Well, school is back in full swing and I'm very exited to be making lunches again. For the first week of school, I resorted to using a few of my tried-and-true lunch box ideas as the kids and I adjusted to the new (earlier) schedule. Thankfully, that first week went very smoothly. But last Saturday, after a nice, restful sleep, I woke up very motivated to do some make-ahead lunch prep for the following week. Amazingly, it didn't take very long at all, and boy did it pay off during this past week! The mornings were almost, dare I say... easy! I planned a menu for each day's lunch, so there was absolutely no brain work involved -- Just check the list, pack the food -- DONE. And we managed to make it out the door with time to spare. It's much less stressful that way! So here is a photo of most of the things I made, just before everything (except kale and pizza pinwheels) went into the freezer. The next day, I whipped up a batch of muffins (which they sometimes ate for breakfast), mini chocolate chip cookies and I also prepped salad ingredients.
|Make Ahead Lunch Prep|
1. Marinara sauce (for dip to use with pizza pinwheels)
2. Quinoa Confetti Salad
3. Veggie Fried Rice
4. Quinoa & Brown Rice Molds (with cheesy center)
5. Spinach, Banana & Berries smoothies
6.Baked Kale Chips
7. Pizza Pinwheels
Muffin tins are fabulous for making individual portions. Just freeze, then carefully remove food from muffin cups using a butter knife, then store in a freezer bag in the freezer. Allow to thaw in fridge overnight for next day's lunch. It's helpful to put the individual portions in ramekins or small bowls for thawing. Just place the bowls on a plate and cover the whole thing with plastic wrap.
Here are some of the lunches I made this past week.
|pizza pinwheels, marinara sauce for dipping, salad, |
salad dressing, mini chocolate chip cookie
The pizza pinwheels were a huge hit. This was my first time making them, and the whole family, myself included, thought they were delish. My kids both ate them cold, but I heated them up, along with the sauce... Yum.
|Quinoa Confetti Salad, peanut butter balls, |
blueberries, watermelon, pretzel crisps
I usually add okra to the Quinoa Confetti Salad because my kids love it so much, and also a squirt of Bragg's Liquid Amino Acids for a soy sauce flavor.
That green divider you see is from a different lunch container. It is part of Rubbermaid's new Lunch Blox series and this is part of the salad kit.
|Quinoa & Brown Rice with cheesy center, squirted with Bragg's Liquid Aminos,|
apple, peanut butter, blueberry muffin,
Annie's Cheesy Cheddar Bunnies, (vegetable juice -- not pictured)
|Mini Quiche Cups, tomatoes, mini Triscuits, |
steamed green beans, apple, (smoothie -- not pictured)
The mini quiche cups were made with eggs, chopped red pepper, chopped green onions, and mozzarella cheese. You can really tailor these to fit your taste. If you (or your kiddos) don't like peppers & onions, try broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, olives, spinach, or simply just add cheese!
I'm expanding my horizons this year and investing in some new lunch box containers, although I will still continue to use my Easy Lunchboxes as well. These are part of my new Lock & Lock Lunch box System and I absolutely LOVE THEM. What can I say, I'm a sucker for awesome containers. When these arrived in the mail, I could not wait to use them! So here is Mr. Right's lunch packed in a few of our new Lock & Lock's. (I have a few more designs coming, so you'll be seeing those in future posts.)
|Italian Lemon Chicken, quinoa & rice with cheese, |
steamed Brussel's Sprouts, apple, salad with olives on the side, dressing
|Lunch packed in Lock & Lock containers|
Here is what comes in the set. You get 3 containers and 1 lunch box. They are not sold separately. The bottom container is deeper than the other 2. The top one comes with 2 removable dividers. The left one with the Brussel's Sprouts is one divider, and the chicken and rice make up the other (it has 2 compartments.) All items are very sturdy and well made, the containers are completely airtight and do not leak. The 3 containers fit very snugly in the lunch box, not leaving room for an ice pack or drink, but I couldn't see ever using all 3 containers at once.
|Lock & Lock Lunchbox System|
Here are 2 of my other Lock & Lock products. The right one is the 14 fluid ounce round container that is just perfect for drinks. The left one is part of a round 12 piece set I bought at my local grocery store. I can't recall the ounces for this one, but it holds a medium-sized sliced apple.
|sliced apple and vegetable juice in Lock & Lock containers|
|Lunch packed in Lock & Lock containers|
This is the lunch box packed with the 2 short rectangular containers, along with the small round container (sold separately.) I didn't try to fit an ice pack in there since Mr. Right will be putting this in the refrigerator at work, but I think I could fit a thin one on the very bottom if I needed to, and still be able to zip it. I look forward to packing many more lunches in my new Lock & Lock containers!
The first 4 lunches in this post were packed in EasyLunchboxes, also one of my favorite containers. Click on over to find out how to order!