Now that school is starting up, it’s prime time to start thinking of some yummy things to pack for lunch! The best lunchbox recipes are always playful, healthy, and of course – delicious. Here are some recipes I found that all the other kids will want to swap for:
Waffled Ham & Cheese Sandwiches (from Epicurious)
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 16 slices firm white sandwich bread
- 8 thin slices boiled ham (1/4 lb)
- 8 thin slices Swiss cheese (1/4 lb)
Special equipment: a large square or rectangular electric waffle iron (not a Belgian waffle iron)
- Preheat waffle iron on high until just beginning to smoke. Reduce heat to moderate and brush generously with some butter.
- Spread butter on 1 side of 8 bread slices and turn slices over. Top 4 slices with 1 slice ham and 1 slice cheese, folding in any overhang, then top with remaining 4 buttered bread slices, buttered sides up. Cook sandwiches in batches (number of batches will depend on size of your waffle maker) until bread is golden and crisp, 4 to 6 minutes.
- Assemble and cook 4 more sandwiches in same manner.
- Just before serving, cut each sandwich into 4 triangles.
Tori’s Note: These are great because they can be made 4 hours ahead and save really well once they’ve cooled!
Pizza Pinwheels (from Weelicious)
- 1 recipe wheat pizza dough *let dough come to room temperature before you roll it out.
- 2 tablespoons dijon or yellow mustard
- 1 cup or 8 slices of ham, without the rind, chopped fine
- 1 cup mozzarella or cheddar, shredded
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees
- Roll out pizza dough until 1/4 inch thick and the shape of a large rectangle (about 18 x 12 inches).
- Evenly spread 2 tbsp of mustard on the dough.
- Sprinkle the ham and cheese on top of the dough.
- Starting with end nearest you (the long end of the rectangle), roll the dough away from you, creating an even cylinder as you go (similar to a jelly roll).
- Lightly sprinkle some flour on top of the roll (so it’s easier to cut) and using a serrated knife, cut the roll into 1/2 inch discs (pinwheels).
- Place pinwheels on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet and lightly press them with the palm of your hand to slightly flatten and bake for 12-15 minutes.
- To Freeze: After rolling up the dough, cut the roll in half and freeze for later. When you are ready just take it out and let it thaw to room temperature then cut them into pinwheels and follow the steps 7-8. Or you can just cut the entire roll in pinwheels and place some pinwheels on a baking sheet, freeze for 30 minutes then place them in a ziploc bag, label and freeze. But be sure to always let the pinwheels come to room temperature then bake.
Starfish Biscuit Sandwiches (from MarthaStewart.com)
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 3/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
- 9 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup milk, plus more for brushing
- Cornmeal, for sprinkling
- 1 1/4 pounds cheddar cheese, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment. In large bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Using pastry blender or two knives, cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal.
- Make a well in center of flour mixture; pour in milk. Mix, using a fork, until dough just comes together. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface; press to form a 6- to 7-inch-diameter circle.
- Roll out the dough 1/3-inch thick. Cut out with 3 1/2-inch star-shape cookie cutter. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Lightly brush the tops with milk, and sprinkle with cornmeal. Bake until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven, and transfer biscuits to a wire rack to cool.
- Cut cheese into star shapes. Cut each biscuit in half crosswise. Spread one half with mayonnaise; top with a cheese star. Cover with the other half, and serve.
The Hum Yum Sandwich (from Delish.com)
- 1 15-ounce can of garbanzo beans (also called chick peas), drained and rinsed
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 1 7-ounce jar roasted red peppers, minus the oil
- 1/4 cup tahini
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 5 to 6 bagels, cut in half, or 2 or 3 pita rounds, cut in half
- 6 slice(s) Muenster cheese
- Veggies of your choice (like cucumbers, sprouts, and tomato.)
- Put the garbanzo beans, garlic, roasted red peppers, tahini, lemon juice, and salt in the food processor. PurÃ©e for about 1 minute until it is a smooth mush (hummus!). This hummus is on the soupy side when you first make it, but it thickens if you let it rest for a few minutes. I have no idea why.
- Spread the hummus on the bottom half of each bagel, and layer with cheese and veggies. Add the top half of the bagel and enjoy every yummy bite.
Banana Dog Bites (from Weelicious)
- 2 bananas, peeled
- ¼ cup peanut butter (you can also use almond or sunflower butter)
- 2 tortillas of your choice
- Place one tortilla on a flat surface and spread 2 tbsp of peanut butter on the tortilla to evenly coat it.
- Place one banana near the edge of the tortilla and roll it up
- Slice into ½ inch rounds and serve
Note from Weelicious: If your tortilla bread is still, you can put it in the microwave in between 2 pieces of moist paper towel and heat for 15-20 seconds or until soft
Stromboli (from Real Simple)
- 1 14.5-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- Kosher salt
- 1 1-pound package pizza dough (thawed, if frozen)
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced, or 4 ounces shredded provolone
- 2 cups fresh spinach, tough stems removed
- Heat oven to 450° F. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the tomatoes and their juices, oregano, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer, crushing the tomatoes with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Shape the dough into one 12- to 14-inch round and place on a baking sheet. Cover with the sauce and top with the mozzarella and spinach.
- Roll the pie into the shape of a log. Turn it so the seam is facing the pan and not visible. Bake until golden brown and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Transfer to a cutting board. Slice into rounds and divide among plates.
Yum! So good even mama bear will want a bite! What are you sending your kids to school with for lunch this year? Let me know your recipes and tips in the comments below.