Lunchbox Fare – and an Impromptu Lunchbox Carnival

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School starts in earnest for Chicken Little tomorrow. In an effort to find that ever-elusive balance we discussed things I could buy for his lunch at the store. Naturally any boy with a Lunchable ™ fettish would request those first in the off chance that Hell had frozen over. But since it hadn’t, we broadened the conversation.

Everything I listed off he shot down. Sushi wraps? They come undone. Tortilla rolls? Too messy. Sandwiches? Too soggy. For a moment I felt like I was reading Old Hat New Hat with the Berenstein Bears.

I know next week when I am in the throes of packing lunchboxes I’ll be desperate for ideas so I’m compiling a list now. I hope this list helps trigger ideas for you and would love you to add more ideas in the comments below. In fact, I’m turning this into a carnival so we can all participate. I’ll keep this entry open so feel free to come back at a later time when you do your own blog post and link in to it, or if you don’t have a blog please do leave ideas in the comments.

Some quick ideas I had that I’ll hopefully find time to post recipes for in more detail next week:

  • Sushi wraps were too messy for my guy because I don’t wrap them in plastic wrap, however, if you have a creative way to wrap them they make a wonderful and fun lunch. You can line a piece of nori with brown rice then make a line of julienned lunch meat or veggies, smoked or canned salmon, bacon, egg salad, roe, olives or whatever your kids like. The more flavor the better since the rice will balance it out. In fact you can make these themed with Spanish rice and taco fillings or feta and sun dried tomatoes – think of pizza toppings and there you have it.
  • Tortilla wraps are essentially the same thing. You can spread a layer of cream cheese and then add lunch meat and a pickled green bean, asparagus or pickle spear and roll them up. Or try hummus and feta with chopped tomatoes and cucumber. The sky is the limit here too.
  • Burritos are always easy if you have purchased or frozen tortillas on hand. Black bean and rice or leftover meat and cheese. Chicken and peanut sauce with crunchy carrots. Black eye peas and corn with mustard vinaigrette. Teriyaki chicken and rice. These would all be nice flavors.
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Deviled eggs, egg salad, deviled or potted meats, liver pate, chicken, tuna or salmon salad, smoked salmon spread, hummus, flavored cream cheeses, potted cheese (grated cheddar mixed with cream cheese) all make nutrient – dense entrees you can pack in a small lidded container and can be eaten with a spoon or fork or used to spread on bread and crackers.
  • Calzones, pocket bread, pasties, filled croissants, empanadas and other hand pies are a fun thing to make. You can use pizza dough or purchased puff pastry, croissant or brioche dough or make your own. The fillings for these can also be endless.
  • Homemade Lunchables ™. Since Chicken Little has a Lunchable ™ fettish I’ll be focusing on these. He seems particularly enamored with the pizza and cracker sandwich options, which I believe his little brother (Pancake Boy) will also be willing to try. We’ll be making our own whole grain crackers and sending sliced cheese and home cured ham along. He also wants the nacho ones and I may find time to make corn tortillas then fry them into chips but more likely I’ll be buying the Que Pasa organic ones from BC. I will be making cheese sauce from a standard white sauce with grated cheese added and some green tomato enchilada sauce. We’ll also be prebaking small pizza shells and sending along some pizza sauce, grated cheese and pepperoni or home-cured Canadian bacon. I’d love any other ideas you have for interactive meals!
  • Homemade chili, soups, or leftover casseroles in a small thermos
  • Savory bread pudding squares or breakfast strata
  • Stir fried rice
  • Omelettes or mini quiches
  • Croque-Monsieur or French Toast
  • Croquettes
  • Fried Chicken
  • Rice and bean bowls
  • Okonomiyaki
  • Pasta salad – standard Italian seasonings, feta, olives and sun dried tomatoes or nut sauce and sesame oil with Asian flavors
  • Yakisoba
  • Tortellini with Alfredo sauce, ravioli or spaghetti with meatballs or Bolognese sauce in a thermos
  • Swedish or teriyaki meatballs in a small thermos
  • Garbanzo bean and spelt salad
  • Beef or salmon jerky
  • Dried fruit or fruit leather
  • Carrot salad or broccoli slaw
  • Yogurt and fruit with granola for self topping

  • Carrot sticks, celery or cherry tomatoes with dip
  • Apple slices with cajeta or nut butter
  • 5 Responses to Lunchbox Fare – and an Impromptu Lunchbox Carnival

    1. Those sound like absolutely delicious lunches – your little one is very lucky!!

    2. April I bet you have some good ideas to add!

    3. I bought a sealer from ebay to make PB&J’s that I prefreeze and then individual bag (and reuse). Great for breakfast and don’t cost much at all. Creamed honey from Farmers Market also goes well in them! Experimenting with freezing burritos tonight!

    4. I bought the Ball brand freezer containers in an 8 oz. sive to use for yogurt. We put jam in the bottom and fill it with homemade yogurt. I’m intrigued by bento boxes but currently we use canvas lunchbags and these: to store our sandwiches, wraps and other dry-ish foods.

    5. Vanessa what do you mean a sealer? Like a food saver? Or a sandwich maker that crimps the edges of the bread? I had thought of that since it’s an easy way to make a non-messy sandwich. Prefreezing things would certainly make lunchmaking easy!
      Angela I love that idea (the small yogurt containers). So much nicer than buying prepackaged items. It would be good to make pudding that way for lunches too. I think I need to get more smaller containers for dips and puddings. I’m thinking homemade snackpacks.

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