Sunday, January 03, 2016

School Lunch Box -- Week 1

So, the holidays are over and we are all back to routine tomorrow. January and February are the coldest months here and with all the glitz and the glamour of festivals that start from October being over, the start of the year looks kind of bleak. A new project, new resolutions seems to be necessary to push through these two months until Spring arrives and we can dump the resolutions and go back to having fun.

The last few weeks have particularly been a whirlwind with me. I went on my first solo trip to India for a cousin's wedding and though it was only for a week (or 9 days as Little Sis will correct me), there was a lot of guilt and emotions tied to traveling sans the kids. I thought someone would be miserable (me or them) but it turned out to be good though. The girls managed fine with their Dad and friends while I had a great time at the wedding with my parents. I was back just before Christmas to wrap gifts to put under the tree and welcome friends over for the Christmas break. Mostly the husband-man did the cooking but I did make a date-apple cake, chicken roast and butternut squash soup for the Christmas dinner. This was followed by Dilwale, night long adda and more friends.

Then there was the New Year's eve party at my friend's place with great company. New Year's Day was welcomed with Koraishutir Kochuri, Aloor Tarkari and another friend. The finale to the holidays was watching Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. Mesmerizing show and the experience will help us survive school tomorrow.

There has been a lot of binge eating the last couple of months and we are trying to get back to more simple homecooked meals. There is nothing that keeps you fit like a home made meal even if it is nothing but plain dal-rice. Dal and rice is not a favored option when packed for school lunch though so we have to get creative there.

 I will try to post the Weekly school lunch box menu here with recipes for reference. You need to know some thing about them:
  • These can double up as dinner the night before or the same day. 
  • Since I am not great at rolling parathas or rotis, you won't be seeing much of those here. 
  • The lunch that I pack are all made the night before and warmed and packed in the morning.
  • Also one day a week, the girls get to pick school lunch and that depends on the menu provided by the school.
  • Finally, take this as a base and create your own depending on what dishes are preferred at your home.

Be creative. And have a meal cooked at Home. It is not that difficult.

Homemade Marinara Sauce
 and Pasta -- Make marinara sauce according to the recipe. Then follow the pasta recipe in the same post.  To make pasta with Broccoli, boil the broccoli florets separately and add the broccoli instead of the vegetables suggested in that recipe.The marinara sauce stays and can be used for another pasta dish the same week.
Add sausage or meatballs.
Need to Buy -- Organic Canned Tomatoes(Costco has good ones). Good Quality Roma Tomatoes.Basil. Garlic. Olive Oil. Whole Wheat Pasta. Broccoli.

Quinoa Pulao -- I love Quinoa and though it is not a coveted lunch box item with my kids I do pack it once in a while. Big Sis will eat the pulao made according  to this recipe though she is not a fan. Little Sis might not eat it and she will get a regular pulao instead.
Add eggs or sausage or meatballs or paneer.
Need to Buy -- Quinoa, Vegetables like carrot/cauliflower/green beans or a pack of frozen vegetables. You can be creative with the spices but some Garam Masala or Biryani Masala is a great addition.

Pasta with Roasted peppers and Ricotta -- Don't get hung on the ricotta for this one. If you have ricotta great. Otherwise just use roasted red peppers and spinach and follow recipe for pasta with Marinara. You already have the marinara sauce so why not?
Need to Buy -- Olive Oil, Whole Wheat Pasta(Penne or Farfalle), Red and Yellow peppers, Ricotta cheese

Frittata with Vegetables -- This can be made with any vegetable on hand and is super easy to make. I will make it the night before, and then warm and pack the next morning. If you have a thermos lunch box, you can cut in squares and put it in the thermos.
Need to Buy -- Eggs

1. This is a good season to eat Clementines. I love the cute tiny clementines from Halos and two of those make a great snack.
2. Apple slices stay good with a squeeze of lime juice and will not develop brown spots. They also area a good snack with or without nutella
3. Annie's Bunny Graham crackers from Costco are for snack this month so a pack of that will be added off and on.
4. Grapes and Cheese is another favorite snack which both my girls would prefer to have after school. Pepper Jack, Gouda or Manchiago are loved at our home.

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  1. Happy new year to you and your family. Lots of great ideas here! We've been gorging on those little cutie clementines.

  2. you just wrote my mind!! I was searching for lunchbox ideas on Pinterest and rejecting them one after another since my brood is so picky! So happy to have these recipes on my list now!

  3. Such a great idea. Thanks for summarizing and solving the burning question,"aaj khane me kya banau?" :)


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