Back to the Kitchen: Back to School lunch box recipes

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BY GWEN KENNEALLY

Once again another summer has flown by and it is that wonderful time where parents celebrate and kids are not so thrilled — it’s Back To School! This is a special year for us as my little girl is now a young woman entering high school. While she is very excited, it is a time of much newness and change that can be scary.

When she started kindergarten I used to pack her favorite things and always a little note to remind her that I was there for her and that she was not alone. I will continue to do that as long as she will have it and not be completely embarrassed to open a note from her geeky mom!

So, here are some tips on packing lunch — include healthy snacks- nuts, fruit, energy bars, edamame, tortilla chips and guacamole, hard cooked eggs and cheese sticks. Anything that they like that will give them a burst of energy. Even if you pack that same old PB&J day after day, if they are eating it and love it, keep packing it.  Lunchboxes.comhas great led free lunch boxes and bento boxes perfect for both kids and adults. EBay has collectible lunch boxes that can be fun as well.

These recipes reflect Emma’s favorites. Some might seem a little sophisticated, but give them a try mixed in with some sure favorites so that they have an opportunity to expand their palates.

Today I celebrate Emma on her journey to the new adventures of high school and to all students I wish luck and happy, healthy eating.

Curried Chicken Sandwiches

3 pounds chicken breasts

Poached, cooled to room temperature, cut into 1/4-inch chunks*

2 granny smith apples, finely chopped

3 celery ribs, finely chopped

4 tablespoons curry powder

2 tablespoons ground ginger

1 1/2 cup mayonnaise

Juice of one lime

16 slices raisin bread

In a small bowl whisk together curry, ginger, limejuice and mayonnaise. In a large bowl mix the chicken, celery and apples. Add the mayonnaise mixture to the chicken mixture and coat evenly. Divide 8 ways and place on raisin bread and quarter each on the diagonal.

Turkey Sandwich 5 Way

THE CAESAR WRAP: Large flour tortilla rolled with sliced turkey, shredded romaine, diced tomatoes, shredded Parmesan cheese and creamy Caesar dressing.

TURKEY PARMIGIANA: Sliced turkey topped with spaghetti sauce and shredded mozzarella, broiled on crusty Italian bread.

THE CALIFORNIA ROLL-UP: Large flour tortilla topped with sliced turkey, lettuce, tomato, avocado, and alfalfa sprouts and shredded Monterey Jack cheese.

TURKEY REUBEN: Sliced turkey topped with sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing and Swiss cheese on grilled rye bread.

TURKEY BLT: Sliced turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise on toast.

Tuna Roll-ups

1 can (6 ounces) tuna fish, preferably packed in water, drained

Juice of ½ a lemon

1 cucumber, peeled and coarsely shredded

1 medium carrot, peeled and coarsely shredded

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

Two 10-inch flour tortillas

2 medium lettuce or spinach leaves

1/2 of a ripe avocado: peeled, pitted, and sliced 1/2-inch thick

Flake the tuna and squeeze lemon over it. Combine the tuna, 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, carrots and cucumbers in a small bowl and mix until blended. Lay the tortillas on a work surface. Spread 1/2-teaspoon mayonnaise on each tortilla and arrange the lettuce on top of both and avocado lengthwise in rows near one edge. Spoon the tuna in a line next to the vegetables (away from the edge). Roll each tortilla up snugly into a cylinder. Cut crosswise in half. ½ is more than enough for a small child. A teen or adult could eat 2 halves.

PB&J Energy Bars

These high protein bars are great in a lunch box or as an after school snack. We love to make them together and the kids just gobble them up. We also have had some real fun designing the packaging!

2 cups uncooked oats

1-cup crunchy peanut butter

1/2 cup 100 % fruit jelly

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together thoroughly. Spread in a sprayed 8-inch square pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before cutting. Cut into 8 bars and wrap individually.

Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

6 large heirloom tomatoes, all varieties and colors, seeded and diced into 1/4-inch cubes

1 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

4 Parisian cucumbers or 1 hothouse cucumber, seeded and diced into1/4 inch cubes

2 purple bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch cubes

2 yellow bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 lemon, juiced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar

In a blender or food processor combine tomatoes, onion, cucumber, and peppers. Add cilantro, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and jalapeno. Add a few pinches of salt and black pepper. Process vegetables into a juicy soup, leaving it nice and chunky. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Ladle soup into bowls and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Chilled Carrot Ginger Soup

1-tablespoon olive oil

2 medium red onions, sliced

1 (4 inch) piece fresh ginger

4 cups vegetable stock

4 cups orange juice

2 pounds carrots cut into 2-inch pieces

Pinch of kosher salt

1/2-teaspoon white pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over low heat and sauté onions until they are translucent. Roughly chop the peeled ginger and add to the onions and sauté’ together for about 3 minutes. Increase heat and add the stock, orange juice and carrots. Simmer over medium heat until the carrots are tender. Season with salt and pepper. Puree in batches and chill covered.

Edamame Salad

1 lb frozen shelled edamame

3 cups corn kernels

1 red bell pepper, diced

3 green onions, sliced

1 small red onion, finely chopped

6 parsley sprigs, chopped

6 basil sprigs, chopped

Dressing

1/3-cup fresh limejuice

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon cumin

Pinch Salt and pepper

In a small bowl whisk together lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, cumin and salt and pepper. In a large bowl mix together edamame, corn, bell pepper, red onion, green onion, parsley and basil. Toss with dressing. Makes 6 lunch servings.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

2-1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1-teaspoon salt

2 large ripe bananas

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1-cup butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Adjust an oven rack to the middle shelf and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. Mash the bananas with the vanilla, making about 1 cup. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer mix the sugars and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, then blend in the mashed bananas. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The mixture will look curdled. At low speed, blend in the flour mixture, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Fold in the chips and nuts. Drop the dough by heaping teaspoonfuls 1-1/2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are golden brown, about 12 minutes, then remove to racks to cool. Store in a cookie jar for up to 1 week. Makes about 6 dozen.

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

  • http://www.jackiehouchin.com Jackie Houchin

    Gonna try those ultra-easy PB&J (and oatmeal) bars!

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