Touchless Lunches For Back to School

Touchless Lunches For Back to School

It’s a back to school like no other and with all the uncertainty this year brings the one thing that never, ever goes away is making lunches. However, you may want to rethink sending your kids to school with mid-day meals that rely on an assortment of finger foods and sandwiches the children use their hands to eat. We offer three recipes (packed with good for you ingredients so you don’t feel like they’re missing out on veggies) that offer your children nutritious, touch-less lunches. These meals are dishes kids love, but are also meant to reduce the spreading of germs by eliminating the handling of their foods or licking their fingers. Obviously, we absolutely expect hand washing before a meal and like the idea of sending kids to school with hand wipes they can use before lunch, but let’s face it: kids will be kids. ( Be sure to chat with your kids about how and when to use wipes or sanitizers and be sure to buy age appropriate containers they can easily open on their own with out any help.) We hope to eliminate the temptation to use their hands by providing meals they are accustomed to eating with utensils. And, besides, who doesn’t want these warm and comforting dishes?

Baked Croque Monsieur Bread Pudding – this delicious savoury bread pudding essentially tastes like the best ham and cheese sandwich you ever ate. It has all the flavours of their noon-time sandwich, but it fits snug in a thermos that dictates they should eat it with a fork.

Photo by Ashley van der Laan

Baked Croque Monsieur Savory Bread Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf French bread
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • pinch pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup diced honey ham
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups grated gruyere
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped thyme, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more for shallots

Instructions

  • Grease an 11 X7 baking dish with butter and set aside. Cut French stick into 1 inch cubes and arrange in prepared dish. Set aside.
  • In a medium skillet, warm your butter over medium heat until it foams. Add your shallots. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper and saute until they soften, about 3 minutes.
  • Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add diced ham and allow it to lightly brown on the edges, about 3 – 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk your eggs, milk, half and half, dijon mustard, gruyere, parmesan, thyme and salt.
  • Stir in your ham mixture.
  • Pour egg mixture over top of bread. Stir to coat all th cubes of bread and press down to ensure all bread is submerged. Cover in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hour or overnight.
  • Preaheat oven to 375 and arrange oven rack in the middle.
  • Bake in the oven for 35 – 40 minutes, or until bread is puffed up and browned and the bread pudding is bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before servings.
  • Bread pudding will keep in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for 5 -7 days.

Skillet Pizza Rolls – Forget school’s pizza lunch these rolls are way better. Market them to kids like a lasagne since they associate using a fork with the gooey dish but remind them they definitely are a pizza so get their mouthes ready for a party.

Skillet Pizza Rolls

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for pan
  • 1 1 lb. pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup fresh chopped baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, extra for garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400. Lightly grease a 10-inch ovenproof skillet with olive oil.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into about a 8 by 10 inch rectangle.
  • Brush top of dough surface with olive oil.
  • Spoon pasta sauce over the top leaving a 1/2 inch border.
  • Sprinkle with mozzarella, spinach and parmesan.
  • Starting at one side, roll the dough up jelly-roll style and pinch the seam to seal. Cut into 1-inch pieces.
  • Place rolls in prepared skillet cut side down.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, or until dough is golden brown and fillings are bubbly. Serve with an extra sprinkle of parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
  • Pizza rolls will keep in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for 3 to 5 days.

Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese – This Mac and Cheese is ultra creamy thanks to the addition of an immune-boosting sweet potato mash. Also, its orange-y shade looks similar to that other kind of, ahem, box mac and cheese that, sadly, can’t boast the same healthy benefits.

Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese

Makes: 8 servings
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 3 cups elbow macaroni
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup frozen peas optional

Instructions

  • To bake the sweet potato: Preheat the oven to 400. Wash and dry the sweet potato. Wrap the sweet potato with aluminium foil and pierce with a fork. Place the potato on a baking sheet and bake for 35- 40 minutes. Remove potato from oven and check to be sure it's fork tender. Allow it to cool a bit and then remove the skin. Mash until smooth with a potato masher.
    To Microwave the sweet potato: Wash and dry the sweet potato. PIerce it in a few spots with a fork. Place the sweet potato on a paper towel-lined plate. Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Turn the plate and repeat. Check to make sure it's fork tender. Allow it to cool a bit and then remove the skin. Mash until smooth with a potato masher.
  • Cook the pasta according to package directions. If you want to add the peas, in the last 2 minutes of the pasta's cooking time, add the frozen peas. Drain the pasta (and peas). Stir in 1 tbsp of olive oil and set aside.
  • In a large sauce pan over medium heat, add the butter. When it foams, add the flour and whisk until combined. Allow it to cook for a minute.
  • Add the milk slowly, stirring continually to eliminate lumps. Stir until it thickens, when it clings to the back of the spoon.
  • Turn off the heat and add the cheese. Stir until they melt.
  • Add the sweet potato puree and stir until combined.
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper
  • Serve with an extra sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

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