Packed School Lunches

Here’s Friday’s packed lunch idea for the kiddos.

Packed School Lunches by Tiffani Thiessen and Laney Schwartz • Photos by Megan Welker

Kid Friendly Vegetarian Chili

Recipe courtesy of Tiffani Thiessen

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4 ounces tomato paste
  • One 15 ounce can kidney beans, drained
  • One 15 ounce can black beans, drained
  • One 15 ounce can pinto beans, drained
  • One 15 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained
  • One 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups canned (drained) or frozen corn
  • 2 lbs ground turkey meat; optional

Directions

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the onion until soft with 2 tablespoons olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, about 3 minutes. Mix in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil along with the garlic, cumin, coriander and tomato paste. Cook until the spices and tomato paste toast, 1 to 2 minutes. Then add the kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, diced tomatoes, Worcestershire, vegetable broth and corn along with a tablespoon of kosher salt. Bring to a simmer and let cook for one hour. Garnish as desired and serve.

Packed School Lunches by Tiffani Thiessen and Laney Schwartz • Photos by Megan Welker

Corn Dog Muffins

Recipe courtesy of Tiffani Thiessen

Ingredients

  • 4-5 hot dogs; beef, turkey or chicken
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place a large pan over medium heat and melt butter. Heat the butter until the foam disappears and the butter turns a light brown color. Watch carefully so it does not burn. Pour the brown butter into a large bowl. Whisk in maple syrup. Then add your milk and buttermilk. When cooled slightly whisk in the eggs. In a separate bowl mix together the cornmeal, flours, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda and then little by little add to your liquid ingredients and whisk together until combined.

Pour the cornmeal batter into a lined muffin tray. Only pour in about 3/4 the way on each muffin tin. Then cut your hot dogs into 3 pieces per dog. Place one cut piece of hot dog in the center of each muffin tin. Place muffin tray in the oven and cook for about 15-20 minutes.

Packed School Lunches by Tiffani Thiessen and Laney Schwartz • Photos by Megan Welker

Avocado Brownies

Recipe courtesy of Tiffani Thiessen

Ingredients

  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 3 eggs; beaten
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Then take an 8×8 inch pan and oil or line with parchment paper.

Melt 1/4 cup of the chocolate chips over a double broiler or microwave until fully melted. Then in a medium size bowl place your avocados, coconut oil, sugar, vanilla and blend in a food processor or with a hand mixer until completely smooth. Then add your melted chocolate and blend. You then add your beaten eggs. Now add your remaining dry ingredients; cocoa powder, almond flour, baking soda and salt. Mix with a spoon till everything is fully combined. Lastly fold in your remaining chocolate chips.

Take your batter and spread it evenly into your pan. Place in oven and bake for 30-35 mins or until brownies are set. (A great trick is using a wooden toothpick. Insert in the middle of the brownies and if it comes out clean you know it’s done) You want the brownies to have a cake like density.

Set aside and cool before cutting and serving.

THURSDAY

Homemade Roasted Tomato Soup

Recipe courtesy of Tiffani Thiessen

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds plum tomatoes, halved and seeds removed
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil; minced

Special equipment: an immersion blender

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the tomatoes cut-side up in a single layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and the sugar. Scatter the thyme sprigs over the tomatoes. Roast until the tomatoes are wrinkled and soft, about 1 hour. Let cool until cool enough to handle. Discard the thyme sprigs. Gently peel off and discard the tomato skins.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook until the onions start to lightly brown around the edges, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, vegetable stock and bay leaf and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the cream and basil and simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove the bay leaf and use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Season to taste with about 2 teaspoons salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Serve warm

Packed School Lunches by Tiffani Thiessen and Laney Schwartz • Photos by Megan Welker

Kids Grilled Cheese

Recipe courtesy of Tiffani Thiessen

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 brioche hamburger buns
  • 4 ounces cheddar, thinly sliced

Directions

Butter 1 side of each bun. Lay 3 slices butter-side down on a work surface. Top each with 4 slices of cheddar. Top with the other half of the bun, butter-side up.

Heat a cast-iron griddle over medium heat. Add the sandwiches and cook until the cheese begins to melt and the bread is golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until golden brown and the cheese is melted through, 2 to 4 minutes. Cut in half and serve.

Packed School Lunches by Tiffani Thiessen and Laney Schwartz • Photos by Megan Welker

No Bake Oatmeal Energy Bites

Recipe courtesy of Laney Schwartz
Yields About 12 balls

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 tablespoons fig jam
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 3 teaspoons hemp seeds
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 dark chocolate chips (optional)

Directions

In a large bowl, mix together the almond butter, coconut flakes, oats, and fig jam until well combined. Add in the chia seeds, hemp seeds, vanilla, and chocolate chips. You may need to use your hands to mix together. If mixture is too dry you can add a little more almond butter to help it stick together. If it’s too wet, add a little more oats.

Form mixture into 12 balls and place in an airtight container. You can store these in the fridge for up to one week, or the freezer for one month.

WEDNESDAY

Packed School Lunches by Tiffani Thiessen and Laney Schwartz • Photos by Megan Welker

Kid Friendly Turkey Meatballs

Recipe courtesy of Tiffani Thiessen

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. ground turkey
  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1 onion; finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese; grated
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley; minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Preheat oven for 350 degrees. In a pan, sauté onions with olive oil till translucent which is about 15 minutes. Let onions cool. Then in a mixing bowl add the ground turkey, oats, eggs, ketchup, parmesan cheese, parsley and tomato paste to the onions. Then gently mix all together with your hands until combined. Then start to form into small golf ball sized meatballs; about 24 meatballs. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and a wire rack sprayed with oil about 2 inches apart. Then place in oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes. Let it cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Packed School Lunches by Tiffani Thiessen and Laney Schwartz • Photos by Megan Welker

Crispy Spiced Chickpeas

Recipe courtesy of Laney Schwartz

Ingredients

  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili powder

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay garbanzo beans on a paper towel and gently blot to dry. Add them to a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and chili powder. Bake for 15-20 minutes until crispy.

Packed School Lunches by Tiffani Thiessen and Laney Schwartz • Photos by Megan Welker

Granola Bark

Recipe courtesy of Tiffani Thiessen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seeds
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Directions

In large bowl stir together oats, chocolate chips and flax seeds and set aside.

In small saucepan heat peanut butter and honey over medium heat, stirring often, until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and pour over oat mixture and stir to combine.

Transfer to a parchment lined 7×5 baking dish. Press mixture to form an even layer. Place in fridge to set for about 2 hours. Then when set break into pieces and store in air-tight container.

Packed School Lunches by Tiffani Thiessen and Laney Schwartz • Photos by Megan Welker

TUESDAY

Packed School Lunches by Tiffani Thiessen and Laney Schwartz • Photos by Megan Welker

Easy Banana Bread

Recipe courtesy of Tiffani Thiessen

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe bananas; smashed
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil; melted
  • 2 eggs; beaten
  • 2 cups almond flour (you can substitute AP or whole wheat if you want)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash ripped bananas in a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl mix together sugar, coconut oil and beaten eggs. Then add your bananas as well as your flour, baking soda and salt and mix well. Pour batter into a well greased 5×9 loaf pan and bake in oven for about 45-60 minutes. I always stick a toothpick into the loaf to see if it is done. When the toothpick comes out clean you know it’s ready.

Packed School Lunches by Tiffani Thiessen and Laney Schwartz • Photos by Megan Welker

Sandwich Skewers

Recipe courtesy of Laney Schwartz

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cubed bread (sourdough, whole grain, french)
  • 3/4 cup cubed cheese (any semi-soft cheese – cheddar, mozzarella, fontina)
  • 5 slices turkey, ham, roast beef or other deli meat
  • 5 cherry tomatoes
  • 5 cubes of cucumber
  • 5 skewers

Directions

Take one skewer and add 1 piece of bread, 1 cube of cheese, 1 slice of meat (folded over several times), 1 tomato, 1 cucumber, and 1 more piece of bread. Repeat with remaining skewers and leftover ingredients.

Packed School Lunches by Tiffani Thiessen and Laney Schwartz • Photos by Megan Welker

MONDAY

Packed School Lunches by Tiffani Thiessen and Laney Schwartz • Photos by Megan Welker

Mac n Cheese Muffins

Recipe courtesy of Tiffani Thiessen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup elbow macaroni
  • 2 eggs; beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 3 oz shredded parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 12 cup muffin pan.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil; then add macaroni and cook for about 8 minutes until pasta is cooked or as directed on box. Drain well then place in a large bowl. Add your cheeses, beaten eggs and bread crumbs and mix till fully combined.

Spoon mixture into each muffin cup. Place in oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes.

Packed School Lunches by Tiffani Thiessen and Laney Schwartz • Photos by Megan Welker

Hummus w/ Homemade Pita Chips

Recipe courtesy of Laney Schwartz

For the Hummus:

Ingredients

  • 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and peeled
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, more as needed
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
  • Water as needed

Directions

In a food processor, blend the chickpeas for about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and blend for another 30 seconds or so. Add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt and blend until smooth. With the machine running, pour in 1 tablespoon of water at a time, until you get very smooth, creamy mixture. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more lemon or salt if needed. Serve it with pita chips, and/or fresh veggies.

For the Pita Chips:

Ingredients

  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 pitas, sliced into 8 wedges each
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions

Heat the oven to 400°F. Place the pita wedges onto a baking sheet. Lightly brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Flip over and repeat on other side. Bake until the chips are crispy and lightly golden, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately transfer chips to a wire rack to cool.

Peach Strawberry Fruit Leather

Recipe courtesy of Laney Schwartz

Ingredients

  • 2 large peaches
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

Directions

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Wash fruit, remove pits from peaches, and slice off the top of the strawberries. Dice fruit into large chunks.

Place the peaches, strawberries, honey, and lemon juice into a blender and blend until very smooth.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour the fruit puree onto the sheet. Spread evenly until about ¼ inch thick.

Bake for 5-6 hours until it feels dry and not sticky. Set aside and let cool to room temperature. Fruit will soften more as it cools.

Packed School Lunches by Tiffani Thiessen and Laney Schwartz • Photos by Megan Welker

SUNDAY – INTRO

This week I am teaming up with my good friend Laney Schwartz of Life Is But A Dish for fun new ways to get creative with your kid’s lunches. Here we show you some easy recipes that won’t take a lot of time and some that you can even do the weekend before.

Stay tuned as we will update this post with new recipes each day for ideas on lunches for your kids every day of the week.

~ CREDITS ~

Lunch Sack •  Maika Canvas
Stainless Lunch Container •  New Wave Enviro
Co blogger • Laney Schwartz from Life Is But A Dish
Filmed & Edited By • Chris Sturgeon
D.P. • Ben Foster
Sound • Joshua Thomas
Photographer • Megan Welker Instagram • Facebook • Website

This post contains affiliate links.

~

shawnna griffin

hey girl such cool ideas!

MamaLiz

Genius. Love you.

pia

Very nice recipes on here. Very creative. Is there a way I can get in touch with other than email? If you goto he app store on your phone download Kik. Then put in the User name Juliet smith. We can be Kik friends.

valerie

Great ! Thank you !!

Michelle

Any idea how many eggs go into the Turkey Meatballs?

Brea

This might be a stupid question but I am totally new to baking and such. For the granola bark recipe, do you cook the pats before mixing with other ingredients or do you just use raw oats.

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