Monday, July 25, 2011

It's LunchPossible!

Awhile back I shared this post at Jam Hands, a favorite food blog of mine. I thought I'd share it here today.

Out in blogland, I wish I could remember where, I saw the idea of making a menu for the kids to deal with the summer lunches. I thought this was a great idea. But I wanted to make the lunches "ready-to-go" so I created my own, much tastier and healthier, lunchables.
I made up my menu:

This is posted to the fridge so they can stand there and ponder it as long as they want, and I don't have to stand there and repeat their choices until they decide. I can go about my business.

So, what are their choices?

Pizza: homemade flatbreads, mozzarella, pepperoni, and pizza sauce with carrot sticks and jello. Just use your favorite recipes or brands.

For the Jello cups, it is a huge money saver to make your own. I bought 4 oz. mason jars. With one package of Jello, I was able to fill eight jars.

If the boys pick a lunch with a Jello cup, they can grab one and eat it right out of the jar. So easy.

Meat, Cheese and Crackers:

Um, it's what it sounds like. But if you do it yourself, you control the quality. And I include fresh fruit.

Boiled Egg Box:

My youngest doesn't eat much meat, so this box is about meatless protein. A boiled egg, celery with peanut butter, and a Jello cup.

Butter Noodles:

Butter noodles, peas, cheese and applesauce

After boiling the noodles and draining I add butter or margarine and a dash of garlic salt. Stir it up and add it to the box.
Also, add peas, sliced cheese and an applesauce cup. (Again, money saver, buy a large jar of applesauce and pour into small mason jars. Huge savings, little work.)

When you serve this box, take out the applesauce and cheese and add a tiny bit of water. Loosely cover with the lid and pop in the microwave to reheat. The tiny bit of water will steam things so the pasta isn't dry.

I will just make up several boxes on the weekends to stock up the fridge for the upcoming week.

I will probably have some other options on occasion too. It's not that I mind cooking; actually, I love to cook. It's that I hate the daily drama of deciding what to have for lunch. Now there is no guess work. 

After doing all this, I realized that these would work great for packed lunches for school too. I may have to add some ideas for variety throughout the year.

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  1. I love this idea. It keeps things simple and still allows the kids to have choices.

  2. I like the idea of using little mason jars for single servings...I may have to buy some and work that in for my kids! Great way to eliminate the "lunch game."

  3. Smart! Luchables are so expensive!

  4. Love these ideas! And how smart to use the mason jars for small servings! Love it!

  5. Love these ideas! I will be posting my family's top picks for lunch next week! I hope you will stop by to visit!

  6. I love that little picture menu for the fridge. Sometimes, I feel like I'm repeating myself over and over, so this would be good. Way to be organized!

    And... Thanks for linking up with Fun for kids Friday.

    heather @

  7. This is awesome! Love the little mason jar jellos, too. :) What is your homemade flatbread recipe? It looks yummy!

  8. We have been using our go-to pizza dough recipe:
    1 pkg. dry active yeast (or 2 Tbsp. fresh yeast)
    pinch of sugar
    1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tsp. salt
    2 Tbsp. olive oil

    In a small bowl dissolve the yeast and sugar in 1/2 cup lukewarm water. Stir in 2 to 3 Tbsp. of the all-purpose flour to make a smooth paste, lightly dust with a little more flour and leave in a warm place for 15 to 30 minutes.

    Sift the remaining flour onto a pastry board (I just use my counter), make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture and the salt. Make a dough, gradually adding the oil and about 1/2 cup of lukewarm water, and knead until smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball and divide into equal portions (this recipe is designed for 4 personal size pizzas, but I think I divide it into 8 balls), cover with a damp cloth and leave to prove in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until doubled in size. (If you have a cold kitchen, try sticking it in your oven without turning it on. I find it's a bit warmer and no drafts int there.)

    Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F (or Mark 9). Lightly oil a cookie sheet. Roll the dough into rounds and place on the cookie sheet; these will be thin. Press each one flat with your hands.

    Now, if I were making pizza, I'd add toppings and bake for 15-20 minutes. We are still tweaking the cooking time for using them plain in the lunchables. We are just about certain now of a cook time around 5-8 minutes. But check them!

    Recipe source: Cuisines of the World: Italy by Miranda Alberti

  9. Such a fabulous idea! I love the concept of posting the menu, and having the choices all packed up and ready. I'm featuring your post in tomorrow's "A Little Birdie Told Me..."! Thanks for linking up!



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