The kids head back to school tomorrow (and my toddler starts pre-school, sniff sniff, when did she get so big???) SO it’s back to packing lunches. At the beginning of the school year I put together a menu of homemade freezer lunches for the kids to choose from each morning. The list is posted and they can easily get a portable delicious and nutritious meal together that beats any soggy sandwich hands down and helps make our mornings flow smoothly. The list has evolved some, favorites have been identified and others eliminated. The stash had dwindled down so I took the opportunity to stock it back up over the break. We have a new puppy and a 22 month old so traveling wasn’t a great option for us this holiday. Here I made cheese tortellini, sliders and chicken burrito bowls. Other favorites are mini quiche, homemade uncrustables and burritos.
I’ll make some more lunches and post later on but we are off to a good start for the new year!
The sliders are just mini burgers. These were made with blue cheese and bacon on our griddle. Once the burgers are cooked freeze them in a single layer then place in sliced Hawaiian rolls and wrap in waxed paper. My son will eat 2 so I wrap 2 together. To heat wrap in a damp paper towel and microwave for 1-2 minutes. This is a good reason to steal those mini ketchup bottles from your room service tray should you come across them. You can keep refilling it and send it to school so the kids can add ketchup at lunchtime and the buns don’t get mushy. No more frozen White Castle burgers in this house!
For the tortellini simply cook per package instructions, drain and stir in a little olive oil.
Let it cool to room temperature then lay out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze.
Once they are solid you can transfer them to a large zip loc bag and they won’t clump together. The morning of place the desired amount in a thermos, cover with a damp paper towel and microwave for a couple minutes stirring halfway through. My kids like either butter and Parmesan cheese or pesto sauce mixed in. Marinara would also work if you have some in the fridge.
CHIPOTLE CHICKEN BURRITO BOWLS
The burrito bowls are a little more time consuming but I make a huge batch and have them for dinner that night too. Follow the chipotle chicken instructions listed here. While the chicken is marinated soak some black beans overnight. The next day drain the beans, place them in a pot and cover with water/broth. Bring them to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 hours until tender adding more liquid as necessary. I don’t season beans until after they are cooked because salt can keep them from plumping up and getting tender. Once they are cooked I add seasoned salt, lime juice, cumin, dried onion, hot sauce and pepper to taste. Make a big pot of brown rice following these instructions for perfect brown rice. Season with butter, salt, pepper and lime juice. Cook your chicken and let everything cool to room temperature.
Make an assembly line with the rice, beans chopped up chicken and some grated cheese.
I love these precut waxed paper squares for this. Place a square in the thermos you will use for lunch, fill with rice, beans, chicken and top with cheese.
The morning of place a portion in the thermos and heat through for 1-2 minutes. Stir it up and send it to school with a little sour cream and a mini Tabasco sauce bottle. Your kids will love you at lunchtime! I take these to work sometimes too.