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1 Lunch + 2 Snacks #131

May 5, 2016  |  1 Lunch + 2 Snacks  |  No Comments
1 Lunch + 2 Snacks #131 - a days worth of delicious, easy, healthy & fun, kid friendly lunch and snack ideas, with a few tips & tricks thrown in here and there. Get more ideas & inspiration for family friendly, kid approved lunches & snacks at LunchingDaily.com

I like getting a little creative with food…and when I say creative, I’m not talking about gourmet creative. I’m talking about adding a little fun, creative. Taking what I have on hand and using those ingredients in simple, easy and fun ways to get the kids interested, engaged and excited about eating and trying new foods.

Lunch Box Granola Bar with Fruit Bowl. Get more ideas & inspiration for family friendly, kid approved lunches & snacks at LunchingDaily.com

Lunch Box Granola Bar & Fruit Bowl // Mixing fresh and frozen fruit is a fun sensory experience for kids, involving colour, texture and temperature.

These Lunch Box Granola Bars are a favourite around here. Pair them up with fruit and they are perfect for popping into school lunches, for quick snacks after school or for snacks on the go. Even though the kids love them (ok, not just the kids:), for this snack it was all about the fruit, which got an extra shot of colour with some frozen blackberries.

They were just so excited about the combination of both fresh and frozen fruit and the talk around the table reflected it. “This one is sooo cold and this one’s not”, “This one is hard”, “The orange one is soft” and so on. In my experience, getting kids engaged and interested in food like this, leads to more adventurous eating and tempts, even picky eaters, into trying something new or different.

I serve frozen fruit a lot – on banana logs, with cereal, on apple sauce, on yogurt, or on skewers. I also serve frozen peas and corn a lot too – with pasta and in salads. But it was the combination of both fresh and frozen that created the spark this time.

Omelette & Veggie Skewers with Asparagus Soup. Get more ideas & inspiration for family friendly, kid approved lunches & snacks at LunchingDaily.com

Omelette & Veggie Skewers with Roasted Asparagus Soup // We all love skewers, for appetizers, for snacks, for lunch, for leftovers.

Skewers immediately add an element of fun, they’re like a little party, and what kid (ok, or adult) doesn’t like a party? But there is another reason I love skewers. They are terrific for using up leftovers, especially when you need to stretch those leftovers a little bit further.

For dinner we had omelettes with cheese and chopped green peppers, plus roasted asparagus on the side. With just two leftover omelettes, I was able to make these crazy popular omelette and veggie skewers, for five kids for lunch. I also roasted the asparagus with some leeks and celery (as per the Roasted Asparagus Soup with Lemon and Parmesan recipe), making sure I had enough for dinner and the soup, then right after dinner I quickly made the soup.

To make each omelette, whisk 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons of milk, and some salt and pepper, in a bowl. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in an 8 inch non-stick pan, over medium-high heat. Pour in egg mixture. When the eggs set around edge of the pan, use a spatula to gently push cooked portions toward the center of the pan. Tilt and rotate the pan to allow the uncooked egg to flow into empty spaces. When eggs are almost set on surface but still look moist, sprinkle on your choice of toppings (I used cheddar and chopped green peppers), then carefully flip one-third of the omelette toward the centre, followed by the other side (like a letter).

To make the skewers, let the omelette cool completely (I refrigerated it overnight), then cut into 1 inch cubes. Thread the omelette cubes onto a bamboo skewer, alternating with veggies of your choice.

Looking for other fun ways to eat omelettes? Try Omelette Training (you could also serve the veggies on the side and let them top their own) and Omelette Sushi.

Mozzarella Bacon and Spinach Melts on Flatbread. Get more ideas & inspiration for family friendly, kid approved lunches & snacks at LunchingDaily.com

Mozzarella Bacon and Spinach Melt // Part pizza, part BLT but all fun when you start experimenting with topping your own.

Flatbread, melted cheese, a few bits of cooked bacon. A lot of kids would eat melted cheese on flatbread at every meal (ok, not just kids). So, often I use that as a jumping of point for a little food fun and adventure.

There are two ways I do this:

First, I add toppings, right after I pull the melt from the oven (just 2 minutes under the broiler is all it takes), in this case the spinach. I know that some of the kids are going to want to pull that spinach off, the hot cheese sticks it down enough that it won’t fall off on its own, but not so much that the kids can’t take it off, if they try it and don’t like it. And even if they pull it off their first slice, I still continue to put it on each time, for exposure. Almost always they will eventually eat it. Maybe not today, but eventually. If I stop putting it on, then they never get that chance (or exposure).

Second, I give them toppings they can add themselves, because topping things up is fun and sometimes the desire to top, outweighs the hesitation to try. In this case we were talking about the spinach, who tried it, who liked it etc., and I asked what everyone thought the tomato would taste like on the melt. When two of the kids wanted to try, I offered to cut up their tomato wedge, so they could add it to the melt and before I knew it, everyone wanted to give it a try. Sometimes monkey see, monkey do, is a good thing:)

1 Lunch + 2 Snacks - lunch and snack ideas for kids and their families. For hundreds more delicious, easy, healthy & fun kid friendly lunch and snack ideas visit LunchingDaily.com

Happy lunching (and snacking:)

Debbie.

1 Lunch + 2 Snacks is where I share the healthy, kid friendly lunch and snacks, that I serve the kids Monday to Friday, along with a few tips & tricks thrown in here and there. For more posts in this series click here. If you would like to see my lunch and snack ideas in real time, you can follow me on Instagram where I post them as they happen:)

5 Minute Salsa and Cheater Guacamole

April 21, 2016  |  Recipes  |  No Comments
5 Minute Salsa and Cheater Guacamole - this easy salsa and guacamole recipe can be whipped up in no time using a handful of ingredients and a food processor. So delicious, fresh and easy, you'll never go back to store bought again.

We go through a lot of salsa and guacamole, especially in the warmer months. So now that spring is here and cottage / deck season is upon us, I know we will be going through our fair share. It’s just so darn easy to pull out a bowl of each, along with some nacho chips, when guests drop by for a visit and a drink. Plus it’s also very family friendly, the kids are just as happy to dig in, as the adults.

5 Minute Salsa and Cheater Guacamole - this easy salsa and guacamole recipe can be whipped up in no time using a handful of ingredients and a food processor. So delicious, fresh and easy, you'll never go back to store bought again.

And with those warmer months hopefully leading to some lazy days, having an easy salsa and guacamole recipe to rely on, is a must. This 5 Minute Salsa and Cheater Guacamole recipe can be whipped up in no time, with the help of a food processor (or blender), a handful of ingredients and my sneaky little cheater guacamole trick.

So delicious, fresh and easy, you’ll never go back to store bought again, it is both a taste and a time pleaser. Seriously, salsa in 5 minutes and guacamole in just a few minutes more, you don’t even need to rinse out the food processor between making the salsa and guacamole. You’ll have a fresh batch of each, ready to be served, before your guests have settled into their deck chairs.

5 Minute Salsa and Cheater Guacamole - this easy salsa and guacamole recipe can be whipped up in no time using a handful of ingredients and a food processor. So delicious, fresh and easy, you'll never go back to store bought again.

So what’s the sneaky little trick to making the cheater guacamole? Well a few years ago, we went on a family vacation to Mexico. Each day there were lots of activities available, most of which we did, since my youngest daughter made it her mission to get to the activities board, first thing each morning, to make a plan for the day:) One day there was a salsa and guacamole making demonstration that we watched and one thing that I found very interesting, was that a lot of the ingredients that went into the salsa, also went into the guacamole.

5 Minute Salsa and Cheater Guacamole - this easy salsa and guacamole recipe can be whipped up in no time using a handful of ingredients and a food processor. So delicious, fresh and easy, you'll never go back to store bought again.

So when I got home and tried to recreate the recipe (bathing suit, cover up, flip flops and mojito was all I had with me at the time, so no recipe was written down), I decided to use some of the salsa to make the guacamole. And that’s my little sneaky trick. A few avocados, some lime juice, seasoning and all of that flavour from the salsa. It’s a little sneaky and a little trick, but it sure makes whipping up delicious guacamole super easy.

5 Minute Salsa and Cheater Guacamole - this easy salsa and guacamole recipe can be whipped up in no time using a handful of ingredients and a food processor. So delicious, fresh and easy, you'll never go back to store bought again.

If you’ve been following along for a bit, you’ll know how much I like using dips and spreads as time savers throughout the week. Here you get two for one. The kids love dipping all sorts of things in salsa and guacamole like eggsquesadillas, zucchini or other veggies, and of course both make perfect toppings on crackers and cheese or nachos, but they are also great for topping up burgers or chicken for dinner or spreading on sandwiches or wraps for lunch. Just think of all that extra time you will have to laze around on the deck!

5 Minute Salsa and Cheater Guacamole - this easy salsa and guacamole recipe can be whipped up in no time using a handful of ingredients and a food processor. So delicious, fresh and easy, you'll never go back to store bought again.

Debbie:)

5 Minute Salsa and Cheater Guacamole
 
Prep time
Total time
 
This easy salsa and guacamole recipe can be whipped up in no time, using a handful of ingredients and a food processor. So delicious, fresh and easy, you'll never go back to store bought again.
Author:
Ingredients
For Salsa (makes 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, trimmed, cut in half lengthwise and seeded (Note 1)
  • 1 onion, peeled, trimmed and cut into 1/8ths
  • 19 oz (540 ml) can whole peeled tomatoes, including juice
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 big handful of cilantro, just tear a handful off the bunch, stems and all, about 1/2 cup packed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
For Guacamole (makes 1 cup)
  • 2 avocados
  • 1/4 cup of 5 Minute Salsa (recipe above)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
For Salsa
  1. Gather ingredients and tools. Prep ingredients (trim pepper, chop onion) and open can.
  2. With food processor running, drop the jalapeno pepper through the small feed tube and process until finely chopped, scrape down sides.
  3. Add the onion and pulse until chopped, being careful not to chop it too finely or it will begin to turn to a paste.
  4. Add the tomatoes (including the juice), lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper and pulse until you reach the desired consistency. Transfer to a bowl and return the bowl of the food processor to the base.
For Guacamole
  1. Halve, pit, and using a spoon, scoop out the avocado into the bowl of the food processor that you just made the salsa in (no need to rinse it out).
  2. Add the salsa, lime juice, salt and pepper and process until smooth (or as smooth as you like it).
Notes
1. We like our salsa mild so I remove all the seeds. Everyone has a different hot meter, but if I want mild salsa I remove all the seeds, if I want medium salsa I remove half of the seeds and if I want hot salsa I leave all the seeds in.

TOOLS:
Food processor
Cutting board and sharp knife
Can opener
Spatula
Measuring spoons (1 teaspoon, 1/4 teaspoon)
Spoon

 

Chicken, Kale and Wild Rice Salad with Dried Cranberries and Toasted Walnuts

April 13, 2016  |  Recipes  |  4 Comments
Chicken, Kale and Wild Rice Salad with Dried Cranberries and Toasted Walnuts - a hearty lunch salad made using leftovers from dinner and dressed in a Maple Dijon Dressing | LunchingDaily.com

There are a lot of things I love about wild rice. Its nutty taste, that adds so much flavour to a dish. Instead of being a background flavor, like white rice, it’s one of the star players in any recipe. Its chewy texture, that holds up so well, in so many dishes, and makes it a perfect candidate for leftovers. And last but not least, the fact that I don’t have to rinse it prior to cooking it, a small point I know, but one that saves me a bit of time in the kitchen.

Chicken, Kale and Wild Rice Salad with Dried Cranberries and Toasted Walnuts - a hearty lunch salad made using leftovers from dinner and dressed in a Maple Dijon Dressing | LunchingDaily.com

That’s why, whenever I make this Easy Roasted Chicken with Acorn Squash Salad and Wild Rice for dinner, I cook 1 extra cup of dried rice and roast an extra chicken breast, so that I can make this healthy and hearty rice salad for lunch. I also toast extra walnuts (they are great for snacking on too, so anytime I toast nuts I make extra) and grate extra parmesan cheese. When it comes to taste, the ease of using leftovers for lunch and saving time in the kitchen, this chicken, kale and wild rice salad is a winner (winner, winner)!

If you choose not to make the dinner first, then you can always use leftover chicken from another meal or just roast the chicken and cook 1 cup of wild rice. The maple dijon dressing is a great all purpose dressing, so if you whip up a batch you can use it on any other salads you have throughout the week too. You can find all the recipes here.

But I love using leftovers, because it means I can literally toss this salad together in a matter of minutes, either after dinner, or first thing in the morning and lunch is made, or if you prefer a quick and easy second dinner.

Chicken, Kale and Wild Rice Salad with Dried Cranberries and Toasted Walnuts - a hearty lunch salad made using leftovers from dinner and dressed in a Maple Dijon Dressing | LunchingDaily.com

Debbie:)

5.0 from 2 reviews
Chicken, Kale and Wild Rice Salad with Dried Cranberries and Toasted Walnuts
 
Prep time
Total time
 
A hearty lunch salad made using leftover chicken, rice and toasted walnuts from this Easy Roasted Chicken with Acorn Squash Salad and Wild Rice dinner, tossed with chopped kale and dried cranberries, then dressed in a Maple Dijon Dressing.
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 3 cups cooked wild rice (leftover from dinner)
  • 1 1/4 cups cubed, cooked chicken (one chicken breast leftover from dinner)
  • 1 cup torn kale, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup toasted walnut halves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (plus more for garnish, if desired)
  • 1/4 cup Maple Dijon Dressing (leftover from dinner)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl add the rice, chicken, kale, cranberries, walnuts and parmesan cheese and mix to combine.
  2. Toss with maple dijon dressing.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Garnish with more parmesan cheese, if desired.
Notes
If you choose not to make the dinner first, then you can always cook 1 cup of dried wild rice according to the package directions and roast the chicken, in a 450°F oven for 35-40 minutes, or until cooked through (meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part should read 160°F) or use leftover chicken from another meal.

 

1 Lunch + 2 Snacks #130

April 7, 2016  |  1 Lunch + 2 Snacks  |  No Comments
1 Lunch + 2 Snacks #130 - a days worth of delicious, easy, healthy & fun, kid friendly lunch and snack ideas, with a few tips & tricks thrown in here and there. Get more ideas & inspiration for family friendly, kid approved lunches & snacks at LunchingDaily.com

I’m always trying to find ways to get the kids to eat more vegetables. Today, along with a lunch and a couple of snack ideas, I’m sharing some of my tips & tricks on how I do just that. As well as some creative ways to use leftovers for lunches and snacks, to save time, keep things interesting and make sure those veggies get eaten.

Roasted Sweet Potato & Blueberry Skewers with Apple Sauce Dip. Get more ideas & inspiration for family friendly, kid approved lunches & snacks at LunchingDaily.com

Roasted Sweet Potato & Blueberry Skewers with Apple Sauce Dip // Roasting extra vegetables at dinner is great for both saving time with food prep & getting the kids to eat more veggies at lunch and snack time.

I love mixing vegetables and fruit together. Kids tend to like fruit more than vegetables, so I feel by mixing them, it puts vegetables in good company. Plus fruit is generally easier to serve, it can often be served as is, with little more prep than washing, which makes grabbing a fruit snack, typically, a lot easier than grabbing a veggie snack.

That’s why whenever I roast veggies for dinner, I make extra, with the prep and cooking already done, they are an easy to grab snack. I served these roasted sweet potatoes cold, on a skewer mixed with fresh blueberries. They make a very fast and simple, fun and colourful snack that is delicious dipped into apple sauce.

To roast sweet potatoes for dinner, I peel and cube the sweet potatoes, tossed them with olive oil and sea salt and spread them out on a baking sheet or two. Then I roast them in a 400°F oven for about 15 – 20 minutes, or until they are tender.

Apple & Chicken Salad with Toasted Pecans and Maple Dijon Dressing. Get more ideas & inspiration for family friendly, kid approved lunches & snacks at LunchingDaily.com

Apple & Chicken Salad with Toasted Pecans and Maple Dijon Dressing // Flavours kids love and ingredients leftover from dinner make this easy to make lunch salad a hit with kids and adults. 

This fresh and crisp lunch salad came together in no time flat, by utilizing leftovers from the night before’s dinner. Reinventing leftovers from dinner, to make lunch, is something that I do almost everyday. The trick is to create something new and fresh, so that leftovers don’t get boring and stale.

The roasted chicken, mixed greens, cucumber, toasted pecans (I substituted pecans for the walnuts in the dinner recipe because that’s what I had on hand), grated parmesan and the maple dijon dressing are all from the dinner we had the night before – Easy Roasted Chicken with Acorn Squash and Wild Rice. I just tossed it all together, along with sliced apples and some raisins, for a fresh lunch that was new and delicious.

Now…kids and salad, they don’t always mix. Some kids love them, many don’t. I’ve learned a few tricks over the years, on how to grow kids into salad lovers and these are the ones that have worked the best for me.

  1. Low key the greens. I often find it’s the greens that kids are stand-offish about, so use less greens and bump up the other ingredients, it starts to feel less like a salad and more like snack bowl. If they are really stand-offish about greens, to start leave them out completely or use them as a garnish, like an herb, chopped finely and sprinkled on top.
  2. Start with only their favourites. Essentially you want to “sell” salads and grow their trust that salads are awesome, by using only foods that they already like, even if that’s only two or three veggies (shredded, sliced or chopped) to start. Serve them “tossed” together, maybe in a bowl, and then make sure to call it a salad.
  3. Mix it up. Salads don’t have to be only vegetables, add fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, cooked meats, eggs…and again, use their favourites to start.
  4. Serve the dressing on the side. Instead of tossing the salad with the dressing, serve it on the side as a dip, in a little dip bowl. Kids love to dip, often so much so, that it makes them more willing to try something new.
  5. Celebrate even the smallest successes and build on them. Once one combination is well received, add to it, one or two new foods at a time. It really is a process, as time goes by they will learn to like more and more, so stick with it and keep on trying.

Radish & Pea Pesto Crostini. Get more ideas & inspiration for family friendly, kid approved lunches & snacks at LunchingDaily.com

Radish & Pea Pesto Crostini // Crostini with a spread and sliced vegetable is fast to make for a snack or an appetizer.

Crostini is such a versatile snack (or lunch, or appetizer), it really can be whatever you want it to be. Here I used pea pesto, leftover from a salmon dinner we had a few days earlier, and topped it with thinly sliced radishes. I love that there is veg in the pesto and layered on top. Two ways that I have had success getting kids to enjoy radishes is by shredding them and slicing them very thin. Not only does it look fancy, but the taste is much milder.

To make the pea pesto, with my food processor running, I dropped 1 peeled garlic clove through the small feed tube and processed until finely chopped. I then scrapped down the sides and added 2 cups of frozen peas (thawed), 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and processed until smooth. With the food processor running, I poured 1/3 cup of olive oil through the small feed tube, scraping down the sides when necessary, and processed until smooth.

If you have any questions or if you have any tips and tricks of your own, I would love to hear about them. Just leave a comment in the comment section.

Happy lunching (and snacking:)

Debbie.

1 Lunch + 2 Snacks is where I share the healthy, kid friendly lunch and snacks, that I serve the kids Monday to Friday, along with a few tips & tricks thrown in here and there. For more posts in this series click here. If you would like to see my lunch and snack ideas in real time, you can follow me on Instagram where I post them as they happen:)