Thursday, July 24, 2008

Solving The Lunchbox Dilemma

Have your feet ever touched the floor in the morning and one of the first thoughts is, “What am I going to pack for lunches?” Are your kids or husband or YOU for that matter getting sick of the same old thing? Here are some ideas that might help.

Stromboli is a baked sandwich roll that can be sliced up during the week and easily put into lunchboxes. It can be eaten warmed up or cold. Instead of buying pre-made dough I make pizza dough in my bread machine. It usually makes two long Stromboli and I freeze one and then keep the other in the fridge to slice during the week for lunches. And it’s so versatile. You can pretty much stuff it with anything; cold cuts, leftover thin slices of meatloaf, cheese and pepperoni like a pizza. The sky’s the limit.

If you have a cooler salads can be made ahead on the weekend and served in lunches throughout the week. One of my husband’s favorites is Broccoli Coleslaw. Instead of buying the pre-shredded broccoli slaw mix I use the stems from fresh broccoli that I would normally just throw away, to make a salad similar to the one you can get in the deli case. I grate them up in my food processor with carrots and cabbage (If I have it) and toss with the dressing. You can also make up a batch of pasta or potato salads to eat during the week.

Make Ahead Wraps are a good alternative. These are like a southwest burrito and freeze and reheat really well.

Chicken Packets also freeze well and are easy foods to eat on the go.

Calzone are like homemade hot pockets and travel well. You can make these like little pizzas or with your favorite fillings.

And don’t forget the cookies. Almost any cookie recipe can be baked up and frozen to be pulled out later. Just double your batch of cookies, allow them to cool, and freeze them flat in individual serving sizes. This is our current favorite.

Do you realize how this could revolutionize your lunchbox packing? Seriously. All you would have to do would be to go to your freezer, grab a frozen calzone, scoop some salad out of the batch in your fridge and grab a bag of cookies out of the freezer and throw them In the lunchbox. No need to thaw. They will stay chilled and thaw as the day goes by and be ready by lunchtime. Then throw in a thermos of homemade iced tea or lemonade (1 cup lemon juice, 1 cup sugar, 7 cups water = 2 quarts) and they are ready to go.

If you have a plan…oh I can’t tell you how important that weekly plan is….this would be one afternoon of prep work for a whole week or two worth of worry free lunches.


Lorie said...

I like this post, you have some really neat ideas!

My favorite quote is Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail. Planning is the key to so many things in life! If you plan for those lunches and get the prep work done, then you won't be caught at the last minute looking for something and then going out to eat and spending money? Just a thought and I think what you were saying too. Some of those recipes might work for my dh. I would have to lighten then up some. I think he would love all of those! We use leftovers a lot too, but my dh needs snacks packed too for the day. I think a lot of you things in the breakfast post would work for that! (The bars and muffins even!)Thamks for your post and creative ideas!

Emily said...

Those are SUPER ideas. Great for a man in an office though. What about those blue collar guys? no microwave, no napkins...just lots of dirt. :) I have to pack the night before, and he'll rebel against anything soggy. ANYthing.

A sandwich, cookie and tea just isn't enough when you're exerting that much physical exercise. So, to help your readers with blue collar men like me...
PROTEIN is my ticket.
cheese sticks,
chicken salad sand.
Cliff bars
hard boiled eggs
Seasoned cold grilled chicken in strips.
Celery with peanut butter already inside.
Pasta Salad w/ cheese chunks and veggies w/ chicken.

If I don't have bread, I do tortilla chips and salsa/avocados sometimes. Pita pockets work great for fillings that get soggy by noon. (ie tuna, chicken salad) As do bagels.

So, even though you didn't ask...there's some things off the cuff that I was thinking about. :)

You can now return to Gayle's regularly scheduled program.

Leslie said...

This really helps....Thanks sooo much!

Jeff and Mindi said...

Can I ask what kind of bread machine you have? I was looking in to buying one to save time and money.

I really enjoy reading your blog! I know it takes you a lot of time to post, so thank you!

Tara said...

Found your blog while blog hopping and love, love, love all your ideas! You will definitely be on my blog roll!

EEEEMommy said...

You are so clever! Boy do I need to plan/a plan...