Friday, January 28, 2011

Lunch Box Lowdown Tip

The health benefits of fruits and vegetables are amazing, but the bacteria and pesticides can put a damper on the nutritional benefits. Rinsing our fruit and veggies with water alone removes only 25% bacteria. That would be like our children only rinsing their hands with water after using the bathroom. Yuck.

Here is the lunch box lowdown-

After a shopping trip, using a large bowl, add 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar to every 1 pint water. Set fruit and vegetables in the bowl and then rinse with cool water and place on clean towel to air dry (it need not be an old Christmas kitchen towel). This removes surface wax, pesticides and 98% of bacteria. Be sure to wash fruits with a peel also, like oranges and bananas, to prevent cross contamination.

The vinegar smell doesn't stick around long at all, if that is a concern. Actually the smell makes me crave Salt and Vinegar Potato chips, so I try to hurry and fill my belly with the fruits I've just washed before I cave into that temptation.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pimiento Cheese Sandwich

Pimiento Cheese is a delicious southern sandwich that is perfect for a lunch box. It can be cut into triangles with the crusts removed for a finger food event or even grilled. It's the signature dish at The Masters Tournament. It is easy to make and it is oh so good!

Pimiento Cheese Sandwich
makes 4 cups of cheese spread
  • 1 cup of mayo
  • 1 4 oz. jar diced pimiento
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. finely diced red onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 8 oz. block of extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 8 oz. block sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Stir mayo, pimiento, Worcestershire sauce, onion, and pepper in a bowl. Add cheese and mix. Keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. Can be served on crackers, celery, with chips, but best served as a sandwich.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Seafood Salad on a Bun

This is a very flavorful sandwich and can be tailored to you or your child's taste. Below I will list what ingredients would work in this recipe and you can easily add or double or take away to your taste. This makes plenty! I enjoy serving the salad on a hot dog bun but any bread would work great too.

Seafood Salad on a Bun
  • 8 oz. imitation crab legs
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 small can of sliced olives
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2 T. capers
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1/3 cup mayo
  • lettuce
  • hot dog bun
Combine chosen ingredients and toss with mayo. Add to bun with a little lettuce.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Sandwich

This mornings lunch box inspiration was by my all time favorite salad, the Caprese Salad. Basil is my #1 all-time most favorite herb (cilantro being #2) It mingles beautifully with tomato and mozarella. It's no wonder the salad is so popular. 

Here is the lowdown-

Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Sandwich

  • sandwich thins
  • mayonaise
  • basil
  • lemon
  • tomato
  • fresh mozzarella 
Add a heaping tablespoon mayonaise to a small bowl. Chiffonade about 3 or more large basil leaves and a squirt (just a little) of fresh lemon, mix. Spread onto sandwich thin. Add a slice of mozarella and 2-3 slices of tomato.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Almost California Sushi

I adore sushi but my children are hesitant. They would be bigger fans if sushi came without the nori (seaweed) wrap. So I made up some faux sushi using the Spinach Flat Out bread (because it's green) and they have been asking begging for more. I can't make this enough for them. Because of the avocado, it's best to make this one in the morning, but it's not as time consuming as it looks. 

When I made the Almost California Sushi, I happened to have sticky rice on hand from a sushi kit.  Sticky rice is easy to make and can be made using brown rice or you could use regular non-sticky rice that you may have as leftovers and spread a thin layer of spreadable cream cheese, to help the rice stick, on the Flat Out bread before adding the layer of  rice.

Almost California Sushi
serves 1

  • 1 spinach Flat Out
  • 1/2 cup sticky rice
  • 1 imitation crab, leg style, cut in half length wise
  • block of cream cheese, sliced small
  • cucumber (I use English), sliced small
  • avocado, sliced
Lay Flat Out ... flat out on the counter (sorry, I just had to...) horizontally and spread the rice to cover the bread. Stack the crab and cucumber, then right beside that the cream cheese and avocado, length wise, not quite in the middle. (about an inch and a half in) Roll tightly.  

Slice 1 inch sized peices. Or slice once in half diagnally to make an Almost California Sushi Wrap.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sides: Blueberries on a Lemon Cloud

Lemons and blueberries go together like strawberries and chocolate.
The combination is just oh so right

Blueberries on a Lemon Cloud

  • 1/2 package of 3.4 oz lemon instant pudding
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 container whipped topping
  • blueberries
Wisk pudding and milk until well incorporated. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour. Fold in whipped topping. Place a cloud of the lemon mixture in a small container and top with blueberries.

Leftovers would be great as a filling in crepes with blueberries or kiwi.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sides: Trail Corn

Fact: Sandwiches taste better with something crunchy on the side.

Good news!! The Biggest Loser Family Cookbook has a great snack that also serves as a great side to sandwiches. The kids can get the crunch without the greasy fat.

Trail Corn
  • 4 cups air-popped popcorn
  • 1/2 cup high-fiber, low-sugar cereal squares (I used Cinnamon Quaker Oatmeal Squares)
  • 1/2 cup dried red fruit (I used mixed berries)
  • 2 T. mini chocolate chips (I may have doubled that....)
  • and I added 1/2 cup dried banana chips
Place everything in a bag (I used a gallon zip lock) and shake. You can store left-overs in the zip-lock bag or an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Veggie Bagel

My little one in elementary school has been begging me to make this for her lunch. It's inspired by PW's Veggie and Cheese Bagel but it's been changed a little to make it a little healthier, quicker to make and more lunch box friendly. Instead of avocado I used store bought guacamole so it wouldn't turn brown before the lunch bell rang.

Here is the lowdown-

Veggie Bagel

  •  bagel thins (I used Toufayan's smartbagel)
  • Chive and Onion spreadable cream cheese (I used Philadelphia's 1/3 less fat)
  • Guacamole (the most natural you can find)
  • cucumber
  • spinach
  • alfalfa sprouts
  • tomato
  • 2 slices of cheese (I used 1 cheddar and 1 baby swiss)
Spread cream cheese on one side and the guacamole on the other. Sandwich everything else, to taste, in between.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mixto Sandwich

The Mixto Sandwich is known in America as The Cuban Sandwich. It is vintage (found in Cuban restaurants as early as the 1930's) and most delicious but is served flattened and toasted, which just doesn't work for a packed lunch. This recipe has the taste and feel of the traditional Cuban Sandwich but is tweaked for the Lunch Box. The sandwich thins works best since the traditional sandwich is flattened (thin) bread.

Here is the lowdown-

Mixto Sandwich
serves 1
  • Sandwich thins (I use Arnold's multi-grain)
  • ham, 4 slices or to taste
  • shredded pork (I use leftovers), about 1/4 of a cup
  • Swiss cheese (I say Baby Swiss all the way..... baby!) 1-2 slices, to taste
  • mustard, to taste
  • dill pickle slices (a must), 1-2
Spread mustard on the inside of both sandwich thin pieces. Layer on cheese, shredded pork, then add pickle, and top with ham. **Place the pickle between the two meats to keep the pickle juice from getting the bread soggy.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Chocolate & Strawberry Roll-Ups

Another favorite lunch box item from my home are these Chocolate & Strawberry Roll-Ups. Of course that's not surprising in the least, right? Who would turn their nose up at strawberries and chocolate?! I make 2 of Roll-Ups per person, wrap them individually in plastic wrap and then wrap them together in foil.

Chocolate & Strawberry Roll-Ups
serves 1
  • 2 fajita sized tortilla (I use La Banderita's wheat tortillas)
  • 2 T. cream cheese (regular or strawberry)
  • 2 t. mini chocolate chips
  • 2 strawberry
Spread 1 tablespoon cream cheese on each tortilla. Add a sliced strawberry per tortilla and then sprinkle mini chocolate chips on each. Roll up, wrap up and pack up. And if you can't resist making an extra for yourself to eat for breakfast, know that you are not alone.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Deviled Ham Sandwich

This is a great post-Holiday lunch box idea. A regular ole ham sandwich with left over ham is great but why not try something a little different and devil the ham? Make this the night before so the flavors can mingle and be all the better.

Deviled Ham Sandwich
  • 1 pound of ham
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup mustard
  • 1 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 T. paprika
  • 1/2 onion, chopped finely
Zip ham through a processor until crumbly but not mush. Add the rest of the ingredients and combine well. Cover and store in the refrigerator over night. Put between two slices of bread (or could even be served with crackers). I add spinach to most meat sandwiches and it works great with this sandwhich as well.