Mom’s lunch is usually leftovers from dinner, my husband never tires of turkey sandwiches, but the kids can be a little trickier. I have to say, I use my panini press a lot, I mean a lot, almost every day. I know too many small kitchen appliances can be too much clutter, but a panini press I couldn’t go without. I also count on my freezer for lunches…in a good way, more on that below. All of these lunches can be made in the morning and packed into school lunch boxes too, the hot foods are room temp by lunch time, which has never been a complaint with my kids. These are our 5 rotating go-to basics, quick, easy and at least semi healthy kid lunch staples:
TOP 5 KID’S LUNCHES
- QUESADILLA’S – In the Panini Press!! I always have some soft tortilla’s in the fridge and I always have cheese. From there I add in whatever I have, leftover chicken, (leftover chicken or taco meat can be frozen and used later for quesadilla’s!) black beans, avocado slices, a few cut up veggies and I can make it extra healthy by always keeping my 5 Minute Veggie Salsa on hand. We like to dip them in plain yogurt mixed with salsa.
- PIZZA THINGS – This is what my mom called them when I was a kid, basically pizza toppings on anything, english muffins, bagels, bread, tortillas, naan bread, pitas, etc. This is where my freezer comes in: whenever I make spaghetti or bolognese sauce, I freeze some of the leftover sauce in small containers or little jars, perfect for thawing for pizza sauce for lunch. Also stored in my freezer, I buy a big bag of decent quality pepperoni from the deli (I think this has to be better than the hormel version that isn’t even refrigerated). Any white cheese, shredded or broken up slices, maybe a veggie topping, maybe not, bake it in the oven at 400°, put it right on the oven rack, no need to dirty a pan.
- PANINI SANDWICHES – My kids are much more likely to eat a sandwich when it’s all glued together with melted cheese. The panini press is how we make grilled cheese, faster and easier to clean. So start with a grilled cheese and add extras if you want: avocado, deli meat, leftover bacon (leftover cooked bacon can also be frozen and makes a great panini ingredient to pull out a little at a time), tomato slices, just add cheese!
- PEANUT BUTTER BANANA SANDWICH – or PB&J, they are classics for a reason.
- VEGGIE BAGEL – My kids love these, hummus and avocado with cheese are a must, but sometimes you can sneak in some spinach, cucumber or tomato. (Mom loves these too)
BONUS – QUICK MAC & CHEESE – This does not need to be fancy OR from a box! Recipe Here, just simply boil up some pasta and mix in a handful of shredded cheese and a scoop of plain yogurt. You can also add the leftover spaghetti sauce from #2.