Outside the Box

    Original Ideas for Back-to-School Lunches


    1. Roll-Up Lunch: Ban bread for a week and discover zesty chicken wraps, cucumbers and smoked salmon tortilla rolls; cucumber, avocado and imitation crab meat California rolls; hummus, turkey and cheese tortilla rolls. Then toss in a fruit roll-up.

    Zesty Chicken Wraps

    Combine 4 oz softened cream cheese, 1 tbsp mayo, ½ tsp onion powder and 1 tsp fresh lemon juice and stir until smooth. Season with kosher salt. Spread on top of 4 whole wheat tortillas leaving a one inch border. Top with thinly sliced deli chicken or turkey, green leaf lettuce and thinly sliced tomato. Roll up and slice in half. Wrap and refrigerate. Makes 4 wraps.


    2. Dips & Sticks Lunch: Presentation is everything! Think homemade hummus with veggie sticks; yogurt with fruit; turkey, ham, bologna and cheese rolled up and skewered with a pretzel stick; cheese sticks, of course. Add a pirouette cookie for fun.

    Healthy Homemade Hummus

    Combine 30 oz chickpeas (rinsed and drained), ¼ cup tahini, 1/3 cup warm water, 1/3 cup olive oil, juice from one lemon, 3 garlic cloves, 1 tsp kosher salt and 1½ tsp cumin. Process until smooth and creamy. Add more lemon juice and pepper to taste. Chill. Serve with fresh veggies or crispy pita wedges. Makes about 3 cups.


    3. Ooh la la Lunch: A worldly approach for students might start with tarragon chicken or tuna salad; French baguette; hunk of cheese; strawberries; Nutella crepe.

    Tarragon Chicken Salad

    Combine 3 cups cooked and chopped chicken, ½ cup mayo, ½ cup halved red grapes, 2 sticks chopped celery, ½ cup halved walnuts, and 3 tbsp fresh tarragon (chopped). Chill. Serves 4.


    4. Homemade Hot Lunch-in-the-Box: It’s the leftover they’ll fight over – mac & cheese, chicken noodle soup, or pasta; simple side salad. Don’t forget the homemade cookie.

    Creamy Dreamy Mac & Cheese

    Cook ½ lb macaroni noodles according to package and reserve a cup of pasta water. Meanwhile, melt ½ stick of unsalted butter and add 1 sleeve of crushed saltines. Cook for 5 minutes and set aside. Melt 2 tbsp of unsalted butter in a small sauce pan and whisk in 2 tbsp flour. Cook for 1 minute and whisk in ¾ cup milk, ¾ cup heavy whipping cream, and ¼ tsp nutmeg.Bring to a boil. Add 2 cups aged-white cheddar cheese and 4 oz cream cheese.Stir until melted. Add reserved pasta water if needed. Add macaroni. Place in greased casserole dish. Add cracker topping and bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Serves 6.