These easy school lunch ideas will keep them full and focused all afternoon.
Lunch Box Chicken Wrap
This lunchbox-friendly wrap is a tasty way to use leftover chicken and get kids to eat more veggies. Using colorful, thin strips of vegetables adds visual interest when the wrap is cut into slices.
- 1/4 cup hummus
- 1 whole wheat tortilla (8 inches), room temperature
- 1/2 cup fresh baby spinach
- 1/3 cup shredded cooked chicken breast
- 2 carrot sticks
- 2 sweet red pepper strips
- Spread hummus over tortilla; top with spinach. Place chicken, carrot and red pepper in a row near center of tortilla; roll up tightly. If desired, cut crosswise into slices. Wrap securely or pack in an airtight container; refrigerate until serving.
These BLT tortillas are a healthy and easy way to quickly make your kids happy when they open their lunch for the day.
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons ranch salad dressing mix
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 8 flour tortillas (8 inches), room temperature
- 16 cooked bacon strips
- 2 to 3 cups shredded lettuce
- 2 cups chopped seeded tomato
- Green and sweet red pepper strips, optional
- Mix first four ingredients; spread onto tortillas. Top with remaining ingredients and roll up.
Wheely-Good Pasta Salad
Red pepper pieces accent this yummy side dish, and the pasta wheels really drive the theme home
- 1 package (16 ounces) wagon wheel pasta
- 8 ounces cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
- 1 medium sweet red pepper, diced
- 1 can (3.8 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
- 1 bottle (16 ounces) creamy Parmesan Romano salad dressing
- Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse in cold water. In a large serving bowl, combine the pasta, cheese, red pepper, olives and oregano. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
Turkey Taco Salad
- 12 ounces ground turkey
- 1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
- 1 small sweet yellow pepper, chopped
- 1/3 cup chopped onion
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-1/2 cups salsa
- 1/2 cup canned kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 8 cups torn romaine
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
- Optional toppings: chopped tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese and crushed tortilla chips
- In a large skillet, cook turkey, peppers, onion and garlic over medium heat 6-8 minutes or until turkey is no longer pink and vegetables are tender, breaking up turkey into crumbles; drain.
- Stir in salsa, beans, chili powder and cumin; heat through.
- Divide romaine among four plates. Top with turkey mixture; sprinkle with cilantro and toppings of your choice. Serve immediately.
Greek Grilled Chicken Pitas
It’s delicious and perfect for warm days, with a creamy cucumber sauce that goes great with fresh, crunchy veggies to stay cool and refreshed after lunch.
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast halves
- CUCUMBER SAUCE:
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup finely chopped cucumber
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 8 pita pocket halves
- 1/2 cup sliced cucumber
- 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 cup sliced red onion
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Marinate chicken in vinaigrette, covered, in refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. In a small bowl, combine the sauce ingredients; chill until serving.
- Drain and discard marinade. If grilling the chicken, lightly oil the grill rack. Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from the heat until a thermometer reads 170°, 4-7 minutes on each side.
- Cut chicken into strips. Fill each pita half with chicken, cucumber, tomatoes, onion and cheese; drizzle with sauce.
Super Sloppy Joes
Upgrade a lunchtime classic into a feast with a few fancy yet simple tweaks.
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 2 celery ribs with leaves, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
- 1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon steak sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 10 hamburger or hoagie buns, split
- In an oven over medium heat, cook the beef, onion, celery and green pepper until meat is no longer pink and the vegetables are tender; drain.
- Stir in the next nine ingredients. Simmer, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally. Spoon about 1/2 cup meat mixture onto each bun.
Freeze option: Place individual portions cooled meat mixture in freezer containers and freeze. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Microwave, covered, on high in a microwave-safe dish until heated through, gently stirring and adding a little broth / water if necessary.
Party Time Mini Cheeseburgers
Kids and adults alike will love the taste of these moist and mouthwatering mini burgers.
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
- 2 tablespoons dill pickle relish
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 teaspoons prepared mustard
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 pound ground beef
- 3 to 4 slices process American cheese
- 10 dinner rolls, split
- Preheat broiler. In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. Add beef; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 10 patties. Transfer to a 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Broil 3-4 in. from heat 4-6 minutes on each side or until a thermometer reads 160°.
- Meanwhile, cut cheese slices and immediately place on burgers; serve on rolls. Freeze option: Place patties on a plastic wrap-lined baking sheet; wrap and freeze until firm. Remove from pan and transfer to a large resealable plastic bag; return to freezer. To use, broil frozen patties as directed, increasing time as necessary.
Greek seasoning, feta cheese and dill-cucumber sauce give this gyro an authentic taste.
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled
- 2/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 teaspoons dill weed
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 pound turkey breast tenderloin, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt-free Greek seasoning
- 1-1/2 cups shredded lettuce
- 8 thin tomato slices
- 4 whole pita breads, warmed
- 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
- Finely chop a third of the cucumber. For sauce, mix sour cream, onion, dill, lemon juice and chopped cucumber. Thinly slice remaining cucumber.
- In a nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; saute turkey until no longer pink, 4-6 minutes. Stir in Greek seasoning. Serve turkey, lettuce, tomato and sliced cucumber on pitas; top with sauce and cheese.
Ham ‘n’ Swiss Envelopes
These clever envelopes will make people eager to look inside. The hot pockets shaped with refrigerated dough are stuffed with a delicious ham-and-cheese filling.
- 3/4 cup diced fully cooked ham
- 4 teaspoons finely chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- 3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
- 3 ounces cream cheese, cubed
- 2 tubes (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls
- In a large skillet, saute ham and onion in oil until onion is tender. Add cheeses; cook for 3-4 minutes or until melted. Remove from the heat; set aside.
- Unroll crescent dough and separate into four rectangles; seal perforations. Place 2 tablespoons of ham mixture in the center of each rectangle. Starting with a short side, fold a third of the dough over filling. On the other short side, bring both corners together in the center to form a point. Fold over to resemble an envelope. Pinch seams to seal.
- Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
Parmesan Chicken Nuggets
Prep once and feed the family twice when you double this chicken mac and cheese and freeze half of it.
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1 cup panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Marinara sauce, optional
- Place butter in a shallow bowl. Combine the bread crumbs, cheese and salt in another shallow bowl. Dip chicken in butter, then roll in crumbs.
- Place in a single layer on two 15x10x1-in. baking pans. Bake at 375° for 15-18 minutes or until no longer pink, turning once. Serve with marinara sauce if desired.
Freeze option: Cool chicken nuggets. Freeze in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Place on a baking sheet and reheat in a preheated 375° oven 7-12 minutes or until heated through.
Make friends with the freezer
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