully satisfied with eating only one bar.

Kid-friendly Granola Bar Snack

Homemade Granola Bars (yields 18 bars)

2 cups old-fashioned oats

3/4 cup wheat germ

3/4 cup walnuts (chopped)

1/2  cup dried cranberries (substitute any dried fruit)

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 egg whites

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup real maple syrup (or substitute with another 1/4 cup of honey to make a 1/2 cup)

1/2 cup canola oil

Preheat oven at 350°.

Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Combine egg whites, honey, maple syrup and oil in a medium size bowl.  Fold the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients.

Line a 9×13 inch pan with foil or parchment paper.  Lightly oil the pan so the bars will not stick and can be removed easily.  Press the mixture evenly into the pan.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until lightly browned.

Cool in pan for 1 to 2 hours.  Remove from pan and cut into bars.  I divided by cutting down the center lengthwise and then cut approximately 1 inch bars from the two halves.

Tuna Melt – Tuna Boat Style

Can’t take the credit for this one, but I really wanted to pass this along because I thought it was a different idea for lunch.  I am bored with sandwiches, trying to get more veggies in our diet and looking for alternatives for breakfast, lunch and snacks.  Snack Girl has done it again!  She has a ton of great ideas to eat healthier and I am listening!

This Tuna Boat makes a great finger food which is a perfect for lunch at home, on a picnic (if kept cold), or zapped in a microwave at work.  Don’t you think it would make a delicious appetizer when guests come over?  I think any visitor would be impressed even if you knew it took no time to make!

Tuna Boat

Looks beautiful & satisfying!  I really like the combination of tuna salad and crunchy bell pepper with cheddar sprinkled on top.  Place it under the broiler for 3 minutes until melted…yum!

Mmm…and did you know that red Bell peppers have higher concentrations of many nutrients than other Bell peppers?