I, like most parents, do not approve of our school lunches here and have to arm my arsenal with an array of interesting choices beyond pb and j! Sometimes it can be very difficult to come up with creative ideas that your kids will actually eat without breaking the bank! What my kids like is a break from sandwiches and soup and most of the time they like to eat it plain or with crackers. Here are a few of our most loved recipes. I make enough for myself to take to work as well.
My kids and I love chicken salad and its so versatile, plus you can make it as low fat as possible. This recipe is very easy to use lowfat mayo; you can’t even tell the difference.
1 cup mayonnaise
4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
5 teaspoons of honey
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
salt and pepper to taste
2 lbs chicken breast
3/4 c pecans toasted
2 cups red seedless grapes
2-3 stalks of thinly sliced celery
Just a suggestion to use half the dressing first then add as you prefer. We don’t like our chicken salad swimming in dressing and I think I only used 2/3 of it.
Pesto Pasta Salad: so versatile, you can add or substitute anything to fit your dietary needs. I find every opportunity to add as many servings of veggies as I can.
1 cup green beans fresh or frozen
1 cup of peas fresh or frozen
1 1/2 c of cherry tomatoes halved
8 oz of mozzarella cubed or the little balls are really convenient
Pesto: Or you can just buy it prepared
2 cups fresh basil
1 clove garlic
dash of salt
3 tbl pine nuts
1/4 c parmigiano
3 tbl pecorino
1/2 c olive oil
In a food processor or blender blend all ingredients except for olive oil. Slowly stream in olive oil. Cook pasta til tender and add green beans and peas for last 2 minutes. Drain and pour back into pot. Add tomatoes and pesto and stir to coat. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. When cool add mozzarella and toss to coat and put into refrigerator. I usually coat the pesto when the pasta is hot so its evenly distributed. Optional toppings: chopped cooked bacon, shredded chicken, steamed red potatoes cubed, nicoise olives
Mediteranean Orzo Salad: What i love about this salad is that its really light but filling at the same time. To save money I actually use the olive and antipasto bar at my grocery store for the feta, olives and artichokes. Its cheaper than buying each separately unless you are using them in other recipes.
1 box of Orzo cooked
1 cup of Kalamata (or preferred) olives
1 cup of cubed feta cheese
1 cup of cherry tomatoes
1 cup of chopped artichokes (marinated or plain)
1/3 cup of finely diced red onion
1/2 cup of toasted slivered almonds
1-2 teaspoons dijon mustard (i like more)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 lemons juiced
This can be tossed together while its cooled. The lemon is really bright and brings a nice balance to the other flavors. If your not a fan of red onion you can soak it in ice water before you cut it; that will reduce the strength of the flavor.