My kids started school today, so I thought I'd blog about things you can make to put in a lunch box. I don't know about your kids, but mine get tired of the same old stuff quick! Then, I have to worry about them not eating. So I try to mix it up when I can. Here are a few recipes and ideas that you can make for your kids' lunch box when they've tired of the same old thing.
PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY SQUARES
7 TBS unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
3/4 cup baking mix (Bisquick or make your own- I have a recipe in an earlier post about Biscuits)
3/4 cup oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup strawberry preserves (any flavor will work, even grape jelly, but I like preserves)
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 inch square baking dish. In a big bowl, mix cold butter, baking mix, oats and brown sugar with a pastry blender (or fork) until butter is incorporated and mixture is crumbly. (This takes a little elbow grease) Press half of this oat mixture into greased baking dish. Spread strawberry preserves evenly on top of oat mixture. Sprinkle peanut butter chips over preserve layer. Then, sprinkle the remaining oat mixture on top. Lightly press it down. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool completely. Cut into squares.
If you want to make these for a bake sale or pot luck, you can double the recipe and make it in a 9x13 baking dish.
This next recipe is great as a part of breakfast or in a lunch box. Plus, it's a great way to use up those bananas that have gotten a little too ripe. The riper the better for this recipe. A mini muffin tin is a great investment if you have kids. You can use it for so many things. And kids love anything mini!
MINI BANANA NUT MUFFINS
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup shortening or oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (walnuts, pecans, any nut will work)
2 large bananas, mashed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream sugar and shortening together with a mixer. Add eggs. Then add milk and vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift flour, salt and soda together. Add to wet ingredients. Don't over mix! Gently fold in mashed bananas and nuts. Grease mini muffin tin with cooking spray. Add about a Tablespoonful of batter to each muffin cup. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
The next recipe, CHICKEN SALAD, is a great use for left over chicken. I'm not going to give you exact measurements because this is best made to taste. But here's how to do it: Dice up some left over chicken into very small pieces. Also, dice up some celery. Mix them together and add in some mayo. Add as much or as little as you like. Then salt and pepper to taste. That's it. So simple, but so good. You can put it on a sandwich, or use a tortilla to make a wrap with it. Stuff it into a pita or just put it in a small container and send it with some crackers.
Another idea is to make your own Lunchables. You know, those pre-packaged meat and cracker combos. Use a divided container, or several small ones, and pack it with crackers, cheese that you've sliced into small squares, and turkey pepperoni. Or, you can cut deli ham into small squares. Or, use a small cookie cutter to cut out shapes from bologna . It's fun for the kids to build their own "cracker sandwiches". A little change from the everyday regular sandwich.
If you send juice boxes all the time, send a reusable bottle of water with a drink packet, instead. A small change can peak a kids' interest.
So, try one of these ideas if your kids get bored with their midday menu. Pack up any of these and it'll be one lucky lunch box!