Summer is officially over, and it’s back to school for just about everyone now. Why pack boring old lunches for the kiddos? Get creative, have some fun, and keep it healthy with these fun ideas and recipes below…
PLAY WITH COOKIE CUTTERS
Cookie and fondant cutters are like the Swiss Army knife of lunch packing. They’re quick, easy to handle, and endlessly versatile. Use them to instantly upgrade fruits and veggies, or to add panache to an otherwise boring sandwich. With so many cute ones out there, it’s easy to go overboard, but with a little imagination, one cutter can produce multiple shapes without taking up much space in your kitchen. Three great ones to start with are a heart, a flower, and a snail cutter. Look what we could make with just a few of these basics!
FLOWER-SHAPED CUTTER – Make the classic shape into these cheesy owl eyes, or slice each cutout in half and layer over Nutella to make clouds. Cut the “petals” like a pie to make raindrops.
SNAIL CUTTER – A snail makes a great cheese sandwich, or flip it the other way for a honeydew whale. Even cooler: Cut out the middle to create a cheese letter A.
HEART-SHAPED CUTTER – This shape takes flight as wings for a dragonfly or birdie.
CONJURE A CHARACTER
If the idea of re-creating a movie or TV character is daunting, take a minimalist approach and make something symbolic that’s still recognizable. Here we used Mini Babybel cheese and grape fruit leather to make a Pokémon ball; a zigzagged slice of cheese on pumpernickel creates Charlie Brown’s shirt; and zucchini glasses with a red bell pepper lightning bolt reminds kids of Harry Potter.
Sausage and sautéed zucchini show their whimsical side thanks to fun food picks. $3 for 8; bentology.net
STICK IT ON A SKEWER
Skewers are all the rage on Pinterest, but they can get cumbersome and pokey for pint-size palates. Use smaller, more kid-friendly alternatives, such as reusable food picks, or ice-pop or lollipop sticks, and pair them with some unexpected lunchtime fare!
BAKE IN A MOLD
It’s easy to craft butterflies, stars, flowers, and more from food—with the help of silicone bakeware. Buy a few different styles, and then whip up a bunch of freezer-friendly muffins, frittatas, and granola bites to have on hand when inspiration (or time!) is low. Here, three recipes to try.
1. EASY FRITTATAS
Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk together 6 eggs, ¼ cup milk, ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese, ¼ cup chopped veggies, and salt and pepper. Pour into muffin cups, filling about ¾ full. Bake 18 to 20 minutes.
2. PUMPKIN-SPICE MUFFINS
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease baking molds with coconut oil. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, 1 heaping Tbs. pumpkin pie spice, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. baking powder, and ½ tsp. salt. In a separate bowl, mix together 1 can pumpkin puree, ½ cup honey, a 5.3-oz. container plain Greek yogurt, 2 large eggs, and 6 Tbs. melted coconut oil. Pour wet ingredients into the flour mixture; stir to combine. Transfer batter to molds. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size; check using a toothpick.
3. NO-BAKE GRANOLA BITES
Melt ¼ cup coconut oil, ¼ cup raw honey, and ¼ tsp. salt in a saucepan over medium heat. When it bubbles and foams, turn heat to low. Add 1½ cups rolled oats, 1 cup chopped nuts, ¼ cup ground flaxseed, and cook on low for 2 minutes, stirring to coat. Pour granola into the mold; press in firmly. Cool at room temperature for an hour; remove and add toppings if desired. (We dipped them in melted dark chocolate and yogurt chips and then added coconut flakes and freeze-dried fruit pieces.) Store in an airtight container.
September 5, 2016 – 3:19 PM - | Posted in recipes, recipes for kids | 2 Comments »